Learning to Mahout!!
Ban Nonsavath Travel Blog› entry 377 of 424 › view all entries
We paid a small fortune ($90 each) to do the 2-day Mahout course - learning to become an elephant rider!! We were driven out to the elephant camp where we checked into our rather posh wooden hut lodge on stilts. The bathroom was built onto the back of the hut and was open-air!!!
We changed into our rather unflattering mahout outfits - pale denim colour shirts and trousers - and then went out with some other tourists on a day trip and climbed aboard our elephant. I went on the wooden seat behind while Simon got to ride the elephant on his neck! We went through the jungle and across the river on the elephant for about an hour, before arriving at a small lodge where we fed our elephant bananas and then waited in the restaurant for the rest of our group to arrive.
We then walked to a nearby village to see the temple and learn about the village life, all the way walking along shouting commands at each other and testing each other on our elephant talk! We also took to the river and went tubing - sitting in an inner tube and floating down the river.
After the elephants had had their afternoon rest and feed, it was time to try our elephant driving skills. We all climbed on to our individual elephants and off we went! It was amazing to sit on the elephant's neck, palms resting on the huge head of the elephant and to feel the movement beneath me, the shoulders so big and powerful. We walked along in a line, all of us shouting out our newly learnt commands as our elephants decided to head of the track at various points to grab a snack from the trees and plants. Ya Ya (stop being naughty) seemed the most popular.
Back from the walk, it was then into the river for a bath! This was the best bit , we were all given a brush and went into the river on our elephant's necks.
After an open-air hot shower, we gathered in the restaurant with our fellow mahouters and were served up delicious Lao food and had a few beers, chatting away the evening with our new friends.