I had ridden on the back of an elephant in India before but that had been sat on a howdah for just a few metres up to the Amber Palace.

Amber Elephant

Indian Elephant

This was nothing compared to my visit to Elephant Village just outside Luang Prabang in Laos.

Normal Monday morning – get up at six tired from weekend excesses, get on an overdue, packed and sweaty train (no seat) with other grumpy commuters, go to office with grumpy colleagues, drink disgusting vending machine coffee, work on sales figures, eat plastic lunch at desk, get home at seven, fall asleep on the sofa.


Special Monday morning – get up at six invigorated despite weekend excesses, motorise canoe down misty river to main camp, clamber onto the neck of a non-grumpy elephant, comfortable if unusual seat with plenty of room, open air ride to river with exuberant new friends, drink freshly squeezed fruit juice, work on scrubbing elephant in aforementioned river, feed elephant sugar cane, back in lodge at seven, fall asleep on the sofa.


Oh, add to that a feeling of complete exhilaration, beautiful jungle surroundings, like-minded traveller ‘colleagues’ & wonderful al fresco meals prepared on an open fire.

Enough said?


  1. I never tried elephant before.. After seeing this, I think I must try, at least once in a lifetime..

  2. I’d love to ride on the back of an elephant. So jealous! Great photos.

    1. Lauren, I would definitely recommend it. I have a dislike for heights and am notoriously clumsy, but I loved it. Just try to make sure you do it with an ethical company as there are some bad ones out there, especially in Thailand. Wilbur.

      1. I have a fear of heights too. One day I’ll start traveling again!

  3. I seem to remember going on an elephant ride at London Zoo in about 1960!

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