In Laos, opportunities for tourists are endless. The tiny landlocked country in Asia, wedged between Vietnam and Thailand offers a host of unique activities, but one of the most famous and most well-loved are the elephant treks across the jungles.
Basically, when you are out of the bustling hub of Vientiane and the markets and endless propositions for you to part with your hard-earned dollars, you arrive in smaller towns and even villages full of smiling locals. Getting off the beaten track like this is a dream come true for many young gap-year students or even older people whose kids are now all grown up and they can use the opportunity to give themselves a treat.
One of the most famous places to go elephant trekking in Laos is the Elephant Mahout Camp, which is a parody obviously of the concept of a ‘boot camp.’ This association says that they can divulge to you the ‘secret language of the elephants’, ‘a firsthand jungle experience’ and even to be ‘part of their sacred bathing rituals.’
This form of sustainable and altruistic tourism is practiced at the Tiger Trail Elephant Village as well, where tourist funds are channeled into development projects for the elephants, the local economy, conservation in the jungle and sustainable development for nearby villages and communities.
Most elephant treks can be had for a fee of about 100 USD, though even this might be a bit pricey for the avid backpacker.
The adventurous tourist is usually greeted with either well-furnished hotel rooms or cabins near the jungle where the tour is to take place. For every elephant there are two people – your driver and you. For the particularly brave souls among us, they even offer you the chance to ride on the back of the elephant’s neck without a saddle.
This is one experience you’ll never forget about your stay in Laos!