Today easily was the best day I have had in Thailand thus far. This morning my mom and I went to The Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, here they house elephants that have been rescued from dire situations. They have a mixture of paid local staff and both long-term and short-term volunteers. They are an amazing non-profit organization that shelters and provides medical care for six elephants, many of which would not be alive today if it weren’t for Hutsadin. After doing some research about the organization my mom and I decided we wanted to visit. We purchased a basket of fruit a head of time and arrived expecting to merely meet with one of the volunteers, have them show us around briefly, feed an elephant and be done, however it was much more than that. We spent close to two hours on the property learning about the individual needs of each elephant, their likes and dislikes, what their favorite foods are, and how their lives have changed since arriving at Hutsadin. The staff was incredibly informed and genuine, it was very obvious that they have such a strong connection to these beauties, so much so that the elephants get so excited when they see one of the volunteers they immediately want to be pet by them. The mahouts are the individuals that are directly responsible for the elephant’s wellbeing; they shower them, feed them, give them their medication if needed, and endlessly love them. The elephants are in two places on the property, one is out in what they call, “The Tree’s,” which is a large open area where the elephants spend their days and nights freely roaming around and interacting with the other elephants. The other place you will find them is up towards the front in their individual stalls; here they are loosely chained by the foot to the stall, not to harm them, but to keep them from wandering off. Many of the elephants are extremely friendly and love being around people and food; they don’t know their own strength, they have accidently broken gates by trying to steal snacks! In the stalls is where people are able to interact with the elephants, pet them, feed them, hug and kiss them, and just be in awe of their presence. Two of the elephants spend a little more time their because they require more attention because they are older and have lost their teeth, they special food to be able to survive. These elephants are beyond loved and well cared for, as someone who is a big advocate for animal rights I was initially hesitant about visiting, but I was more than impressed with the operation that Hutsadin runs. They really care for these elephants as though they were their own children, so much so that they provide copious amounts of fruit for the elephants birthday (it’s their way of giving the elephant a birthday cake). I was beyond pleased with my experience, I hope to return again and they even mentioned that if I was interested I could start volunteering if I had the time. Over all this was such an amazing experience and I encourage anyone who is ever coming to Hua Hin to check them out, or feel free to make a donation, they certainly are more than worthy of our support.