28 June – 2 July, 2016
In what was a short but entertaining trip, VSP hosted Travel for Teens from the USA, spending several days learning about the Asian elephants of Thailand. Small as the group was, the energy level of the all-female student crew was phenomenal. Constant positivity coupled with a keen interest for the trip’s topic made it all the more memorable. Only three full days were spent with VSP before they continued their trip further north in Pai without our staff. During those three days two were spent in Mae Sa valley at Mae Sa Elephant camp, and one was spent at Elephant Nature Park.
Mae Sa Elephant camp split its activities into two days: one spent at the main camp where the girls were trained in basic mahout skills, learning the traditional way the Thai people used to ride and work alongside the Asian elephants. This day concluded with a trip to the river and a chance to wash the elephants.
The second day was spent at Mae Sa Elephant Camp’s care centre, a few kilometres down the road from the main camp. The care centre looks after the retired elephants from Mae Sa’s main elephant camp. The girls were given a tour of the centre, meeting the elephants and getting to learn a bit more about them, including elephant behaviour towards the death of other elephants. Following that was a quick tutorial on preparing the food and medicinal treatments for the elephants, learning about which roots, herbs and fruit are used to cure or help with different symptoms or problems. Following the lunch break the girls then headed down to the river to bathe the elephants before coming back to have an interview with the camp’s vet. The day ended with a mini test on everything they had learnt over the past two days and all the girls received a certificate for their mahout training.
The third and final day with VSP took place at Elephant Nature Park in the Mae Tang valley. Being a very different park to the Mae Sa camp, this gave the girls an alternative view on the history of Asian elephants in Thailand.
The trip ended with the whole group being treated to a Thai massage in Chiang Mai city followed by an evening at the Night Bazaar before they went back to Traidhos for their final night with us.
Despite it being such a short trip, it was a pleasure to host such a dynamic group of young adults with such enthusiasm for the world.