After arriving in Colombo at like 8 in the morning I didn’t want to waste time there, and went straight to Kandy. But not without stopping somewhere in the middle to check out the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a must-do according to several travel guides! So f***ed up and sweaty as I was from my 12 hour trip I hopped on a train and arrived at Rambukkana like 2 hours later, where a Tuk-Tuk took me to see the grey, trunky giants. The highlight of the – not entirely cheap visit there ($ 15) – was to see the herd take a bath in the river.
After paying the Tuk-Tuk driver, I went to the entrance and first thing that caught my eye was a sign saying: TODAY NO BATHING! Well, bollocks… They didn’t offer a discount and when I asked if I can store my bagpack they wanted to charge me for that too, what tempted me to just leave again, but you know… since I made it there it would have been stupid not to go.
Never have I been sweating more than in this moment, while standing there with my whole luggage (big backpack, small bagpack, camera bag, handbag) staring at those elephants and some men with spikey sticks to heroically protect the visitors in case an elephant freaks out or steps over the rock border. They were curious and very cute, especiall the babies, but I don’t know why travel guides support tourists to go there. I have doubts the animals are always treated appropriately – although they have a wide terrain some of them had chains between their legs and get chained at nighttime.
Anyway, it wasn’t too bad – I have never gotten as close to an elephant before, never touched one before or got my ass “slapped” with a trunk. So I guess it was still worth it, but see for yourself!