We went to visit an elephant camp in Koh Chang (Ban Kwan Chang Elephant Camp). The trip had two options - one hour and two hours. The two hours trip included longer trip on the elephant back in the jungle and taking a bath with them. We chose this option and it cost us 800 Baht per adult and a half for our older one, our youngest was free of charge. The price included pick ups from the hotel and back.
The place is a sanctuary so the money gained is helping them with the elephant preservation, so they claim.
This was our first (and probably last :-) ) time we rode an elephant. you get to sit in a seat placed on the elephant back while the "driver" sits on top of the elephant and guide it . It was quite alarming on the first descents as this amazing animal took it steps carefully and I was wondering what would happened if it tripped... Anyways, once we got used to it , it was fun.
The real joy was when we got to the bathing part. Since our kids didn't swim, we put a life jacket on them. You then ride the elephant as it enters the pool when you're on his back. It was an amazing experience to swim next to those large animals, having them splash water on you with their trunks, seeing their eyes look at you from a near distance.
On the way out we noticed large brown balls floating everywhere with many small fishes biting them. Well, I guess elephants have their needs, and they don't care that you swim beside them .. :-)
Outside, there was a place we could wash ourselves after this "bath" so it was cool. Going back to the camp, we bought a fruit basket for 50 Baht and fed the elephants. Again, not something you do everyday - putting sugarcane in an elephant trunk and see it crashes it when it enters his jaw. I even had the joy of getting some nasal spray on my hand when I pushed its trunk while he was insisting on getting more fruit:-)
BTW - while bathing we noticed that the one hour trip also go into the pool for a refreshment... They just don't swim with the animals.
We continued circling the reserve and came by a bridge which offered a spectacular view, and the park ranger guided us according to the map how to proceed with the drive inside the reserve. Eventually we reached the Roski Slap Waterfall, which is less impressive, but the road leading to it is beautiful.
From there we drove to Rastoke quarter in Slunj. We thought we’d be disappointed after the amazing Plitvička nature reserve, but when we arrived we were surprised to see tons of mighty waterfalls bursting from the houses and descending with great force to the river. The sun came out and we even saw a rainbow at one of the waterfalls. When we finished we sat down in a local café with water flowing around it, and listened to the symphony of the water. A great ending to a wonderful day.
The day after we took a minibus to the Elephant Park which was very close to Knysna. The park fee cost us 220 rand. We saw many elephants and we even had a chance to feed them, touch them and be right beside them!
Unlike the Amazon area, the low forest (Selva Baja) the climate in the forest is comfortable, and it never gets too hot. The San Martin region, whose capital is Moyobamba, is an endless heaven of mountains forested with green. In the neighborhood there are plenty of lakes and waterfalls, but to see them it's better to come with a group. Some traveling agencies won't always agree to take you alone for the regular price.
After descending from the mountain we ate a sandwich and drove to Mostnica Canyon – we walked for half an hour to the bridge and there we saw a lovely canyon, in it hiding an intense green colored river which fit together beautifully with the green vegetation. Near the parking spot, on a wide meadow in front of the snowy mountains, the cows were resting from the pasture.
So what do you have in Isabela? Little penguins, all kinds of odd birds, a lots of iguanas (turtles are for the weak), camera enthusiasts, seals, and a volcano named Sierra Negra with interesting landscaping around it - the abrupt change between rain forest and a desert is very impressive, and also the variety of volcanic rocks colors, which depends on the time of eruption. A lot of organized tours to Isabela are doing Sierra Negra on horses, but watch out - if the road is muddy, and untrained horses may fall and you with them. My personal experience with horses was horrible, and at the end of the trip I asked and received a refund on that part.
Morning, sun was shining and we drove toward Bodø but this time we didn't pay it a visit because we saw it in the past. So right before Bodø we turned to road RV17, considered one of the most beautiful roads in Norway. When we passed Saltstraumen we were able to see from the bridge, the tidal current forming. We were struck, not wanting to move trying to understand this amazing natural phenomena.
The first large powerful waterfall was Laksforsen Falls. This site can be seen from the coffee house balcony located in the place. Of course we indulged ourselves with coffee and delicious cheese cake.
Before we arrived to the waterfall I suddenly saw at the side of the road a herd of reindeers. We immediately parked the car so we wouldn't bother them nor interfere with traffic, and started following them. A moment later the herd became startled from an SUV coming too close to them, and decided to flee and cross the road. We immediately moved our car and got closer to them. In the herd there were 15 animals and it's the largest herd I'd ever seen free in nature, right before our eyes.
After that we drove to Fossmofossen, we paid an entrance fee of 80 krone since it included also the aquarium. We arrived 10 mins before closing, and they almost didn't allow us to enter. We asked only to shoot the waterfall so they agreed to let us in, free of charge....