First we traveled by car, then by motor boat to get to the site. The trip along the way was quite picturesque.
|Road was not very busy as we passed through a town|
|People watching as we and others pass by|
|Very nice gas station and rest stop|
|Store with snacks along the road|
|Side, dirt road to river|
|Boats awaiting us on the river|
|Garden opposite the ticket booth|
|Group boarding boat|
|Shoreline, taken with zoom|
|Welcome sign at Elephant Ride|
|Elephant, stand for mounting, ticket booth|
|Ticket booth, hours 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.|
|Bananas and sugar cane for treats for elephants, 5,000 kip a bunch (about 65 cents US)|
|Feeding elephant banana|
|Stand for mounting elephant|
|Waterfall in dry season|
|Bridge near waterfall|
Sights as we returned by motorboat:
|About to dock|
Kakada told us that many people ride elephants in Thailand, but he wanted to give Laos the same opportunity. Also, since this was in an outlying area, it was much less crowded. There was only one other small group here.
Kakada said that the first time he brought a group here, one of the tourists said that she noticed a mahout hitting an elephant with a whip and drawing blood. Kakada went to the head of the mahouts, told him the problem, and asked if he could meet with the group of mahouts. The leader checked the elephant to confirm the problem, and then brought the mahouts together. Kakada got each a beer and then told him of his concern. He said that he wanted to bring tourists to ride the elephants in this place but could not if they mistreat the elephants. They listened carefully and he has never noticed any sign of mistreatment of the animals since then.