Paradise (and a cheeky monkey!)

Phuket Travel Blog

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Me (on right) with Charley the cheeky Gibbon monkey!
We were picked up by Richard today. I met Richard on the messages boards at Trip Advisor I believe, and he is a Canadian guy living in Phuket and runs a dive business there. On his off days he also takes tourists up to the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre and we had arranged with him to pick us up. We went with an Aussie couple who were very nice, and what an experience! It has to be the highlight of our trip.

We stopped off to get some bananas for the Gibbon's (very, very cheap) and Richard also bought a pineapple. We get to the rehab centre and meet with the elephants. Richard cuts up the pineapple and told us about the centre and explains that the elephants are mostly from labour camps in the northern Thailand that have been worked hard or treated badly.
Myself and Soraya. Awesome view from here.
They are now at the rehab centre and take tourists on trips up the hill. It was very cheap, I forget how much (900BHT I think each? Which is $40NZD), but I highly reccommend waiting for your elephant ride and paying these guys for it - it isn't commercial at all and the elephants aren't mistreated like they are elsewhere. Then he calls out for Charley - a Gibbon monkey. After a few minutes of calling, Charley appears swinging on the other side of the road, crosses and comes up to us all. He is the cutest thing I've ever seen, and he's wild which makes it far more enjoyable than seeing him in a zoo! Charley's girlfriend was so funny, she walks with her huge round belly sticking out in front of her - it really is a sight! Richard showed us how to groom them and we spent quite some time sitting there talking to the Aussie's and Richard while grooming Charley. They are so funny when they're eating, pineapple juice squirting everywhere!

The elephant ride was awesome, sometimes places were steep and we had to get used to trying to balance ourselves on the back of this huge elephant! The view at the top was beautiful and the greenery (and insects!) were awesome. Not to mention the huge spider that tried to eat Nathan (or so he says anyway)! The trip is through rubber plantations and the amount of butterflies were out of this world. I've never seen anything like it!
We even got to feed one elephant right into it's mouth, which apparently is rather rare. It was just... amazing.

We got back and just chilled out at the bar that is there at the rehab centre, and met up with some more Kiwi's. Charley loves to swing by and trys to snatch people's beers - it's quite entertaining!

Richard was a godsend really, telling us where to eat and other good information about the area. We mentioned that we had saw a baby Gibbon outside on the beach with someone, and Richard informed us that this is illegal as Gibbon's are protected, and usually the people with them have killed their mother's to get the baby and then use them in Phuket by having tourists pay to have their photo taken with them. It's so sad. He said that this guy hung out usually outside McDonalds, and we said that he was, and Richard said that they were trying to arrest the guy. So, just a warning - if you see anyone with a baby Gibbon in the Phuket area doing this - IT IS ILLEGAL!! Ask reception at your hotel who to call about it, because there is a group trying to stop this.

So, all and all - today was the highlight of our trip! :)
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Me (on right) with Charley the che…
Me (on right) with Charley the ch…
Myself and Soraya. Awesome view fr…
Myself and Soraya. Awesome view f…
Phuket Sights & Attractions review
Amazing experience. This is where you need to have your elephant ride!! Plus, you may even get to spot a Gibbon, as cheeky Charley usually hangs aroun… read entire review
Phuket
photo by: Aclay01