Thursday March 17, 2016
Had a nice day visiting Siam Safari in Phuket, Thailand on St. Patrick's Day, no less. Our tour highlight was a ride on an elephant which was first up on the agenda. After an initial orientation, we mounted the convenient "drive thru" platform and stepped on to the elephant. Fortunately there was a settee for us to park our derrières on and after a little tweaking related to balancing the weight we were off.
First impression? When you get on top of a settee placed on the back of an elephant you are up there -- pretty high off the ground. Wouldn't want to fall down from there! Second impression was that the elephant in spite of its size was quiet and the ride (aside from our raucous fellow tour goers) was relaxing. Not a bad way to get around!
Our "driver" sat on the elephant's skull and controlled his movements using his feet behind the elephant's ears. He would nudge the right ear when he wanted the elephant to go left and vice versa. We rode for approximately thirty minutes and our path took us to a beautiful lookout where we were able to see the turquoise water and off shore islands in the distance.
After our elephant ride I wondered what we would do for the rest of the projected five hour tour time. I needn't have worried. Siam Safari had it all figured out. First we had a little information on elephants, then we went for a demonstration of harvesting sap from rubber trees. This was followed by, in no particular order, a cooking demonstration, a rice harvesting demo, coconut husking, an ox cart ride (powered by a water buffalo) and samples of traditional Thai coffee and tea. The demos were well done and informative and the time passed quickly.
Lunch was at a different location. It was a brand new indoor/outdoor restaurant that seemed to be employing everybody in the village. The food was just okay but the day was a fine one. I mean how often do you get to go on an elephant ride on St. Patrick's Day?