From the moment you set foot in Thailand, you will notice how entwined elephants are in Thai Culture – their images are everywhere, featuring on everything from flags and signs to bottles and t-shirts. Revered for centuries in Thailand, elephants are a symbol of strength and honour and were even ridden by King’s when they went into battle. They are known for their intelligence, compassion and memory and develop lifelong attachments to their mahouts (trainers) and other members of their elephant family. With this in mind, no visit to Thailand would be complete without meeting at least one elephant, and the Elephant Jungle Trip in Koh Samui gives you the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Treks are timed to give you a great experience whilst not taking up your whole day and range from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on your preference. Upon arrival at the park, you will be greeted by cheeky Crab-Eating Macaques (local to the island) who have an extraordinary talent for getting into the seemingly impossibly tough exterior of coconuts, and, a little further away, the elephants themselves. As is polite with any new interaction, you will first meet your elephant to make sure that you and he (or she) likes each other, and provided that everyone gets along, you will be taught how to climb up onto the back of this majestic animal to begin your trek.
This trek will take you through lush Thai jungle and over cool river streams, on your way up to one of Koh Samui’s most picturesque waterfalls Namuang 1. With an 18 foot drop into an inviting swimming hole, Namuang 1 is especially beautiful during the wetter months of December and January, but can be enjoyed at any time of year. Whilst your elephant cools off in the refreshing falls, you will have the opportunity to swim, take pictures or just sit and soak up the spectacular scenery around you. My choice would be to watch the elephants as they play and swim in the water!
After your time at the waterfall, it’s time to climb back up onto your new friend and enjoy the leisurely amble back down the hill to the elephant camp. On your return journey you will have a little more time to catch the sweeping views across Koh Samui and marvel at how light-of-foot such an enormous creature as the elephant can be.