Meet Baby Elephant Suki!

We are overjoyed to announce the newest member of the Chai Lai Family!

Celebrate Suki

 

Wooohoo!!! After almost 2 years of waiting, Mae Noi and Som Chai’s adorable daughter arrived last night. She was born just after midnight on Thursday so we nicknamed her Wan Suk. Mae Noi’s labor was much shorter than her first labor and luckily both the calf and the mother are happy and healthy! Mae Noi is an attentive and calm mother and little Suki is friendly and curious.. and as clumsy as to be expected.

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She is getting to know her older sister Chai Lai and her proud mahout Ling Ling... who has also not slept for days giving the mother and baby round-the-clock care! (If you're visiting Chai Lai, he is currently accepting caffeinated donations, should anyone care to bring him a venti half soy, half almond milk caramel latte macchiato)

Did I mention she’s the cutest little creature in the world?

baby and mother elephant

Lenas's Stay at Chai Lai Chiang Mai

elephant kiss

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/QJ74akk06peVLc_OSAA9Jg

泼水节期间,我去了清迈。

为了避开古城里拥挤的人潮,我订了一家老城外,有大象叫早服务的Airbnb爱彼迎民宿 Chai Lai Orchid。

从老城内打了车前往,路程大概是30–40min。(打的是GRAB,价格是600-800泰铢)

车子慢慢开离古城区,周边的一切也随之变的更加的泰式淳朴。泼水节不是满大街的五彩水枪大战,而更多的是当地人在自家门口听着音乐,跳着舞,一边用水管儿向过往的车辆喷水。

到达民宿,迎接我们的是民宿的房东Alexa, 一位来自纽约的女人。

她和她的泰国丈夫,在这儿养了十一只大象,建起了这个民宿。房东有十几个房源,全是可以和大象零距离接触的房子~

Elephant Sanctuary

- 营救大象 -

其实,很早就看过一部关于虐待大象的纪录片,也听说在泰国有很多大象因为受旅游业的影响而遭受折磨。

第一次来泰国时,不知情的我也参加过类似的骑大象活动,看到大象满头的青紫伤痕,也看过象夫拿铁钩子敲打大象的头部,极其残忍。所以从那之后,我拒绝参加任何与骑大象,大象表演相关的活动。

这家 Chai Lai Orchid 不同,这儿的大象都是从无良商家那儿营救过来的。

Alexa和我聊了很多关于大象们的故事~ 其中一头大象在超时工作期间,怀孕直至生出象Baby都不曾被人们发觉,只因为超额工作的它太过虚弱,连怀孕也不曾有任何体重增加的迹象。

还有一头大象,因为高强度工作而身体虚弱,甚至直接昏倒,摔下山去。在旅游业的很多大象都被迫每天背负超重的铁椅子和游客,工作超过14个小时。

而房东夫妇则献身于营救大象的事业,给大象们创造最美好的环境,也训练它们和人们友好相处。

房东的丈夫婚前是位 象夫,也会象语。他说大象们其实是很聪明的生物,20分钟就能学会一种全新的技能或动作,只要你有足够的香蕉,只要你学会和它们交流,它们还是很聪明很好沟通的!

- 大象们的故事 -

房东有自己大象园的官方网站,网站上有 每只大象的故事,性格,爱好,包括最爱的人和食物,最害怕的东西,还有它们最好的大象朋友~ 

里面也说了每只大象的来历,经历过什么样的遭遇,以及它们是如何被营救来这儿的。

-  滑动认识它们  -

房东还悄悄告诉我,很快大象园里就会迎来新的一波(好像是三只)象baby的出生哦~大家接下来就可以和象宝宝们一起玩儿了!!!

- 大象叫早服务 -

睡前和房东要求了第二天的大象叫早服务

太阳刚升起,房东的老公就带着一车的香蕉来了~当然还有他的象。

其实大象的棚就在园子里,住客们每天都能见到,想和它玩儿就去找房东要香蕉饲料,晚餐时间也可以随时过去帮忙喂饭哈哈哈~

前一天晚上我已经喂过饭了,但是早起见到它还是满心的欢喜啊啊啊 太萌了!

