I Spent the Best Day of My Life In A Burmese Elephant Retirement Home

Often when you’re traveling you just stumble upon things, things that end up changing your life. I was in the hill station of Kalaw in Myanmar when I looked at the itinerary thatJacada Travel had printed for me and saw “Elephant Sanctuary.” This activity was not on the original document, and for some reason I was confused.

“There are elephants in Myanmar?” I asked my driver.

“Yes. Many,” he said. “The Asian elephant. They are used for the logging industry.”

“Oh, riiiight,” I said, feeling dumb. After all, I’d been looking into checking out a place where you could work with elephants in Thailand — which is right next door.

WATCH: Spend the Best Day of Your Life in an Elephant Retirement Home

Just helping to scratch those hard to reach spots. (Photo: Andrew Rothschild)

“You still want to go?” my driver asked, eyeing me in the mirror.

“Hell, yes,” I said.

Related: Welcome to Myanmar’s Empty Capital City, President Obama!

Let me just say I love elephants. If I could have one as a pet, I would. We’d totally be best friends and go everywhere together, and in my fantasy land I wouldn’t even have to clean up its poop. Because my magical elephant wouldn’t poop and somehow would only be a foot high and a foot and a half long so he could fit into my New York City apartment … or in a carry-on bag.

But as much as I love elephants and have seen them in the wild, I’ve never actually been close enough to touch one. Because they are wild, and you normally should not touch them. 


When I say I loves me some elephants I means it. (Photo: Andrew Rothschild)

So we rolled on up to the Green Hill Valley elephant sanctuary, and my life changed.

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