By Punam Verma
(NB: Music contains explicit lyrics)
Thailand, plus many other countries around the world attract tourists by offering them rides on elephants and teaching the animals tricks to entertain the public.
However, did you know that the majority of these elephants are brutally taken from their mothers at birth, forced to stand still for weeks whilst tied up all alone, until their young spirit within dies a slow death. Only then are they ready to be trained and programmed.
If you have ever seen an elephant draw a painting, you should know that to get them to do that, a nail is being scratched behind their ears in the shape of the painting, so their trunk moves in the same direction as the nail.
The Phuket elephant sanctuary has rescued elephants from all over Thailand to give them a life they deserve, one of freedom and dignity. After all, isn't that what all of us strive and fight for on this planet, so why would animals be any different to humans.
We visited the sanctuary and were greeted with such a warm and dedicated team of people, and dogs. Yes, there are also rescue dogs who live there who love hanging out with the elephants.
Once you arrive, you will watch a short video on how these elephants have been treated and rescued, and why it so important that we educate tourists and locals. You will then be given wellies to wear as the area can be quite muddy in places.
Then the trekking starts, which takes you on a two hour walk all across the sanctuary, where you will find a number of elephants just relaxing, bathing and playing.
At the end you get to feed the animals, and some of them can be quite fussy. One didn't like the watermelon I gave her, she only ate pineapples. And I thought I was fussy with fruit!
At the end of the trek we were given an amazing home cooked meal, and trust me when I say it was really delicious! Fresh and spicy, finished with the traditional sticky rice and mango dessert.
At the sanctuary you can also volunteer your time, and donate.
It's a beautiful way to spend several hours in Phuket and a great way to learn about how we all need to treat every living being on this planet with respect and kindness.