Walking with Elephants - FAQs

FAQ’s

Questions about transport

1. Do I need to book your transport?

Yes, the location of our project is a 4 hour drive from Chiang Mai, through mountainous terrain on rural roads. We are particular with the drivers that we choose, ensuring that we are hiring people who are familiar and confident on the mountain roads, the village location is very rural and can be difficult to find. We provide an English-speaking guide for both journeys. It is also good to note that to legally drive in Thailand you are expected to have an international driving license.

2. Do I have to carry my own kit?

No, if you would rather carry a small day pack with your camera, water and snacks – there is the option to hire a porter for the trip. This not only takes a load off you, but also provides an opportunity for other strong men from the village to make a small income. Please be sure to inform us if you wish to hire a porter prior to your trip.

3. What do I need to bring?

Please refer to the detailed gear list provided.

4. Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?

No, we do have sleeping bags available for all guests to use. However if you wish to bring your own sleeping bag we encourage this, as you will be familiar with the temperature rating and comfort of your own gear.

5. What is not included in my trip?

Not Included; - Flights - Visa - Travel insurance - Accommodation in Chiang Mai - Breakfast on first day / Lunch and Dinner on last day

6. Will I get to see the elephants?

Yes you most certainly will. While our elephants are kept in the forest, their wonderful mahouts are always aware of their whereabouts at all times. Walking distances to see the elephants does vary throughout the year as stated in the trip information booklet.

7. Can I feed the elephants?

We encourage sitting back and just watching them simply being elephants in THEIR natural habitat. We DO NOT routinely bring food for them into the forest, as their diet should be the foliage around them, if the mahouts are giving them a treat then this is fine and they may offer you bananas to give to them. The elephants are all very gentle in nature and it will be possible for you to have some interaction if the elephant chooses this and the mahout says it is safe and appropriate.

8. What will I do when I am not with the elephants?

It is completely up to you what you want to do when you are not with the elephants. We do encourage village immersion and getting involved in village run activities; such as fabric weaving and bamboo basket weaving. These activities allow you to learn more about traditional Karen culture and meet some of the very skilled elders, who usually have a story or two to share with you. However if you wish to simply have quiet relaxation time this is more than okay too.

9. How far will I have to walk?

Please refer to Trip Information booklet as distances vary throughout the year depending on the seasons and the location of the elephants.  

10. Will I be safe?

Yes. The village is one of the safest places on earth, it is a wonderful tight knit community where everyone looks out for and helps one another. Your accommodation is fitted with padlocks, not because it is unsafe but because host families wish to make you feel as comfortable and secure as possible. When watching the elephants there will always be mahouts with you, keeping you and the elephants at a safe and respectful distance. And lastly you will have an English-speaking guide with you throughout the trip, so if you ever do have any concerns they can assist you.

11. Do I need extra money?

There are shops scattered throughout the village, you may want to purchase some snacks or cold drinks throughout your stay. Please note that all of your meals once you reach the village are provided. There is also the opportunity to purchase some traditional hand woven fabric to take home as a lasting memory, to show friends and family. This is a wonderful chance to assist other families within the village to make an additional income. The only currency accepted in the village is Thai Baht, there are no ATMs in the village and try to bring smaller notes as sometimes shops do not have large amounts of change.

12. What will the temperature be when I visit?

Please refer to the Trip Information booklet as temperatures and weather conditions vary season to season.

13. Is there drinking water available in the village?

Yes, filtered and bottled water is available throughout the village.

14. Can I leave bags in my room at the village?

Yes, all accommodation in the village provides you with a private room and a place for you to safely store your bags and other belongings. 15. Can I charge my devices? Yes, whilst in the village you will have access to electricity. Please ensure that you bring adaptors for your devices

16. Should I bring gifts?

This is entirely up to you. If you feel that you would like to give gifts we encourage bringing gifts from your home town or things that are special to the country/region you come from. Many villagers enjoy learning about the different cultures and countries that guests visit from. We do not encourage giving money to individual families without discussion with us first, as this can create tension in the community.

17. Are there showers and do I need a towel?

The amenities available to you will be dependent on the trip that you book onto; Wild camping – Traditional cold water bucket showers are provided. Glamping- Hot gas fueled shower is provided at our guesthouse. Volunteering- Traditional cold water bucket showers are provided. For all trips the only showering options in the forest is the river or facial wipes. We encourage guests to bring their own towel or light weight chamois – but if this is not possible we can provide you with a towel during your stay.

18. Do I need Travel Insurance?

We recommend that all guests purchase travel insurance before traveling. It will provide you with peace of mind before, during and after your trip with us. Your safety is something that we take very seriously.

19. Is there malaria and what vaccinations do I need?

We are not based in a malaria zone. We highly advise all guests to seek professional medical advice on vaccinations and travel medications prior to traveling. UK health professionals use the following site as a guide;

http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx