Monday, November 10, 2008

the elephant ride to bayon

while researching for the siem reap leg of the trip, i found out that elephant rides are being offered in some temples in the city. since then, i made it my personal mission to get up on one of them pachyderms and have the ride of a lifetime.

when we got to siem reap, though, i was feeling a bit hopeless about the mission, as i didn't see elephants on our first and second day. we made it clear to thia, our guide, that we wanted to ride elephants, and he promised us a ride when we got to ta prohm. unfortunately, we were a bit too late, and the elephants had left the temple when we got there.

but thia made good on his promise, and he asked our tuk-tuk drivers to take us back to the east gate of angkor thom, and sure enough, a bunch of elephants were "parked" there, waiting for some adventurous tourists who were game for a ride.

the ride cost USD 10 each for 15 minutes, starting from the gate of angkor thom all the way to bayon. we three girls shared chiben, our 45-year-old elephant. as you can see from the photo, we were all pretty exhilarated to be up on our darling elephant, lumbering through the east gate towards the temple.

it was pretty exciting during the first five minutes, when you can see everyone looking up and trying to get a picture of the elephant walking on the street. the view was also quite different from up there. however, after the 8th minute, we started to feel restless, especially after seeing a bunch of tuk-tuks speeding ahead of us. thankfully, susie was there to amuse us, as mr. han took him on the tuk-tuk so he, susie, could take photos of us up on the elephant.

one of the highlights of the ride was when our elephant "driver" directed chiben to a nearby tree, and the elephant driver plucked a leaf off the tree, and he started playing a tune on it. he played it from the 10th minute until the ride ended, giving us a nature-inspired soundtrack to our elephant adventure. :) here's a video of him, showing off his musical prowess:

it was definitely an unforgettable moment, despite the feelings of restlessness when we were up on the saddle. i consider it one of the best experiences i've ever had in my life. it's out-of-the-ordinary things like this that get me so excited to travel and see the world. i can't wait for the next chance i get to ride an elephant!


kegler747 said...

Will try this one pagpunta ko sa Siem Reap next year. Pero dapat mas mura sya sa Bangkok na 200 baht for about 20-30 mins.

i gotta go! said...

naku, i doubt that. our ride was USD 10 for 15 minutes. mas mahal talaga sa siem reap.

aicert said...

Hi, I just want to ask if you still have the contact information of your tourist guide (Thia) because we are planning to go to Siem Reap next month. How is he? Is he a good tourist guide and he knows how to speak good english? Many Thanks

i gotta go! said...

hi aicert!

we actually just got thia from our hotel, the villa. you can try contacting them: (855) 063 761 036 Email:

if you don't have a place to stay yet, do consider the villa. their packages are really worth it!