Friday, March 4, 2011

Thailand part two

Dinner at Cinnamon Restaurant at our resort. We noticed a fresh seafood buffet and a large grill and were delighted to find we could select our fresh catch of the day and have it grilled to order with garlic and herb butter along with a grilled potato with all the trimmings and grilled corn. It was the best! Above is my dinner grilled scallops and prawn.

Above Ben had THE most fabulous piece of fish we've EVER tasted. 

While we awaited our taxi ride to head off to our elephant trekking adventure I got some shots of the front of the resort. My mouth dropped open when we arrived because it looked just as advertised and even better.

Ever good business in Thailand has these alters if you will where they put fresh fruit and other food offerings out for Buddha. It is sign of respect and honor and than their business will flourish because they have honored Buddha. They were different everywhere we went and I was always curious to see what was being offered.

Reception hut - the service was impeccable, they take your bags than seat you and serve you cool thai tea while they check you in which takes all of 30 seconds, no waiting to start enjoying paradise here!

Than we were off to meet the elephants! This was my first glimpse of an elephant so close! It was absolutely incredible. They were just everywhere. There was a rather cold Swedish family who came with us in our taxi. The taxi took us out into the jungle and than we turned onto a dirt road and before we knew it we were surrounded by elephants! At first I was a bit frightened being around such a monstrous creature but when you see how gentle and sweet spirited they are its impossible to not want to hug them!

I love that this place was rustic and so natural. The people than run this elephant sanctuary live on the premises in a homemade building. They use the elephants to help them clear the land for farming and they use the money they make from elephant trekking and selling a few trinkets to live off of as well as care for the elephants. We chose this camp because they don't force the elephants to put on a show or nor are they treated inhumanly. That was very important to us to support a wonderful place like this if we were going to experience elephants. Here is the website and more info about the place.

I highly recommend doing the 1/2 day trek as opposed to the 35minute one. The 1/2 day includes this amazing time of swimming/bathing the elephants. That was the first thing we participated in. It was just incredible to see these sweet gentle beasts move through the water which they loved.

So they tell us ok get in the water and I was like really!?! now!?!?! here!?! so being the brave out going little soul I am I was the first one on the elephant! It was a bit scary I wasn't sure if he would jump or flinch. He knelt down in the water left the tip of his trunk up for air and let me climb right on with out a second thought. It was so weird to feel elephant skin, it looks so soft and wrinkly but in reality its VERY tough with short course hair.

What it looks like to sit on an elephants head in a river! Check out his course hair!

Next it was Ben's turn. We were on the elephant and enjoying ourselves before the other family even got in the water. They were quite strange and not very friendly but nothing could in the way of us enjoying some one on one elephant time.

The mahout (elephant trainer) would tell the elephant to bend lower into the water and try and knock us off but we managed to stay on. The was another assistant mahout who was happy to take pictures galore for us so we could just enjoy our time. Thanks to our waterproof camera case it was a breeze taking pics with water splashing about.

Next it was off for an hour and a half trek through the jungle. Since we were easily able to get on the elephant the mahout told us to just stay there and we could ride the elephant back to camp where they would put the seat on for the trek. The other family had to walk : ) we felt special. Actually we felt like Tarzan and Jungle Jane riding an elephant bare back in our swimsuits through the woods.

It was quite the experience to say the least. Me sitting on his head practically and my legs tucked behind his ears just like the mahouts do. He walked so carefully and swayed and flapped his ears it was an incredible short ride that the others didn't get to experience so we were rather giddy about that.

Our photographer enjoyed taking massive amounts of pictures for us almost all being great so it was hard to choose which to share. I also think they liked seeing me in my swim suit : / hmmm awkward! hahaha!

follow the leader 

There is nothing quite like elephant trekking through the jungle in Thailand!

river crossing = drink break time


this is the tower where you load into the eat for the trek

have you hugged an elephant today? I have!

we got to feed them bananas after the trek they were quite eager to gently snatch them right out of your hands 

Our very entertaining and wonderful mahout and the elephant we rode, I can't remember her name sadly because it was quite difficult to pronounce. All the elephants were females, the males are too aggressive and tusks make it a little bit to dangerous. 

Over all it was one of the most amazing things I've ever done in my life. Definitely a once in a life time experience that you never forget. To experience these creatures in the wild like we did was just utterly amazing. I was awe struck and so thankful I was able to have this experience. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND BAN KWAN CHANG ELEPHANT CAMP!

After a morning of elephant trekking it was time to head back from lunch at Cinnamon. I loved how the used old coconut shells as planters for orchids everywhere, so natural so pretty!

and than off to an afternoon at he beach.... does it get any better!??!

hammock on the beach for naps

This was the first night we decided to change it up and try a new place. We had read outstanding reviews of this little Italian place just down the road so we had to try it. Sounds odd, an Italian restaurant on a little island in Thailand. What can we say we can't get good stuff like this in Korea so we had to take advantage of it.

We sat outdoors under the stars and at a candle lite table and drooled over the menu as one of the Italian owners/chefs Marco brought out our drinks and some home made Italian bread! These guys do it all. Just the two of them and they make the bread from scratch (which was out of this world amazing) they make the pasta, the sauces the pizzas. It was a some of THE best Italian food I've ever had. 

Ben of course couldn't resist a pizza and I had spaghetti al tonno (with capers, tuna, and tomatoes).

If you ever visit Koh Chang you MUST check them out! They are so nice and make incredible food! We also HAD to have their homemade vanilla gelato (sinfully delicious!).

Another wonderful day on Koh Chang!

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