Balinese Adventure Part 19
Michael Taylor's Balinese Adventure has ended in real time, but it continues in Cyberspace. Today he reminisces about the Elephant Safari Park Lodge in Taro, Bali, where he gets up close and personal with pachyderms.
Every resort hotel needs a USP, or unique selling point, and the Elephant Safari Lodge at Taro, Bali, has about as unique a selling point as you're going to find anywhere on earth.
I knew that the lodge was attached to an elephant sanctuary, so I was expecting to see elephants. But I didn't know that I was going to get to ride an elephant to dinner. Or that I was going to get to give an elephant a shower.
Or that I was going to get to take a bath with an elephant!
A trek through the jungle? Well, I have to admit. I was kind of expecting that. Nonetheless, when it happened, I found it an exhilarating experience!
I can't explain the pure thrill of hearing that knock on my front door, opening it, and seeing a mahout straddled atop an elephant out there waiting for me.
So that explains the height of the front porch – the exact same height of an elephant's back! The rail, as it turns out, was actually a gate.
I was told to put one foot squarely on the elephant's back and then fall backwards. I was a bit hesitant. I imagined myself tumbling to the ground off the side (or back) of the elephant, but it didn't happen.
The next thing I knew, we were trundling along the tropically landscaped paths of the lodge, through the open spaces of the sanctuary, and to a 'depot' of sorts, where I disembarked atop a platform that was the same height as that of my front porch.
I thanked my mahout and patted the elephant on its back. It turned its head, looked at me, and extended its trunk on to the platform so that I could pet it.
As they rode off, they paused briefly to wave, 'Goodbye!' I captured the moment on my camera. And I'm not sure which one looked happier, the mahout or the elephant.
This was followed by an a very entertaining elephant talent show and dinner under the stars.
If I had to name my 10 most memorable life experiences, this would have to be one of them. I spent 30 days in Bali, and of those 30 days, the 2 days I think of most often are the 2 days I spent at the Elephant Sarfari Park Lodge.
Elephant Safari Park Lodge, Taro, Bali, Jalan Bypass, Ngurah Raid, Pesanggaran, Bali, Indonesia. Telephone: +62 (0) 361 721 480.