I was worried that this would be a completely touristy experience but enjoyed it a lot. The adventure is really well run and organized. We watched the show (make your own judgements but when the elephant began painting a mama and baby we were pretty amazed), then had lunch, a buffet with not bad food considering all that they have to churn out.
We took the ox cart ride through a rice paddy and to another part of the park (about 20-30 minute ride) and there we got on an elephant for the 30 plus minute ride back. It poured rain while we rode the elephant and I thought it was a bit terrifying going downhill on narrow muddy trails. There were umbrellas on each seat and I seemed to be the only one unwilling to let go of the handles on the seat long enough to open the umbrella. Walking through the river on the elephant was wonderful. I could do that for hours. The mahouts seemed to truly love their animals and were really gentle with them.
Part three was a ride on a bamboo raft down the river.
We booked our trip through our hotel concierge and were "handled" by Pino who was professional and very helpful and took great care of us.
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