aboutWe are Akila and Patrick. Ourminds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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elephant beauty
at patara elephant farm

Two elephants at Patara Elephant Farm

Bo Chang and his mother

Two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to be "elephant owners for the day" at Patara Elephant Farm, an organization devoted to the care, conservation, and breeding of elephants, in Chiang Mai.  To do this amazing day justice, today's post is a pictoral view of these gorgeous animals and, in my next post, I will tell you all about our experiences bathing, feeding, riding, and swimming with our elephants. 


Bo Chang, a 7-year old male

"If anyone wants to know what elephants are like, they are like people, only more so." 

Peter Corneille, in Theatreprint

Elephant gathering grass at Patara Elephant Farm, Chiang Mai Patara Elephant Farm
Gathering grass Elephant and trainer at Patara Elephant Farm, Chiang Mai

 Elephant gathering grass at Patara Elephant Farm

Elephant face

Sai Thong, a female adult

"Writing a book is like washing an elephant: there is no good place to begin or end and it's hard to keep track of what you have already covered."


Elephant drinking water Elephant drinking water
Elephant drinking water Elephant bathing

Elephant swimming and drinking water

"Let a person walk alone with few wishes, comitting no wrong, like an elephant in the forest."

Buddhist saying

Elephant eye Elephant with trunk raised
Elephant trunk Elephant foot

Elephant eye, trunk, foot

Elephant tail
Elephant ear

 Elephant tail, ear

The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?

David Attenborough

Elephant face


Elephant face

Elephant faces

Elephants at Patara Elephant Farm

Elephants at Patara Elephant Farm

Coming up next time: Patrick jumps on to an elephant's neck; Akila swims on an elephant's back; and we do a lot of elephant riding, feeding, and bathing.

02/04/2010 15:22
Awesome photos! I'm so glad you all got to go there. Seeing it makes me want to do it all over again. It was such an incredible experience. When we make it back to Chiang Mai we will be doing it again for sure. Thanks for bringing back great memories!
02/04/2010 17:32
These are absolutely gorgeous photos of the elephants! Sounds like an amazing experience and I look forward to the stories and more photos!
02/04/2010 22:56
Riding an elephant is always something I've wanted to do. I've been worried that the elephants at places that offer such rides would be mistreated. Glad to hear you found a place where they care about their conservation.
mina's recent blog post: loco natural
02/06/2010 18:04
Gorgeous pics! We loved Chiang Mai and the elephants are such sweet souls!
Manali + Terry's recent blog post: Top 10 Experiences :: Day 153
02/07/2010 11:40
Beautiful photos. We are going to the Elephant Transit Home here in Sri Lanka this week. They do amazing things rehabilitating orphaned and injured elephants and putting them back into the wild. It is run by the born free foundation. We met Ian Redmond renowned gorilla expert and UN Ambassador in India. He is also an expert on elephant conservation and it is heartbreaking to see the plight of the elephant. A big problem here in Sri Lanka is farmers and elephants trying to co-exist. Farmers shoot them when the wander into their crops. Many elephants have been killed and injured by explosives set out to kill wild boars. Another thing that we learned about was the miserable existence of temple elephants. As Ian said..."it is a dismal life being revered."
So sad, but nice to see a place like this where they can roam free.
02/09/2010 19:35
Wonderful post and photos! I'm going to Thailand later this year and I've been looking into interacting with elephants in a humane environment.
SpunkyGirl's recent blog post: Photo: Morón, Cuba
02/11/2010 00:57
They look so beautiful! I like the close ups, particularly the spotty photo. Must have been lovely to see them in the wild.
02/12/2010 02:52
JoAnna, Thanks! Yesterday night, we were talking to a couple who said that, in Laos, many of these elephants are severely beaten or tortured (including placing sticks in their EYES) just to make them work. It makes me sad for the world when I think of such things.

Lori, thanks! Actually, I have to give you a lot of credit because it was on your site that I first heard about Patara. I am so glad that we went there.

Thanks, Shannon, Mina, and Manali and Terry, SpunkyGirl, and Gourmantic! It really is a wonderful place.

Dave and Deb, The temple elephants are truly heart breaking. I think that in some cases, the priests take care of them while in others, they are left to suffer or starve. We were told that many elephants cross the border from Burma and have their legs or bodies mangled by land mines. It is sad to hear that they are being shot and killed in Sri Lanka.
02/22/2010 17:57
amazing pictures! it?s sad to think how can people hurt such great creatures
02/24/2010 03:59
Thanks Adriana! I am continuously surprised by how horrible humans can be. It is a strange world, isn't it?
Akila's recent blog post: sukhothai in sepia
04/01/2010 05:32
I fell in love with elephants when we were in Thailand. they also took a real liking to my husband and would always come over to say hello to him-it was the oddest thing! What an amazing experience :)
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella's recent blog post: Comment on Easter Hen and Chick Nests! by shirley@kokken69
05/30/2010 21:37
I think elephant is our best friends and everytime I go to a zoo they are my first choice...
12/05/2010 09:11
I think elephants may be large but they looks lovely and friendly. I have seen elephant shows but I have not touch one. I just hope I will have opportunity to be "elephant owners for the day".
04/22/2011 15:57
How amazing! I would love to do something like this!

It makes me sad to think about the future of elephants. I just don't understand why people poach them.
JoAnna's recent blog post: Reading: One for the Road
09/23/2011 19:40
I never saw this post, I love it. I hope to experience the elephants when I go to Thailand.
09/27/2011 15:25
Thanks so much Lisa! if you have the chance, I would definitely check out Patara - it is a magical place.
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