On our third day in Thailand we boarded a plane from Bangkok to Phuket which is located in south-west Thailand. The girls were particularly excited for this portion of the vacation because we had plans for paddle boarding, playing in a pool, hanging with elephants, and snorkeling. We got to do about 3/4 of that plan.
I made reservations for us at The Mangrove by Blu Monkey which the girls proclaimed as “the coolest place we’ve ever stayed!” I tried not to let that go to my head but I do regret not having it recorded to play in the future. We had an entire, two bungalows at our disposal with queen sized beds covered by mosquito nets. Each bungalow had it’s own kitchenette and bathroom.
We spent our first full day in Phuket on the resort which offered a swimming pool, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, a playground for the kids, and a beach. The girls were thoroughly entertained by a swing in a tree that was over the water. Marcus and I were thoroughly entertained by the mini bar.
On our second day in Phuket we went to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket for half a day. This was, hands down, everyone’s favorite experience. We met each elephant, who ranged in age from 12 to 62 (roughly), and who had all been rescued from around Thailand. Our first task was to feed them watermelon and, for the particularly senior ladies who were missing most of their teeth, they got watermelon without the rind. Then, we learned to make vitamin balls and which we fed directly into their mouths (instead of them grasping the food with their trunk) which allowed us the chance to really get up-close and personal.
After feeding them, we learned how to weigh them without the use of a scale and which must be done every day because it indicates how healthy they are. Even the slightest loss in weight may be a sign the elephant isn’t getting enough nutrients in her diet. After that, we got in our bathing suits and all of us, elephants included, headed to the mud pit.
Going into the mud pit was gross but it was worth it (we were also promised glowing skin but all I got were bathing suits with a slight muddy tinge to this day). We scooped bowls full of mud and splashed them on each elephant, then rubbed it into their skin. Being so close and touching the elephants was amazing; their skin is rough and dotted with wiry hairs.
After the mud bath, we took them to a pond where each elephant was scrubbed down with fresh water. Many of them laid their bodies down in the water, fully submerged, with their trunks popping up on occasion for a quick breath of air. This was the highlight of an already amazing day. Everyone was laughing and smiling as we made our way to each elephant, scrubbing them down, wondering where a trunk might pop-up, and just enjoying the proximity to these amazing animals.
After ensuring each elephant was squeaky clean, we humans got cleaned up and were treated to a Thai buffet for lunch. I will say this: As I was in charge of the planning I made the judicious decision to spend a little bit more money for the half day experience and it was worth every penny. We all walked away with some really incredible memories of getting to love on these amazing creatures.
Since it was our fifth day in Thailand, and two days before our flight home to Singapore, we had to take a supervised ART (or AKT as it’s known in Thailand and which caused a bit of confusion…also, technically, the ART for the fifth day in Thailand did not need to be supervised but since we needed it to be in order to travel home, we opted for a supervised ART…it’s confusing and I’m just grateful to have a second half who is really good at the detail work). Anyway, we took the test and headed back to the resort.
A few hours later our results came in and that is when, as they say, all hell broke loose. Marcus and the girls all had negative COVID tests. I, on the other hand, had a positive test.