A Tale of Elephant Trekking in Thailand

There are many reasons I will never forget my first trip to Thailand in 2011.

One reason is because it was 6 months before my final year 12 exams. Who goes away on a holiday before their final school exams? Oh yeah, this lady right here.

Another reason is because after wanting a nose piercing for all of about 5 minutes, my mum decided I could get one. And then, I realised that the tattoo artist who did my piercing, used a gun, with an earring that was meant for your ear. You know what that means right? I had a butterfly clip stuck up my nose that I couldn’t get out until I got home to Aus. Oops.

The final reason was because I almost fell off an elephant.

Let me explain.


Phuket, Thailand is a stunning and lush cultural Mecca, and there are just some things one has to do when in Thailand. Visit the ‘pee’ Island dubbed by many children (myself included). What I actually mean is visit Phi Phi Island. Think crystal clear waters, fluffy white sand. Yes please. Other things on the list include eating every variety of pad thai and pad see ew you come in contact with, drinking pina coladas by the pool, quad-biking, visit a few cultural hotspots like What Chalong, go to the Simon Cabaret show, the night markets and finally, elephant trekking.


Elephant trekking is a fun, family thing to do, right? Mmm, not so much when you’re scared of heights and manage to have a mini panic attack as soon as climb atop of the elephant’s back. What happens when you’re anxious? You get shaky. What happens when you’re shaky? Your limbs don’t work properly. What happens when you’re shaky and you step off the platform and attempt to seat yourself on the elephant’s back? You slip.

I’ll set the scene: one leg inside the little seater saddle, one leg dangling down the elephant’s side. One sweaty brow, and one poor Dumbo (all elephants should be named Dumbo, OK?) Luckily for me, my brother was already seated on Dumbo and calm, and was able to hoist me into the saddle, with one of the tour guides guiding me in as well.


Really – how hard is it to get into one of those seats? Not very!

My brother was laughing, the tour guide was laughing and Dumbo was trumpeting. It’s not like I was ever in any real danger, but it sure as hell made for one bumpy ride afterward, and it wasn’t any fault of Dumbo (hint: it’s because I was shaking so much). I laughed too. More out of pity and embarrassment. The only casualty? My thong, which fell into a pile of poop. Delightful.

At least I managed to not fall off once I was actually seated on Dumbo. Just. And yet, it still made for one great story coming home.

But it wasn’t as good of a story as that one time a man tried to buy me in an Israeli marketplace. But that’s another story for another time.

Question time!

What’s the funniest/weirdest/craziest thing that’s happened to you whilst travelling? 


This was was written in collaboration with Southern Cross Travel Insurance, however, all the beliefs and opinions expressed in this post are written in my own words and 100% authentic. 

Southern Cross Travel Insurance provides a range of insurance options for Australians when travelling overseas. With insurance policies from just $15, SCTI has a policy to suit any budget – plus, if you need help while you’re overseas, Southern Cross Worldwide Assistance is there to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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