Every tourist in Pattaya has a chance to meet these interesting animals of enormous size - they are elephants, of course! Every tourist can go on elephant trekking, feed those giants and watch impressive shows with elephants. The bravest ones can also have an exotic massage with an elephant in the role of a masseur.
Elephants are well-studied animals, however, they have a lot of secrets and peculiarities.
Did you know?
There are two genera of elephants - African and Indian. African elephants are truly large - dark grey giants. They are more aggressive and difficult to train in comparison with Indian elephants. Indian elephants are almost twice smaller than African. They have kinder and easier character, that is why they are chosen for taming and training.
In Thailand Indian elephants live. A big number of them lives in the jungles. A smaller part is domesticated, that is tamed.
An elephant is an inseperable part of Thai history. This animal has been honoured and respected since ancient times. Before they were used for transporting people and weights in farming, Since recently most tamed elephants are used in tourism. Elephant trekking and elephant shows are among favourite tourist entertainments in Thailand.
March 13th is National Elephant Day which also emphasizes the importance of elephants in the life of Thai people.
For a long time an image of an elephant was depicted on the Thai flag. The royal family owns 10 white elephants which are rarely shown to the public - only on festive occasions. The elephants are of light grey color, but are called white to show and emphasize their nobility and dignity.
An elephant is the holly animal of Thailand. It is believed that one of Buddha’s reincarnations was an elephant, that is his soul turned into an elephant after death. It explains why elephants are used in many Buddhist rituals.
Elephant's rights are regulated by Thai Elephant Conservation Center and the constitution at the government level. Elephants can be involved in labour activities from the age of 14 to 60. They must have a medical insurance (there are special hospitals for elephants). After the age of 60 they retire and get payments from the government. Unfortunately, many elephants do not live up to this age.
Keeping elephants is very expensive. Many farms are private property which exist on the money earned from tourism. For example, Elephant Village in Pattaya (12 km away from Pattaya) meets hundreds of tourists every day which allows to cover all the expenses on elephant’s food, care and medical treatment. Most elephants ended up there because they can not be used for working anymore - due to their age or health conditions. However, they are happy and strong enough to entertain and surprise tourists and give unforgettable emotions!
It is possible to try elephant riding or elephant trekking:
Feeding elephants is as interesting and exciting as riding them.
Many tours include elephant trekking as this is one of the most popular tourist activity: for example, trip to the Kwai river, tour of Wat Yan and Karen Village, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden. In Khao Kheo Open Zoo and Tiger Zoo you can take nice and funny pictures of elephants, see the show and of course feed them.