THAILAND

Facebook is My Travel Agent

I'm a sucker for Facebook ads... clothes, make up, home decor, classes, parties - I have to give them credit for knowing what I like. I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea but backpacking Asia by myself has been on the top of my To-Do for some time now. So it doesn't quite surprise me when I clicked on a Facebook ad that featured Asian elephant and was on the other side of the world two weeks later.

My journey was for ntermission before I return to make my way through the islands

Cut to the Chase

Cities: Bangkok & Surin/ Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Maya Bay 

Where I stayed: Hostel, Surin Hotel, Village Homestay, 

Places of Interest:

How I Got Around: Plane, Tuk Tuks, Long tailed boats, Ferries, Hot hot buses, Back of Pick Up Trucks

we are bamboo

Number one question, Guides, Mix of People, background, headquarters, other projects

Bamboo was built on a cornerstone of a combined experience of almost 40 years in international travel and global volunteering. The three co–founders; Colin, Steve and Mark, each share the same visions and agree it's essential that travel in developing countries must be giving–back to the communities that it visits. This, combined with having the most fun possible, is the priority of all Bamboo's tours. Each tour is designed around the positive impact that creates, the legacy that it leaves behind and the way that travelers and communities work together. This is as much about a cultural experience as it is a holiday.

GVN is one of the oldest and most well–respected volunteer placement organizations on the planet.

 This was recognized in 2015, after operating for just 16 months, when they were awarded the much coveted 'Worlds Best Volunteer–Tour' by Tour Radar!  Since GVN and The Bamboo Project have joined forces the effect has been incredible. 5000 new volunteers in first year

started with 4 tours? grown into....

all for one & one for all

{photo collage of all of us}. Embark on an adventure that was based on social media photos posted by a company and some pretty great reviews

Let me give you a quick intro to my compadres, I think their dynamics...
DISCLAIMER: I had an absolutely amazing group of people, we truly believe that we were all meant to be put together. But we all found this trip through an advertisement on Facebook, and everyone knows there are crazy people in the world. We have those people we follow on social media that we pray do not procreate for the sake of mankind... as long as these people pass their background check and can afford the trip, there's a chance they may be on your trip. But it's the exact same chance when you sign up for any tour 

 

#DabbingInBangkok

-Thai massage

-orientation

-Kao Sahn Road - Kim's Cocktails, The Club. starting the party

- Templessss

-Extreme heat

-scorpions, meal worms

 

Surin

hot oil massage

-expedition through the local markets

-Nicest hotel

-chance to purchase long sleeves and pants for our upcoming jobs

-night at another reggae bar (love they're bars - maybe just Pahn ;). Our first obnoxious encounter with older Australian gentleman bragging how long they've lived there and we're obviously tourists just looking to take photos with baby elephants. buckets of 

Food at hotel.

On the return spent another night- hot shower!! Considered going for a run at 4p but the heat and broken crowded streets were unmanageable. Wander with Maggie, Lisa, & Gillian the  maze of a local market. Surprised faces that broke into lagughter and eager responses when we used our new greetings. Grabbed fresh grapes & wandered through a stationary, general store & looked at all of the school supplies. Wondered if the children we would soon be meeting have aver seen such things. 

An hour outside Surin lies the Elephant Village. Dirt roads, 

The Queen's Project

What brough Background, chains, mahoots, stipends, my expectations

1. Pesticides are sprayed throught the village.... elephant & and will die within days

2. Elephants will eat every hour of the day if you let them and don't know any better as what is off limits to them. If an elephant was to wander off and eat a farmer's crop, could easily cost the mahout a month's stipend, leaving both the elephant and mahout foodless

3. The village consists primarily of elderly people and children as young adults move to larger cities to work and send money home to support their family. Elephants remind me of great danes, they're giant sweetheaart that think they're laps dogs - they don't realize the harm they could cause to someone if they were to get loose. 

The Elephant village allows them to safely reproduce and remain surround by their family for their entire lives. You can't just place a domestic elephant in the wild and you wouldn't take a a baby away from family to go into wild. 

 

Life in the Village

Almost an hour outside of the the town of Surin we passed an elephant education center and I thought we had arrived. But we continued to drive further and further down dirt roads and finally arrived to a tiny community.

animals, ice cream man, fleas in bed

-toilets

-showers

-mosquito nets

-the packs dogs at night

-final night thunderstorms

- hammocks hung around the front yard, plenty of time for reading, journaling and for Gillaim - playing ukulele.

Elephant Care

- walks

-providing food and care

-magical first night watching Wander & Banks happily swaying under the stars

Field Work

bamboo

-sugarcane

-water brigade

-watering shoots

about 5-10% of Bamboo travelers are there just for the photos and chance to say they went. Technically no one can for ce you to work if you paid to be there but it's half the experience.

Silk Road

-royalty select pieces from Silk ROad

-a bit more expensive than what t i was expecting or withdrew money

Poop Paper Factory

We started day ___ with bathing the elephants and after lunch loaded up in the truck and went to a large, overgrown pond to collect____.  Assembly line of Pain & Kooga in the water dragging plants over with large sticks and tossing to middleman then up the bank where we would strech out the length of the plant and use machetes to swift chop the roots. Drove through an ornate archway down a dirt road along what seemed a 

cut the roots into small pieces

decorate cards for tourists to buy

 Elephant hair & tusk goods. Do not condone the support of poahchers or ivory sale butspecial to know it came from an elephant that had passed.

Elephant Graveyard & Temple

fast & furious donation

heights not for everyone, discovered Gil's fear of heights

many monks working, women remain covered

baby elephant died & body preserved (age, mom?)

House Party