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Letters from Laos: Luang Prabang, a magical fairy tale about the land of 1000 elephants…

My dear travellers, Happy New Year! I wish you much health, happiness, love and of course plenty of new adventures to remember! Life is one album that we ourselves fill with images that marked our existence. Today I am happy because this is my first post in the New Year and we continue our adventure in Laos, the smallest country in Southeast Asia.

In previous blog posts, you have had the opportunity to get to know the capital of Laos – Vientiane and to learn more about the largest Buddhist religious holiday, That Luang Festival.

Today I will take you to Luang Prabang, which many people call as the “land of 1000 elephants”. It is a city located in the mountainous north of Laos, which is also the capital of the Luang Prabang province.

If you are planning to visit Luang Prabang, it is best to use plane, in which case you will have a shorter flight of less than an hour from Vientiane. This trip was amazing and exciting, and it would not have been possible without the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of Lao which I thank on this occasion for the kind invitation.

As I am a big animal lover, I have always had the desire to touch an elephant and see it live in its natural habitat. That is my wish which I shared with the team from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of Lao.

They have made every effort to fulfill my wish, and for that I am truly grateful to them for fulfilling one great wish for one child trapped in an adult’s body!

After a short drive, we came to Chateau Orientale a small family-run hotel-resort that has its own little paradise – a “Elephant Shelter” that currently houses two elephants. I didn’t know that until the lunch. They mentioned some tour where we will visit the local waterfalls. Just like that after the luch, I got ready. I wasn’t alone, one iconic tourism legend also went with us – Mr. Klaus Gengenbach, the man who connected the Middle East with Germany 40 years ago when he introduced the first flights to Dubai.

I had heard about his work in Germany after working with many local tourism organizations, so his name was featured in their brochures, but I didn’t get a chance to get to know him personally.

I have to be honest so at first I didn’t know who I was having the privilege of talking to because I was a little tired so my observation skills for details and facts was quite low that afternoon… The only thing I noticed was that a person from the Ministry in talking to Mr. Gengenbach mentioned a a strange word repeatedly – Sang (which in Lao means elephant).

At first I thought it was the name of one of the local waterfalls, until the moment when we were joined by a younger guy who introduced himself as a local guide who had some unusual whistle with him.

Suddenly, we stopped in one field and the “local guide” started calling someone, since that didn’t work, he used his whistle. Not a minute passed, I heard a familiar sound. A representative from the ministry noticed that I had become incredibly excited and he just said, “Sang is coming now!”

Then I finally figured out the meaning of the word Sang! The elephants living in this park as part of the Chateau Orientale resort have been rescued and now this is their new home. They are taken care of by two trainers and these elephants are not used to transport tourists. They are protected and you can enjoy with them, feed and have an interesting bath time with them, after which they return to their paradise, which is the only acceptable solution.

Elephants are indeed noble and highly intelligent and sentient animals that humans unfortunately exterminate because of ivory (tusks) and are used in captivity as a fun item, which is not at all commendable.

Elephants are the largest terrestrial mammals in the world. At birth, the cub can weigh up to 100 kg. The gestation period for an elephant female is between 20 and 22 months, which is also the longest gestation period for all mammals on the planet. Elephants can live for more than 70 years.

Today, there are only three other types of elephants species in the world:

     – African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
     – African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis)
     – Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)

I’m sure that you maybe wonder why these trainers are here? Their role is to help the elephant to adapt to their new environment and help them live in harmony with their natural environment. Due to the previous experiences of this couple, they are accustomed to living with people and they are not able to live with their herd in nature.

There is a great possibility of rejecting from the herd as it was necessary to find the ideal solution for these two elephants.

During my visit to this unusual elephant shelter, I had the opportunity to learn some new facts about these extraordinary beings. By their nature, they are very headstrong, can be dangerous to humans, but in wildlife they never attack the first, only in self-defense.

When a baby elephant is born or taken captive, they lose that wilderness call over time, and some individuals will never be able to return to the wild, especially if they were raised in captivity because they did not have an adequate model to model their wildlife.

Because they are dependent on the goodwill of people, so many orphanages have been opened in many places in the world for elephants, their only hope of survival. At this shelter, a small paradise within the Chateau Oriental Resort, trainers strive every day to allow this pair of elephants to live beautifully and comfortably.

Have you ever wondered how much this mammal can eat daily? Elephants eat about 150 kg of grass, twigs, tree bark, carrots and fruits EVERY DAY. In order to eat so much food, he has to spend three quarters of his time eating. Now imagine that you live in a place where there are no abundant fruits every day, that means someone has to come and give you a hand of help.

Because it is vital to keep this couple in a resort, they strive to provide 70 to 100 kg of fruit each day with the help of local farmers who, at extremely low prices and food donations, help this resort survive.

