For many years we have all wanted to visit Moo Baan Chang, the cradle of the elephant culture in Thailand, home to 200 elephants and their mahout families. It is located a long, 7 ½ hour drive northeast of Bangkok near the Thai/Cambodian border. The residents speak a mixture of Cambodian, Thai and several local dialects that no foreign linguist has yet to comprehend. Earlier this year, The Elephant Story Team and our friends from the Four Seasons Tented Camp in the Golden Triangle spent a weekend there. Those of us coming from Bangkok got the better deal as the drive from the Golden Triangle was a more tortuous 15 hours. When we arrived, we were greeted with flower garlands and coconuts.
Khun Prachuap and his wife Khun Lat were our hosts providing several bungalows for our use during our two-day elephant polo exhibition match. The bungalows surround a swimming pool where we spent our polo lunch breaks with great Thai food.
We had known Khun Pruachaup many years but never been to his home. As we mounted elephants to ride over to the local school soccer pitch, most of the mahout residents came out of their homes to greet us. We had known them in the north and south of Thailand in polo matches over the years. It was like coming home.
We were extremely impressed with the familial nature of the community and the economic enterprise of Khun Lat to develop this mini-resort in a very small village.