A Walk on the Wild Side in Kuala Lumpur
Since Matt and I are both huge animal lovers, we jumped on the chance to participate in an organized tour of Deerland Park and Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary while we were in KL. We aren’t normally “tour” people, usually preferring to see ourselves around town, but this one sounded interesting, so we went for it!
The day started with a two-hour van ride out of KL to Deerland Park. The main attraction at this park are, as the name suggest, deer. They were very sweet and gentle, and we were able to feed them, pet them and just interact with them for a while. I thought it was cute how they would jump for the food, not aggressively like a dog, but daintily like a cat would. So cute!
After the deer, we fed some birds and rabbits, but the highlight of the Deerland Park was when we got to hold a snake! At first we were afraid, but then when everyone else in our tour group did it, we didn’t want to be the only ones who didn’t do it, so we went for it! It was exhilarating, because it was just one of those things I didn’t ever think I would do, and afterwords it seemed so silly to be afraid. It was pretty awesome.
After Deerland Park, we drove somewhere to have lunch and then proceeded to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. This organization works to relocate elephants who live in areas that are being deforested to the sanctuary, and they use a team of in-house elephants to help with the physical transfer of the elephants. It’s very sweet, apparently the domestic elephants will offer comforting noises and touches to calm down the distraught wild elephants, often holding trunks as humans would hold hands. To make money for the sanctuary, they offer package tours that include time to feed, ride and even bathe in the river with the domestic elephants.
We had a blast feeding the elephants bananas we had bought from a nearby fruit stand. They were so sweet, playful and gentle. Elephants are incredible animals, it is beyond me how anyone could be cruel to such fantastic creatures! After feeding time, we saw a short presentation on all the different ways you can get on the elephant, and then we got to take a short ride on one. This part was slightly disappointing, as we assumed it would be more of a trek, but it was literally a one-minute ride around a track. It was still fun though.
After the elephant rides came the best part (for me!). They led one of the elephants into the river, and invited anyone to come in and bathe with him. Because it’s a Muslim country, they asked that people please not wear bikinis into the water, but since I was unprepared for this part of the day, that wasn’t a problem for me. Most people, including me, went in in their clothes! I was unsure at first if I wanted to do it, since I had no other clothes to wear, but after seeing some other people do it, decided I absolutely should! People took turns climbing onto the elephants back, and then everyone else would splash, to get you wet and clean the elephant. The elephant would sometimes spray people too. It was so amazing, and I am so happy I did it, even if it did mean sitting in a van in wet clothes for the next two hours. Luckily, Matt had a pair of basketball shorts in his backpack, so at least I didn’t have to wear my soaking wet yoga pants in the van.
We had such a great day interacting with all the animals, and I would definitely recommend the tour to others who are interested! For more information about the tour, visit the elephant sanctuary’s blog.