Exploring Ayutthaya Historical Park (Part 3): Close Encounter with Thai Elephants

I didn’t know where to go after visiting Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchaburana. There are other temples in Ayutthaya Historical Park but thought then that visiting a third temple is too much. I will be seeing the same ruins and the same Buddha statues.

I just walked without any direction until I saw two mammoths walking down the street.

Thai Elephants in Ayutthaya Historical Park

Elephants! It was a delightful sight to see a live elephant although it was not my first time to get near one. In fact, I met Manila Zoo’s controversial elephant before I went to Thailand. Also, I touched an elephant skull during my visit to Phukhieo Wildilife Park.

Riding on an elephant is a must-experience in Thailand. Tourists go from all over the world just to experience riding the ancient “car” of kings and maharajahs.

Thai elephant in Ayutthaya Historical Park

I followed the Thai elephant until I reached their pen where I saw more Thai elephants.

A herd of Thai elephants in Ayutthaya Historical Park

I discovered, to my dismay, that riding an elephant costs more than 100 baht. I didn’t want to spend that large amount of money. It is not worth it.

So I just contented myself at taking photos of the elephants in their pens.

Thai elephants in Ayutthaya Historical Park

I even took a selfie with them…

Me touching a Thai elephant in Ayutthaya Historical Park
My closest encounter with a Thai elephant.

...and an elephant touched my palm. He thought that I have food. :-P

I bet that elephant is so disappointed.

Elephants are important part of Thai culture. They served as beasts of burden. More importantly, they served as the cavalry during ancient wars. Elephants are effective in destroying the formation of foot soldiers. Just imagine that you’re a soldier in the ancient times and a group of war elephants rampage towards you. I’m sure that you will run away lest you be stomped to death.

War elephants in action

War elephants served ancient armies from Europe to Africa to India to Southeast Asia. The Romans, for instance, had a hard time fighting the Carthaginian general Hannibal because of the Carthage’s war elephants.

The Thai government recognized the importance of elephants in their culture that’s why they became the symbol of Thailand. It is evident in the royal seals and coat of arms.

Thai Royal Coat of Arms

The elephants in Ayutthaya Historical Park are trained while they were young. Thus, their obedience to the mahouts (elephant trainers) are deeply ingrained to their psyche (if they have that).

A baby Thai elephant and his mahout in Ayutthaya Historical Park

I was in for a treat that day when I saw a young elephant play with his mahout, which I recorded in this video:


That treat is enough for me. I’ve seen the elephants up close. I even touched one of them. Contented, I moved to another place in Ayutthaya Historical Park.

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Read my other adventures in Ayutthaya Historical Park:

Exploring Ayutthaya Historical Park (Part 1): The Ruins of Wat Mahathat
Exploring Ayutthaya Historical Park (Part 2): The Crypt of Wat Ratchaburana
Exploring Ayutthaya Historical Park (Part 4): St. Joseph Church of Ayutthaya
A Biker’s Adventure in Ayutthaya Historical Park
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8 comments:

  1. Thanks, na highlight din ang mga elephants. Hindi ko alam na meron pala talagang mga war elephants. My concern is, naalalagaan ba silang mabuti? i'm really hoping., they're still beings, and kung ako, better na sa wild nalang tlga sila.

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    1. War elephants are real. Effective kasi sila pangsira sa morale ng foot soldiers. I hope na naalagaan sila. Unfortunately, I read some news kung saan isang park sa Thailand ang hindi maganda ang trato sa alaga nilang tigers. So posible rin na may parks na hindi maganda ang trato sa mga elephants.

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  2. Interesting facts about elephants; they never forget, they can't fall down because if they do, they will die (hindi na sila makakabangon ever), they're the only mammals who can't jump, they grieve when another elephant dies.

    They look so cute kahit malaki but I have the same concern as with stevevhan. I hope they're cared for and not abused. Although I would want to ride one, I believe they do deserve to be freed back into the wild.

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    1. :-) Lot's of trivia. Thank you po. Additional knowledge for me.

      Mayroon akong napanood na video kung saan maraming dinaanang paghihrap yung elephant para lang ma-domesticate sya. As for the elephants in Ayutthaya, I think these elephants are already domesticated parang baka. They are already born in the elephant farms (or whatever place).

      But it is better na nasa wild sila. Yun nga lang main attraction sila sa Thailand kaya hindi rin papayag ang Thai government na pakawalan silang lahat.

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  3. Cool... Sorry Ish late visit hehe... How much is the 100 baht in Philippine peso? Elephant is my most favorite animal ever kahit hindi pa ako nakakakita ng totoong elepante except from Mali ng Manila Zoo... years ago...They are one of the smartest animals ever and they can even recognize themselves in the mirror...

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    1. 100 Baht is around 130 pesos.

      Ha! More trivia from you Milton. Parang gusto ko tuloy subukan kung maka-recognize yung elepante sa salamin.

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  4. My girl has been on an elephant ride, shaking and rolling and not all that comfortable. I did not try, pity the elphant - just stood and watched. :D

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    1. You should have rode the elephant. I am sure that it can carry you. Try it next time you get a chance.

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