The second weekend in Luang Prabang was filled with adventure. A couple of volunteers and I signed up for an elephant walk. We spent our second Saturday in Luang Prabang with elephants – feeding, bathing, and walking along side of them. We were not interested in a facility that offered elephant riding or mahout training. After doing some research we selected Mandalao. They are a more recent elephant program in Luang Prabang and it was interesting to learn about their different projects and goals when it comes to elephants. They do not offer riding tours or mahout trainings and their mahouts on staff do not use any physical commends with the elephants. Some of their projects include reducing the number of elephant camps that offer riding and mahout training tours, finding ways to reduce poaching, along with developing a DNA database of elephants that would prohibit poachers from being able to move elephants to other countries. They were very passionate about providing a happy, healthy environment for their elephants especially since the elephants led a hard life prior to coming to Mandalao.
It was a truly magical day hanging out with these massive and majestic animals. In addition to spending time with the elephants it was nice spending time in the country side. Not only does Mandalao provide opportunities for the elephants, they also incorporate the local village into their project. What follows are pictures of the day. Enjoy!
After two hours of trekking with these beautiful creatures it was time to say goodbye. It was really nice spending some time outdoors. In addition to the elephants we saw some amazing and beautiful wildlife.
When we got back to our starting point we had a lovely lunch that included traditional Lao food. The trek with the elephants will definitely be a highlight for me.