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From the Ground: New Kanchanaburi Tour with Elephants

By Nicole Long & Jay Austin,

We are excited to announce a new 2 day Kanchanaburi Option.  Kanachanaburi is beautiful and for guests with the time, we highly recommend visiting this region to take in more of Thailand’s recent history and beautiful countryside.  This particular option combines the historical significance of the area with a more active, philanthropic element with a visit to ElephantsWorld. This nonprofit organization was founded in 2008 and considers itself a “retirement home” for elephants who are too old or have become injured working in the tourism industry.  We love this tour option for returning guests who have been to Thailand before, and want to spend time with elephants in a sustainable setting, without needing to return to Chiang Mai.  This option is also great for families as there are discounted rates for kids aged 4-11, and children under 3 years are free!

Here’s what you can expect from this two-day tour, which can be combined with any itinerary:

Day 1: Bridge Over The River Kwai

You will be met at your hotel in Bangkok at 7:00am and taken by minivan to Kanchanburi. Enjoy the beautiful views along the way, with your guide available to answer any questions you may have. Your first stop will be the WWII Museum and Donrak POW Cemetery, before continuing on to the infamous bridge over the River Kwai. You can walk across the bridge and take some time to soak up the atmosphere and watch the river go by before taking the original “death railway” train to Krasae station, stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. Later you will board a long-tailed boat and head up river to your hotel with wonderful views of the jungle along the way. After checking in to your floating accommodation, enjoy your dinner before watching a Traditional Mon Dance performance.

Day 2: ElephantsWorld Day Program

After an early breakfast, check out of your hotel and coast down river to meet your driver, who will transfer you ElphantsWorld’s camp, located approximately an hour from the town of Kanchanburi.  When you arrive at the camp, you’ll join the other participants for your introduction to the camp and ElephantsWorld’s mission, which is to provide sanctuary for sick, old, disabled, abused and rescued elephants. You will have the opportunity to meet and feed the elephants and meet their mahouts. You will assist with preparing food for the elephants by cleaning fruits and vegetables, and preparing sticky rice for the elderly giants. Afterwards, you and the group will break for lunch. Work off your lunch by planting fruit trees and/or gathering food for the elephants’ afternoon meal before helping the mahouts to feed sticky rice balls to the older elephants. Then it’s to the river for bath time! Enjoy getting wet with these gentle giants as you bathe and scrub them clean. Finally, give them the fruit and vegetables you collected earlier before saying goodbye to your new friends. You will depart the camp at approximately 4pm and head back to Bangkok.

Please note: We recommend bringing a change of clothes as you will get wet in assisting with the elephant’s bath.

Help support Heritage Watch’s new children’s campaign

Comic Book

A project to educate Cambodia’s kids of the importance of heritage preservation as they are the future stewards of the country’s past.

Heritage Watch was founded in 2003 by archaeologist Dougald O’Reilly following the rampant looting of Phum Snay, an immense Iron Age burial ground in Cambodia’s northwest.

Cambodia’s great archaeological heritage is being decimated by widespread looting.  Heritage Watch is a non-profit organization dedicated to halting this destruction and saving Cambodia’s cultural legacy.

Their most recent campaign focuses on the youth of Cambodia, and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund this latest initiative…

One of our most popular projects to date was the production and distribution of a Khmer language comic book called “Wrath of the Phantom Army” that tells the story of poor villagers who are encouraged to loot their home town. However, there are scary consequences. Reviving the tradition of ‘horror story’ comics has become very popular and thus, it is our venue for this media. Heritage Watch originally distributed this comic nationwide. Now we have integrated it into a comprehensive project called ‘Heritage for Kids’. 

Heritage for Kids involves developing a series of classes on historic preservation for teachers at primary and secondary schools in Cambodia. Part of the curriculum includes reading and reviewing “Wrath of the Phantom Army” and another of our popular children’s books ‘If the Stones Could Speak’. These books, together with a colouring book and the teacher’s guide, will help educate younger Cambodians about the importance and value of their cultural heritage. In the end, these younger Khmer will not only learn, but perhaps inform the rest of their communities, as well as their own families, on the importance of preserving their heritage. 

Journeys Within is proud to donate to this important cause and we hope that you will join us.

Click here for the project’s Kickstarter fundraising page. (The campaign must be funded by June 12, 2015)