Day 6: Let’s Ride an Elephant

2/20/15, Friday

More breakfast buffet in the morning!

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Today we headed to the Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo.  We got there so early that we were probably the second ones in.  Because of this, we basically had VIP treatment for the first hour or so of our day there.  By that, I mean we had the park to ourselves.  This zoo was cool because they had elephants in the middle of the park where you could buy bananas or sugar cane to feed them.  And so we did.

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It’s a little scary in the sense that the only thing separating you from these elephants is a waist high wooden fence.  Elephants are smart.  Some of them wouldn’t start chewing until there mouth was full of goodies; since they knew you would keep handing food to them.  There was a nearby sink to rinse your hands off after touching the elephants.  Some elephants knew how to turn it on and drink from it.  These animal feeding posts were common throughout the park.  The bananas could also be fed to some monkeys in cages.  There were also some fish ponds to where you could cast out handfuls of fish food.

The clock struck 10am and that was when tickets for elephant rides were open for sale.  So we hopped on it.

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It was my first time riding an elephant, and it was a pretty cool experience.  Sitting on it was a little bit more unstable than I had imagined.  It’s funny how you ‘tip’ the elephant.  It’ll grab money from your hand and give it to the handler.

After we were done with that, we stopped by the cafeteria for a snack / small lunch.  Only my sister and I ate, while everyone else just had a bag of chips.  More cafeteria food, yum!

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There was also a vendor for crocodile soup, but he wasn’t open at the time.

This zoo also had shows like the previous one we visited.  Samphran featured a magic show, elephant show and crocodile show.  We caught most of the magic show.  It was mainly meant to entertain kids as all the tricks were just magic trick shop items.  No real sleight of hand or illusions.

The elephant show was pretty entertaining and arguably better than the one at the tiger zoo.  It was more focused on the history of how Thailand discovered and used elephants.  Some of it was fun (elephants playing soccer!) and another involved cannons and fire to reenact war times.

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The crocodile show had an English commentator so that helped with the shtick.  It was the same material again except a lot of time was spent asking for tips from the audience.  The funniest portion came from the commentator.  Every time the handler put his hand or head inside the crocodiles jaws, the commentator would call him “Mr. Hand-Inside-The-Crocodile”.

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After the shows, there wasn’t too much else to do, so we went to lunch (2nd lunch for my sister and me).  We went to a little restaurant by a river filled with floating plants.  More seafood!

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Once we finished up, we headed to The Platinum Fashion Mall.  If you could take 4-5 night market’s worth of vendors and pile them into a mall space, that’s what this place was.  It was pretty cool, albeit a little confusing to navigate.  We got lost a couple times.

Thailand seems to have a lot of little start-up brands.  Although all the clothing lines are somewhat similar, they all have a unique name, logo and touch to it.  Presumably, they start on the streets and eventually work their way into a Mall such as this, where they could be better recognized.  They make it big once they get a real storefront or become a chain.  I ended buying a few button-ups from this place.

Once more, we headed back to the Central World by our hotel to find a place for dinner.  We settled on a place called Kalpapruek, a place that my uncle frequents during his business trips.  It was kind of like a Thai version of a Cheesecake Factory; higher end familiar dishes with some variety.

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We walked around a bit afterwards because the night was still young.  We found a giant Groot.

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I took another break from running since I saw the pattern I was following.  By nightfall, the Thai dating service number increased to 36.  It didn’t increment till dinner time though, so we were beginning to think it was disappearing.

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