Chiang Mai and Elephants!!
We spent two days with elephants... just us and the elephants. OK, yes, there were the mahout (elephant trainers, thankfully!) and our guide and his family/friends/volunteers that lived on the land... but we basically had the place to ourselves. The "place" was an organic farm in the mountains near Chiang Mai, Thailand called Spicy Villa Eco-Lodge. It was like a homestay on an organic farm (pigs, cows, chickens, fruit, veggies, ride paddies - dry right now, fish, you name it!) that also was home to 6 elephants!
We trekked up the mountains to the farm (3 hrs, phew) and hopped right on the elephants just before they wandered into the jungle for their afternoon snack. They eat all day.. .they sniff a leaf, an entire tree, a banana... a bunch of bananas... they grab it with their trunk and shovel into that giant mouth. We also got in the water and bathe and swim with them. We all really seemed to love that part. We cooked with food from the farm, fed the pigs, woke up to the sun rising over the mountains and then to see our new elephant friends just hanging out at the top of the hill, we had to pinch ourselves.