房东把香蕉递给我,并把大象带到窗口~ 

大象也是老司机了,把鼻子伸进屋子里等待喂食~ 有的时候香蕉给的慢了,它还会往我脸上呼热气,类似于“速度点给老子香蕉”的那种感觉~

喂完早餐,你还可以和大象去林子里走一圈~ 和它搂在一起拍拍照~

刚开始看到这样一只庞然大物站在我面前,我还是有点害怕的!一直在用眼神示意象夫小哥“我能不能抱”,小哥一脸随意“你抱啊,它脾气很好的,从小就和人混一起长大的,无所谓的!”

象夫对它的口令也全都是靠象语的,唯一几次拍照的时候,需要它换个角度,象夫小哥只好上手推着它 让它换位子 推完了还得给吃的哈哈哈 跟供着个小祖宗似的~萌翻了!

- 洗澡时间 -

吃过早餐,我订了一个给小象洗澡的活动(另付费,但住客有优惠)。

在大象园外的一条小河边~ 河水很浅,刚好站得住脚。

下河前,象夫会给我们递来一个小桶和一把刷子~ 接下来你就负责给它们刷背了!

时不时给它们哄开心了,它们还会往你身上喷水,或者听象夫的口令往你脸上亲一口… 

第一次被大象亲啊啊啊,萌的我心都要化了!

这样的景象还是第一次见,一群游客围着几只小象,就为了给它们洗澡哈哈哈哈 它们也喜闻乐见,洗开心了还会躺下,给你们洗肚子…

白天经常能看到泰国本地的新婚夫妇来这儿度蜜月+拍婚纱照~ 和Alexa聊起,她说还经常有本地人来这儿办婚礼呢!

她说泼水节前几天,游客和大象都会加入泼水节战队,全部下河去互喷!并且大象们非常乐钟于喷别人一脸水这件事,尤其是小象最调皮,大家都玩儿得很嗨!

这里原生态的一切与世隔绝,Alexa说 这里的生活,教会了她什么才是生命中最重要的事。也推荐来这儿的旅客,不要只是跟团来看一下,而是真正的住下来两三天,感受一下这丛林中与世隔绝的小生活。

除了大象外,这儿还有很多其他活动。

比如竹筏漂流,徒步看瀑布,还有参观附近克伦族的村落,甚至可以直接住进她们的村子里和她们一起生活。

除了营救大象外,Alexa也一直致力于帮助泰国/缅甸边境,少数民族的女人和小孩们获得她们的人权。

用Alexa的话说就是“大象和这儿的一切给了我很多,也教会了我很多,所以我想要尽我所能回馈他们,给他们更好的生活!

专门给你们带的小福利    

房东Alexa说她太想念纽约唐人街的中餐和饺子了... 所以托我帮她招一个会包中国饺子的志愿者~ #包食宿

除此之外,房东也常常会需要各种各样的,可以帮忙照顾大象的志愿者,再加上马上就要有好几只象宝宝了…

所以,感兴趣的宝宝们,可以直接发简历到 Explore@chailaiorchid.com 和她联系~看看有木有机会也能献上自己的一份力!

 

 

Chiang Mai Ethical Elephant Experience- Together we travel

elephant bath

 

Reposted from  Together We TravelChiang Mai ethical elephant experience

A 'must do' whilst in Northern Thailand and in particular Chiang Mai is to experience the native Asian elephants.  

This was high on our bucket list whilst planning to travel as neither of us have ever come face to face with these incredible animals! We knew we wanted to experience this in Asia as we loved the look of the Asian elephant, with their light pink speckled faces and vast trunks. We also knew that elephants often get mistreated at these 'camps' and so called 'sanctuary's' so we knew that we had to do our research and pick the right place. Metal chair rides, not enough space, abuse, overworked, mistreatment were all things we wanted to make sure we were not funding. It is hard to believe that in this day and age things such as this continue to happen to animals but sadly they do and all so often. Only we as customers and tourists have the power to change this, so lets make sure we do all we can. 

We came across Chai Lai Orchid while doing our research and it stood out to us due to their 'sustainable ethical eco trekking packages'. What they offer is humane elephant experiences that provide intimate and natural interactions in their habitat of the jungle. Alongside interacting with the elephants you can hike through lush rice terraces and leafy trails to secluded waterfalls in the mountains. This sustainable jungle trek is led by knowledgeable Karen Hill local tribe guides which helps create jobs in the community. The treks reflect their core values of respecting nature and indigenous culture.  After generations of their families living in the Northern Thai mountains they can share their knowledge about the many uses of jungle plants for food and medicine. This was one of our favourite aspects of the trip. 

