Snapshots: Chiang Dao Elephant Training Center

Our friend’s wife has a grandfather who lives in Chiang Dao district, several hours from home base in Chiang Mai.  She took us to visit him one morning.  I think she must have shouted at us for 30 minutes outside our window, trying to wake us up.  I can’t remember what we did the night before, but it might have involved alcohol consumption way past my bedtime.

On the way to Grandfather’s house, we stopped by an elephant camp.  Proceeds from tourism and elephant paintings went back into rehabilitating the elephants and upkeep of the facility.

DP fearlessly crossing a scary bridge…

We arrived in time to watch the trainers take the elephants for a bath…

…and fed them a few bananas.

Found some lovebirds.

I originally had one last photo here of me, feeling awkwardly Western and gigantic, standing next to a group of women and children of the Lisu hill tribe.  They were just closing up the fresh market for the day. I asked them for permission to take their photo and paid them for the trouble.  The little one strapped to his mother’s back was happy to grab the cash. They seemed very comfortable being a tourist attraction, which made me very uncomfortable.  So after some consideration, I decided not to post the photo.  It seems exploitative, even with their permission.

Instead, I will describe the scene for you.  They are smiling (except for one grumpy older woman and a surly child) and dressed in brightly colored, handwoven clothing that is typical of the Lisu.  Something like this:

I can’t emphasize enough how slight of frame they are.  One of the men photobombed me in the background, and compared to him I am a linebacker.  They would fit in very well at the Shire.

I had the opportunity to work with the Lisu and other ethnic groups in northern Thailand during my stay.  More on that later…


2 thoughts on “Snapshots: Chiang Dao Elephant Training Center”

  1. Interesting post. Sounds like you are having a very rich experience there.

    I love Thailand and have visited many times. I sometimes blog about Thailand too, and I’m always looking to connect with other bloggers who share similar interests. Please drop by Sweet Pickles and Corn if you have a minute. My most recent post is a tongue-in-cheek look at the things that I don’t like about Thailand (because I wasn’t able to be there this winter and am stuck at home reading about my friends’ trips on facebook). Cheers!

    1. Hi there, thanks for visiting.

      I’m actually not currently in Thailand. I only started blogging after I did all this amazing traveling. Didn’t really have time to log the stuff then, and now I’ve got a case of nostalgia. All my travel posts are in the categories “Here and There” and “Under the Champa Trees.” Your site looks interesting – I will be checking it out soon.

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