I flew across the world to experience one of the most fascinating, beautiful, and unique places I have ever been. Myanmar is a dream!!  One of my most incredible and precious moments I experienced there was with Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp with Re-Plantation.  This is located just an hour outside of Kalaw deep within the mountain terrain.

I know there is a lot of controversy about how elephants (animals) are treated in the world, but after experiencing my time with Green Hill Valley and the elephants in their natural habitat, I truly believe that they take the best care of these free roaming and retired elephants.

We arrived just shy of 9am and were warmly greeted by the staff with delicious lime juice.  They say it takes away the dizziness from the swirly roads up to the sanctuary. Upon arrival, you get the opportunity to learn about the Mahouts, their environment, and special care taking. You get the chance to meet with the vets onsite, ask any questions or voice concerns that you might have.  I found this very interesting because it allowed me to see all the different medicines for the elephant, oils for their dry skin, jars of parasites that the elephants can easily catch as they are in the forest, and how they give a pedicure with their special tools.

My absolute favorite part.. naturally, was interacting with each of the elephants onsite. We spent a good portion just feeding them, taking all kinds of pictures, and examining how amazing and beautiful these creatures are.  We then got to take them to the spa and bathe them in the river.  We had the second eldest elephant to clean. She was one big mama at the ripe old age of 62.  We scrubbed her down, hugged her in the water, and I may have snuck in one too many kisses.  Lets just say we were both loving life more than anyone can truly imagine until you experience it for yourself.  This is an absolute must on your bucket list!

Green Valley Hill focus’s on giving these special mammals the best kind of help in a natural preserve habitat which involves re-plantation,  protecting the local ecology, and also the traditions of the local people.   They have multiple elephant care takers cutting up food all day such as pumpkin (their favorite) amongst other things.  They are fully aware of each elephants’ conditions and food allergies. There is no circus act entertainment, joy riding, or demonstrations involved in this program. These mammals are retired timber elephants who spent most of their lives lugging logs.

After spending about 3 hours with the elephants, you are treated with one of my favorite meals of the trip. LUNCH!! And boy was it amazing! Just when your day couldn’t get any better, it did.  They provide a most mouth watering fajita style lunch with a beverage.  Eat up because right after lunch you get another chance to go hang-out and feed the elephants.  After 3pm they let them roam the forest until the next morning. Then, they gather ’em all up to feed and clean again. It’s a neat and safe system they have provided for these captivating Mahouts.

At the end of the journey, your tour guide takes you to the nursery they have created for you to plant a tree. They educate you on the importance of reforestation.  They aim to protect the environment the people and elephants live in.  It needs to start somewhere and it just comes to show that they are really passionate about saving planet earth one step at a time.

Make sure you buy a poo elephant.  They make paper mache elephants out of elephant poop. Pretty amazing if you ask me, not to mention how adorable it is.  Haha yep! Poop is cute and elephants are the best!  While we are over here recycling plastic, they are over there recycling poop!

A special thank you to Nelson, our tour guide who was so incredibly nice and knowledgeable. And especially to Green Hill Valley for providing an incredible experience to see a program out their making a difference in preserving beauty for elephants and for their people to live in. Thank you!

xx Courtney

Tips:

  • Wear your swimsuit top over a tank top that can get wet. Green Hill will provide bottoms to get wet in when you go clean the elephants.
  • Wear sunscreen, they provide cool wooden hats to wear.
  • They provide lots of water to keep you hydrated.
  • Bring Gopro and camera, you have all day to play with Elephants.
  • They divide you up in small groups- we had 3 of us and it was perfect as you get personal, yeah personal time with the elephants 🙂
  • We stayed in Kalaw at the Nature Land 1 hotel (Highly recommended- $70 for 2 nights, CASH ONLY- accepted-US money or Kyat). We hired a taxi driver for $25 (35,000MMK) for the whole day to take us to the Green Hill Valley Sanctuary it was approximately 45 min drive. However, Green Hill does provide shuttle service to and from hotel for about $45,000MMK

Questions and bookings click here: Green Hill Valley!

 Shop my shirt- “Animals are my FRIENDS”  from Clothing by Owl!