Elephant time in Sri Lanka: Come along for the ride

Climb up on top of your very own elephant and come along for a ride. Ahhh….a typical day in the life as a tourist in Sri Lanka.

After negotiating with a half dozen or so different providers (apparently bookings were high for that day) we finally were up on top of our very own pachyderm for an hour ride through the village and the marshlands behind it.


Not surprisingly there was an enterprising local hanging out on the path selling bags of small bananas to feed to the elephants. Incredible markup on the prices, but that’s what you get for being in the right place at the right time. And having the elephant take the banana out of my hand with its trunk was simply awesome.


We made it through the tour with only a small bit of traffic on the route, passing three or four other groups essentially doing the same route we did.


One of the main differences on our ride, however, was that we were not on a platform on the elephant. Out driver insisted that we ride directly on the animal’s back to get the full experience and there is no doubt in my mind that it was a very different experience. The feel of the shoulders and back undulating under us as we lumbered through the walk was most definitely interesting.


This was a very different experience from that at the bath time in Kerala. That offered us the opportunity to get up close to the animals and to watch them but not to actually ride them around. Getting to feel the texture of their skin and the hot breath coming out of the trunk as it exhaled on me while also jonesing for bananas was quite a bit of fun.


And then the hour was up, we headed back to the "shop" and climbed down off the beast. A quick hug of its trunk (still looking for bananas, I might add) and then we were back in the car and on the road again, heading off to our next awesome adventure.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Brilliant! I have really enjoyed reading these trip reports about Kerela and Sri Lanka!

  2. Looks exciting! Hope you had a great time!
    This post is a fresh feeling away from the repeative info about promos and credit cards that other bloggers keep posting about. 🙂
    How many times does a person need to hear about amex or chase cards? Lol

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