That’s really nice on their part, and the more commendable thing is that the whole local community is working hard to maintain this little paradise by collecting donations for daily living and if ever needed healing for these lovely creatures.

The male was more open for communication, while the female needed some time to be free and socialize with us. They are an extremely caring couple and each of them has a difficult story and they just met at this shelter and loved it. It is the female who takes the lead, she can attack the male and leave, but after a few minutes she looks for him in the park.

On one occasion, when they quarreled, they moved the male to a nearby village for two days, the female tried to find the male in park, after she came to the hotel to show concern for her partner and wait literally 24 hours as a kind of quiet protest to return her partner. The owners and people working at the resort couldn’t believe how the female reacted when she spotted the male and they went across the river to their home…

I spent the most beautiful 3 hours with these animals and our time was so much fun, because the two of them were just in the mood for socializing. Someone had to take a break too! Of course, this is a joke, the truth is that the female wanted to dry because she was extremely angry with the male who seemed to be overdoing the refreshment in the river.

When you do not want to give all the bananas one at a time you get a scoop on your head which can be shown in the picture above. Elephants are fascinating animals and very intelligent just like humans have their virtues and disadvantages, and even those moments when they make some funny situations like this in the photo above. 😉

I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet people like the owners of Chateau Orientale Resort, their employees and the people who help them run the hotel smoothly.

Somehow I found the strength to say goodbye to the elephants, so it was the time to really see some local waterfalls. In Laos, nature is divine and for me this was a totally new lifetime experience.

With the help of the Chateau Orientale hotel-resort, which in addition to the accommodation service, as a tour operator, successfully organizes numerous half-day and full-day tours where you can discover the charms of Luang Prabang area and enjoy the beauty of nature.

They have succeeded in an unusual and unique way of proving to me that their motto is really true, which is: “Time (here) does not exist!”. Indeed in Luang Prabang you feel like time has stopped and everything is dedicated to nature.

Man is here as a observer who came to enjoy the beauty and to use the modern technologies to record and share it with his family, friends and the rest of the world, of course, if he uses social networks.

During my half-day tour, I had the opportunity to feel the peace and serenity next to the Tad Sae Waterfalls located along the tributary of the Nam Khan River in Luang Prabang Province. They are located about 18 kilometers southeast of Luang Prabang and about 2 kilometers from Bak En village.

The day was fulfilling and it was time for Mr.M to return to the hotel to rest and sum up his impressions. I have to admit, that day was my most exciting day in 2019 because I had the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream. It may seem ridiculous and childish to some, but when your childhood dream is fulfilled you have the impression that the whole world is yours!

I used my last atoms of strength to get a little refreshment and nap, I tried to fall asleep, but it didn’t work, so I decided it was better to edit the photos. I’m one of those people who thinks that the sooner you start working, the sooner you finish, and the more time you will have for rest and fun.

The next morning, I woke up because of the strange sounds of “parrot fight” that were in the resort of the main mascots. Looks like someone ate more mangoes and papayas than followed, it was an interesting brawl…

Like every morning, you have to get up and get yourself resfreshed, but this view is definitely different from the one I have the opportunity to see in Belgrade and Berlin… There are no tall buildings and office skyscrapers, just pure nature and wild life.

Before breakfast, I decided to visit the resort and share with you what a distant paradise on earth looks like in Southeast Asia. I think that after these photos you will want to come to Luang Prabang and feel the untouched nature of Asia and visit the elephants.

Welcome to Chateau Orientale, a natural temple where you can rest your body, soul and all your senses. In the picturesque setting beside the exquisite riverfront locations, you can see in the ancient oriental oasis in the heart of the Lao Jungle.

Take the journey of our ancestors to the Middle and Far East, enjoying a unique experience. Allow your senses to flow in the pleasure that makes the atmosphere this tropical paradise special. Chateau Orientale is a place where time does’t exist…

Chateau Orientale is a mini-resort with only 4 accommodation units and uses this fact to provide the best possible personalized service to make every stay in this quaint paradise an unforgettable lifetime experience that you will remember.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end post from special series of post from my Lao adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism of Lao DPR and Qatar Airways for this incredible adventure and Chateau Orientale family run hotel-resort for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home. Also I would like to say huge thank you for this great adventure.

How do you like this story about Luang Prabang, the land of 1000 Elephants? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Laos? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story from Laos and we will continue our adventure in Luang Prabang and we will see what beautiful places are hidden in this wonderful part of Laos.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of PDR Lao and Qatar Airways airline company. I would like to say thank you to Chateau Orientale hotel-resort for having me. This trip was an extraordinary experience for me!

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