An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. Around 8:30 am, we drive to Xieng Lom Village and start our elephant day care full day tour: “Inside the hearts of elephants”
Upon arrival you are invited to have coffee or tea as your guide for the day provides an in-depth introduction to elephant behavior and the ways we should interact with them. A quick boat ride across the Nam Khan River will deliver you to the waiting elephants. You will be introduced to your new friends and feed them some special treats—a sure way to begin an instant friendship. Then, you will enjoy observing elephants from the river bank as Mahouts wash them in the Nam Khan river. You can experience elephants washing, swimming and playing in the water. Please note this is voluntary activity for the elephant’s and Mandalao does not force them to get in the water. (On cold days the elephants are less likely to want to get wet.) After 2 hours crossing through a beautiful stretch of traditional Lao gardens you will arrive at the jungle-covered Huay Nok stream. As you walk alongside the elephants and crisscross through the cool water you will experience a profound sense of understanding, respect, and caring for these amazing animals. You and your elephant companions will continue walking past a lovely stretch of rice fields and enter a patch of forest where you can rest, relax, and eat. Lunch will be served in traditional Lao fashion, eating on bamboo mats on the forest floor. Then, you will visit Tad Kuang Song Waterfall, which was named after a Golden Deer spirit seen standing on its crest many centuries ago. If you like, you can take a cool dip, wade, stand under the soft showers of the waterfall, and spend time meditating and admiring the private beauty of this rarely seen natural treasure. You will sit, watch, and learn as the MandaLao mahout’s show how they communicate and listen to their elephants. This will highlight the special skills each elephant has and give you deeper insight into their individual personalities. After this, you can take what you have learned from the mahouts and guides throughout the day and spend quiet, uninterrupted time with the elephants—reading their emotions just as they read yours. You will experience first-hand why humans and elephants have shared such an unwavering bond for thousands of years. Along with the mahouts, you will bring your elephants to their nighttime feeding grounds. Take time for a long goodbye and in knowing that the connection you have built is not only felt by you, but by your new friend as well. Enjoy a few moments to think about your experiences from the day as you look out at the vast Luang Prabang mountain range from the terrace at MandaLao. We will then drive you back to town. Arrive at your hotel at approximately 4:00pm.
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tour guide: English speaking guide