Taungoo - Elephants
Replies: 2 - Last Post: Mar 10, 2013 7:32 PM Last Post By: flf2011
Mar 8, 2013 9:14 PM
Taungoo - ElephantsAlthough Taungoo is just my second place in Myanmar I just want to give some information: I went there mainly to visit the elephant camp and I was anxious to find somebody to share, because alone for me would be beyond my budget - as I thought. In the Myanmar Beauty Guesthouse they did not have any other people interested, the two who had answered to my post here did not come - I guess it was beyond their budget even if we were to share the 230$ they quoted.
At breakfast in the guesthouse I had a chat with a nice French couple who had done the trip and they told me that Myanmar Beauty is not the only place to do the trip, but Motherhouse Hotel, some 200m from Myanmar Beauty in direction of town center also organizes these trips.
There I met Aung Zin Oo ( firstname.lastname@example.org), a very nice guide, speaks English, who asked me, if I wanted to go by car or by motorcycle. There was no choice for me because of my budget, so I agreed to motorcycle which was 90$ including meals, water, entrance fees, tip to the mahout, and it really was worthwhile. The elephant camp was just what I wanted to see, and being there alone really enabled me to have close contact to the mahouts and their foreman. A wonderful adventure. I was slightly feeling to reject the elephant ride at the end of the time there as being a tourist thing, but I did it and was rewarded. First, I really sat on the back of this giant and could feel its muscles work, because the seat they rigged for me was just a frame for a simple mat, preventing me from falling down, which otherwise could have happened because - second reward - the elephant climbed with me the 20 minutes steep path back to the place where the motorcycle had to be left!
I had thought this was jungle, so did not know whether to start my malaria prevention tablets, but I did not, just wore long sleeves, boots to the ankle and applied quite a bit of " jungle formula" repellent. Don't worry, this is not rainforest but at this time of the year a dry but beautiful forest, no mosquitos ( but perhaps for them I was reeking for miles, so maybe you should apply repellent).
Now to be honest, the trip on the motorbike was not without a bit of stress in the back, because instead of being near Taungoo, which I thought the trip took 3hours one way, with three stops for recreation, but the guide stopped whenever I wanted - on the way back also when the motorbike wanted, because there were few parts where even the first gear was not sufficient, so I walked a short distance, which in fact was greeted by my back. I am so glad, I did not know this before, because might be I had decided against the trip. But most of the time I forgot about my back, because the trip itself was overwhelming. Most of it goes on serpentines through beautiful mountainside , first part with just the newplanted teakwood trees, the second through still existing woods - in the morning in the fresh breeze with the wonderful smell (is there good smell? I am German, don' t know this) of the woods, and even when we went back around 2pm the wind from the speed was agreeable.
I have to add, I am 70, still fit but younger people maybe don't mind at all taking a ride like that. So, don' t miss this wonderful adventure.
Myanmar Beauty Guesthouse was a wonderful place to stay, quite romantic, incredible breakfast, most helpful staff and I paid 25$ for the nicest room top floor with an ample veranda facing the fields. Now I chose to sleep on this veranda which was nice and sufficiently cool at night, because the AC is more symbolic. But I would chose that room again.
Mar 9, 2013 8:33 PM
Mar 10, 2013 7:32 PM
Glad you enjoyed the elephant day trip and thanks for sharing the information regarding alternative options. When I was last there I think Myanmar Beauty trip was the only option but it was a lot cheaper than what you are quoting! (My Burma is becoming expensive these days!)
That would have been a trip and a half on the back of a motorbike - I found it pretty uncomfortable just sitting on the back deck of a pick-up.
Enjoy the rest of your trip. And think about going up to Pyin-Oo-Lwin for something a little different from the rest of Burma...
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