We woke up early to giggles and whispers and the sound of nearby gibbons whooping in the jungle. The sun was barely waking up but I could clearly see the boys had no desire to go back to sleep. We weren’t exactly roughing it. The day before we had arrived at Elephant Hills, a luxury tent camp in the Khao Sok National Park. I was in heaven in our king sized bed with on-suite bathroom.
When we first thought of venturing to Thailand I immediately thought to give the boys an elephant experience. But I was also cautious, knowing the cost and ethics involved in most elephant operations. We wanted to get close enough to learn about them but we knew the boys would probably be guarded with their interactions. That morning the boys were still talking about feeding the elephants the day before and laughing at how muddy the elephants got rolling around in the pond. Despite the 30 minutes or so we spent washing our elephant, her mahout had to laugh at how dirty she still was. Apparently we weren’t very good elephant washers. B was brave enough to hold the hose for about 10 seconds and then he decided he just wanted to watch brother wash the elephant with the coconut husk. We were recently on a bus and I had to chuckle listening to Logan argue with a stranger on what elephants ate. “But we fed them…They liked to eat pineapple and bananas and sugar cane. Most of the elephants saved the grass for last. They wanted the yummier food first.”
After spending a few hours with the elephants, we moved on to canoeing down the Sok river and through some of the most beautiful Thailand jungle where our paddler pointed out snakes curled up in the branches high above us and the monkey’s jumping from tree to tree.
After such a fun day, it was no surprise the boys were up early, eager to find out what was in store for us that day. We had a trek through the jungle planned before catching a ride back into Krabi for our flight out. The boys were pretty excited to see how the hike would begin…Tom Sawyer style on a raft that would bring us to the other side of the river. Our hike weaved in and out as our guide pointed out things like the Tarzan vines that grew from the tops of the trees. Logan had the most fun swinging on them. She brought us through a rubber tree plantation and explained how the trees are tapped and how they are threatening the jungles and elephants in Thailand. With noon approaching we hiked into the outdoor kitchen area where our chef had already started a pit fire and was busy preparing chicken satay for us. We learned how to husk and open a coconut and the boys had their first taste of coconut water. They were eager to learn how to grate the coconut and make the milk for our Thai soup. With a little bit of a wait for lunch, we entertained the boys with games of walking stick limbo and dirt tic-tac-toe.
We were so sad to say goodbye to Elephant Hills. Their floating tent camp looked amazing too…another time.