Chiang Mai Waterfalls

 

Our itinerary 

Alongside the tour packages listed on the website you can also contact the team to create custom experiences to suit you. That is exactly what we did... 

Day 1

  • 8am hotel pick up from Chiang Mai town - 1hr drive up the mountains to the jungle 

  • Welcomed with a fresh coconut to drink which the elephants will finish for you as you meet them for the first time roaming around the camp 

  • 10am drive to the start of the trek (2hr trek). You will encounter jungle, waterfalls, elephants, rice fields

  • Lunch stop halfway through with the local Karen tribe that they have freshly prepared

  • Time to interact with the tribe and see where they live

 

  • Hop on a traditional bamboo raft and relax down the lazy river until you arrive back at the camp

  • ELEPHANT TIME!

  • Grab a bag of bananas and head up into the jungle to feed the elephants 

This is a little overwhelming to begin with. You cannot gage the true size of an elephant until you stand face to face with one. The two of us were greeted by a family of 4 hungry elephants; grandma, mum, sister and baby.

 

These giants eat 250kg of fruit and vegetables a day! Once we ran out of fruit and they spread out to eat the surrounding vegetation we relaxed a little as we made our way down to the jungle with them, our guide and their 2 trainers. 

  • Walk down to the river with the elephants... its BATH TIME!

  • Spend time watching them play fight in the river, wash and swim with them

 

Watch out they are rather cheeky!

ethical elephant experience

 

After all of this we were pretty tired, it was time to relax and have dinner. The food was great, we opted for a delicious traditional Pad Thai as we sat and looked over the bridge at the sun setting over the elephants who were also resting. It was so beautiful it felt as though we could be in a film scene!

 

We then crossed the bridge back into camp and had a couple of beers under the stars and fairy lights before heading to bed with big smiles on our faces. The accommodation is perfect; a simple little bungalow with en suite bathroom which was lovely and clean.

 

Day 2

Living a life where you wake up before your alarm as you can't wait to start the day is one that we try to lead. This is exactly what happened here! It was breakfast time and we were surrounded by elephants eating their breakfast roaming free  in the jungle. It was magical.

 

  • 8:30am breakfast time 

  • 9am we were picked up for the 1hr drive up into the mountains 

  • Completed a 4hr jungle trek which was beautiful! Saw one of the best waterfalls we have ever seen and learnt lots from our local guide who explained all the herbal medicines in the jungle that we even sampled there and then. A long hike but not an intense one 

 

  • Lunch stop today was halfway through and again delicious 

  • The hike finished with picking fresh passion fruit and strawberries

A sleepy drive back to camp left us saying goodbye to the elephants and hopping back on the truck to our hotel in Chiang Mai, arriving around 6pm... It was time to rest.

 

Packing list

(2 days 1 night)

Leave luggage in Chiang Mai hotel if possible, it makes life easier with less luggage to carry around. 

  • Water is provided 24/7

  • Some snacks. Sugary things for the trekking 

  • Comfy trainers

  • Athletic cool clothing x2

  • Swimwear x1

  • Swimming towel (bath towel provided)

  • Pajamas 

  • Change of clothes for evening 

  • Something warm

  • Underwear and socks

  • Sunglasses 

  • Hat

  • Toiletries incl suncream and insect repellent (shampoo and bodywash provided)

  • Plasters and small basic medical kit

  • Camera

  • Travel journal and/ or laptop - great place to write 

The main reason we chose Chai Lai Orchid is because all proceeds help provide rescued elephants with a happier, healthier environment to live in. But what makes it so special is that this organisation is so much more than just an elephant sanctuary. Chai Lai Orchid was created to stop the exploitation and sex trafficking of the young girls from the surrounding tribes by empowering those at risk. 

 

The mission of their charity; Daughters Rising is this - 'each year, young mothers and at-risk girls participate in our program attending English, Thai and computer classes and seminars on women’s health, trafficking and their rights. Because the trainee women are living below the poverty line, they cannot spend their days attending classes when there are mouths to feed, so we pay each one a fair wage in addition to education expenses, medical supplies and providing food and housing. 100% of our proceeds fund Daughters Rising Programs.' You can find out more about this incredible mission here.

 

From the minute we crossed the swing bridge into the Chai Lai Orchid camp we knew we made the right choice.