Divine, handsome, cute - I've always loved elephants from afar. Today I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with Yum Yum, a sweet 59 year old Asian elephant.
Riding on Yum Yum through through the bush in Phuket was a very pleasant way to spend the morning. My mother advised me not to squeal as it might frighten them and I'm pleased to report that there was nae a squealing situation. You simply climb the mounting platform and step onto her back and sit in the chair. She sways gently back and forth as she picks her path up the mountain.
There was no hitting or striking the animal, the guide was pleasant and a bit cheeky, he took lots of pictures (with our camera) and we weren't asked to pay for his trouble.
Feeding the elephants after with bananas is delightful.
This is a stress free activity in an otherwise holiday filled with negotiation.
I suggest that you prevail of Kok Chang's pick up and drop off service as it was about half the cost of a taxi.
Call or email Kok Chang about 48 hours before you want to go. If you are staying somewhere that is on Phuket taxi mafia turf (like we were) ask them to pick you up at a local restaurant or similar if picking you up is a problem (like it was for us) or ask them to come in the mini-bus.
I imagine that kids from 2 to 102 would love this activity.
Elephant is not my preferred mode of travel - should be interesting getting Yum Yum through customs...