Myanmar Elephant Encounter and Forest Conservation
Your travelers to Southeast Asia almost always want to include some kind of elephant encounter in their ideal itinerary. The elephant is an icon of strength, intelligence and benevolence despite their massive size. For an excellent way to encounter elephants in their native environment, Khiri Travel Myanmar recommends a visit to the elephant camp near the beautiful town of Kalaw in Shan State. This camp was created by some local tourism professionals to give sanctuary to retired domesticated elephants. Designed to conserve the forest resource that is the elephant’s natural habitat, the elephant camp also helps provide a livelihood for the local people. Khiri Travel is proud to support this project through the outreach arm, Khiri Reach.
Kalaw is a former colonial British hill station town that offers year round cool temperatures and green scenery. The elephant camp is located nearby in an area of protected forest where native species can grow and live undisturbed creating a natural habitat for animals that could otherwise be easily hunted and killed. The area is also known for birds and butterflies, orchids, teak and bamboo. Conservation efforts involve tree replanting in deforested areas.
Depending on arrival time, a specialized guide can lead your travelers on a trek to encounter the elephants and their mahouts (those who work with and train elephants) by walking anywhere from 30 minutes to four or five hours. A delicious lunch with local specialties (often from Nepalese origin) will be served in a traditional village. After lunch, what is often quoted as a most memorable experience with elephants, travelers can join the mahouts to wash and feed the elephants.
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Photo of elephants by JP Klovstad