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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Unforgettable Elephant Experience


 Elephant excitement is sky high at The Sarojin resort in Thailand, where guests can enjoy a mammoth new adventure through the dense jungles on the edges of Khao Sok National Park. As part of the five-star hotel’s recently-launched ‘Elephant Owner For A Day’ package, guests will enjoy a truly personal and hands-on experience as they engage with local mahout life and learn the key responsibilities in caring for healthy and happy elephants in a highly meaningful and responsible way.

The new package is designed to offer a glimpse of local elephant camp life while teaching guests how to clean, feed and look after Thailand’s sacred animals. Over the course of a full-day or half-day, guests will be assigned their own elephant for a real one-on-one learning activity. But the element of exclusivity does not end there as the whole experience is designed just for two people or for a single family with children above the age of 10. This private approach ensures a genuinely personal encounter with no other guests in sight. 

Accompanied by The Sarojin’s highly-knowledgeable team of guides, guests will shadow local mahouts from the Sairung camp and learn daily healthcare for the elephants. The teaching will focus on the correct ways to interact with free-roaming elephants; how to approach them using Thai greetings; general skin care and how to bathe them in the river; their overall digestion and how to feed them; basic mahout-style riding skills; and the five key signs to identify a healthy elephant – flapping tail and ears; moisture between their toes; markings on their body to indicate a good sleep pattern; volume of elephant waste; and moisture in their manure.

For those that really wish to get up close and personal, guests can take a dip in a jungle lake and swim around their elephant offering it friendly scrubs. The trunk becomes a virtual snorkel as the elephant submerges its body underwater and enjoys its leathery hide being scrubbed. Once land bound again guests will learn how to ride elephants bareback just as a mahout would do to keep them healthy. Perched on the necks of these gentle giants, guests will trek deep into the jungle to view the spectacular scenery located within this area of outstanding natural beauty.

The bareback adventure culminates at the Sairung elephant camp to further interact with the local mahouts and their families. There is plenty of time to bid farewell to the elephants before a luxury car returns guests to The Sarojin, where they can make the most of the boutique hotel’s extensive facilities including a multi-award winning spa, deluxe swimming pool with shaded pavilions, fitness centre, fabulous fine dining and its glorious setting on an 11km stretch of secluded white sand beach.

The Sarojin’s ‘Elephant Owner For A Day’ experience offers a great day out for visitors who want to scratch beneath the surface of rural Thailand. It is ideally suited for those with an interest in learning a new skill, caring for elephants and discovering their important position in Thai culture. A full-day activity costs from THB 2,500 (approximately GBP 110) per person. Rooms at The Sarojin start from THB 6,100 (approximately GBP 135), inclusive of accommodation in a luxury Garden Residence, plus all-day à la carte breakfast with sparkling wine for two people.