Water, Elephants & another amazing temple

Ally

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PCX - with custom valve caps
The route 11,1,1035,120,118,121

Round trip 350km

Rode down the 11 towards Lampang stopped for a coffee & cake at a new place for me. Looked nice, the cakes looked tasty and I facied something sweet with a black coffee. Disappointment - cheesecake made with sponge cake is just the pits! Sorry but 1/10. Weirdly though, the music playing as I entered the place was Sheep may safely graze (Cantata) and with a view outthe back looking at 3 sheep, I was feeling the place a bit quirky.
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More about this item later - It's a Fender Extender !
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Next, further on down the 11, I called in to one of my favourite places.

If you do tourist things here in Thailand, 9 times out of 10 you will see an Elephant involved in the tourism pageant, displayed in publications or tuktuk bill boards. Anyone that knows me will know all too well that I detest animal tourism.

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At this location at the side of the 11 before Hang Chat is this growing facade erected by the elephant conservation centre. It's actually a government sponsored tourist attraction, it makes money hand over fist with shows & tourist/mahout training courses. Elephant Conservation? Nope just abusing them for tourism.

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However, at the same location, almost hidden from view by the increasing volume of signage, is FRIENDS OF ASIAN ELEPHANTS (FAE) the worlds first hospital for elephants that was set up in 1993 by Soraida Salwala.

I like to pop in here now & again to walk quietly between each of the Elephants being cared for and then put some money in the donation box.

FAE does not receive govenment funds, it does not do sideshows or elephant rides to raise money, the organisation respects Elephants and amongst other things, it gives nursing mothers a healthy place to have their young ones before being returned to the wild and treats many land mine victims.

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Lampang on route 1 going north is a bit chewed up with road works but after I turned onto the 1035 with little traffic is a pleasure to ride. I stopped at the orbitor's office for a loo break, answered all the usual questions about price, size, speed & where I come from but the crowd were all merry after a morning party & full of smiles.

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At Koi Lom Reservoir I checked the water level (a favourite of Colin's) grabbed a couple of pics and then put a GeoCache behind a rock for any caching addict to go & find!

I took lunch at a popular road side eatery (popular as there were 7 people in the cooking queue before me but it was well worth the wait)

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Then north on the 1035 again and oh dear what a complete mess. For about 6 km there is a stretch of loose gravel, to make it worse, there are no signs of anyone actually working on it!

The rest of the 1035 is as good, if not better than the lower part. The bends & fast stretches just keep coming. There was rain in the distance but none came my way. At Wang Nuea I refuelled, cooled off with something from the freezer and headed towards Mae Kachan on the 120.

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Along the way I stopped at the massive temple complex on the right side overlooking the valley. This temple is called Wiang Kalong N19.20423 E99.54047 with extensive development going on at the rear with a large building in the centre of a wide open space surrounded by loads of kuti's.

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The model landscape / plan shows the layout of the place that is being added to the rear.

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This I believe represents the entire hill side - more for my next trip ;)

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After a walk around the amazing structures at this temple, I headed for Coffee View on the 118 for a coffee & bun & today the special was a cinnamon pastry.

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Stuffed & very happy with a great days ride.

Ally
 

jb2112

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That is a great loop! Have you tried to get a top speed out of BB?

I need to visit the oliphants soon.

Thanks for the post and the wonderful photos.
 

Ally

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Chiang Mai
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PCX - with custom valve caps
Jb, I am happy to say that I haven't found the max yet, probably never will but I am also happy to know that purring along at 150 BB still has more to give if I asked for it.

Get down to FAE & look in their eyes, it's very heart warming.

Ally
 

Captain_Slash

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T

The water level is quite low Ally, usually its pretty much full unless I am thinking of the wrong reservoir, this is the one we visited before I think.

How many kms on BB now?
 

Ally

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Feb 23, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai
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PCX - with custom valve caps
Hi Colin, yes the water level is lower than I have seen it & yes you were there with me March 2009 [my ride report here]

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2,600 km's now, a fraction of what you would have on your bike in 3 months ;)

Ally
 

Ally

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Location
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PCX - with custom valve caps
Nice shots Ally -- What the hell is that? a kiln?
I think it might be a stupa or something similar. In the model plan view there are several of them and they are placed in almost symbolic positions in respect of the surrounding area/buildings.

The place was ringing with chanting from Monks & Mae Chii (nuns) and from the shoe counts outside several of the buildings, which by the way are the temples but look just like brick houses, I would say +100 people but no one around to talk to & ask the questions that were popping out of my head!

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MartinThai

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'97 H-D Electra Glide, '91 H-D FXRS, '96 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin
Hi Ally, could you please elaborate on "FAE does not receive govenment funds, it does not do sideshows or elephant rides to raise money, the organisation respects Elephants and amongst other things, it gives nursing mothers a healthy place to have their young ones before being returned to the wild and treats many land mine victims"...... do they actually claim to do this? I'm just baffled....... wild elephants have their young in the wild! I'm kind of an elephant nut, having spent many years working with them (I was a guest at the 1988 Asian Elephant Specialist Group/World Wildlife Fund Asian Elephant symposium in Chiang Mai)..... and this just defies logic! Is it a FAE claim? Cheers.
 

Lone Rider

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Nice shots Ally -- What the hell is that? a kiln?
Yes, it is a kiln used to make ceramics most probably celadon at least that is what they were used for when I worked in Chiangmai and Lamphun some 35 years ago. Locally they are often called dragon kilns as the chimney is spewing fire when the kiln is at its maximum temperature (around 1250 degrees celcius). It was a spectacular sight when the kilns were being fired in the night time and when wood was thrown in (they were all wood fired kilns) the wood would almost explode with the flames shooting out of the very short chimney.
 

Ally

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Chiang Mai
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PCX - with custom valve caps
Hey Auke, thanks for straigtening that out, fascinating.

Martin, which bit of that statement in red would you like me to clafify for you?

Thanks

Ally
 

2wheels

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Well done Ally; nice pics and lots of information. :DD
That extender does look 'the bees knees'.
 

MartinThai

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'97 H-D Electra Glide, '91 H-D FXRS, '96 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin
Sorry Ally...... the bit about being "returned" to the wild. Not the bit about it being a healthy place! You cannot take wild elephants out of the wild to let them have their calf in the sanctuary of the FAE compound and then return them to the wild, and you cannot let domesticated elephants loose in the wild with a newborn calf. What is it the FAE are claiming please?

Love your thread and pics, just this hefferlump point that threw me.

Apart from the fender extender and screen, is your Versys standard? I also like to purr along and 150 is plentiful for this old codger! Good looking bike and probably perfect for the tarmac of Northern Thailand?
 

Ally

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Location
Chiang Mai
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PCX - with custom valve caps
Sorry Ally...... the bit about being "returned" to the wild. Not the bit about it being a healthy place! You cannot take wild elephants out of the wild to let them have their calf in the sanctuary of the FAE compound and then return them to the wild, and you cannot let domesticated elephants loose in the wild with a newborn calf. What is it the FAE are claiming please?

Love your thread and pics, just this hefferlump point that threw me.

Apart from the fender extender and screen, is your Versys standard? I also like to purr along and 150 is plentiful for this old codger! Good looking bike and probably perfect for the tarmac of Northern Thailand?
I believe I fully appreciate what you are suggesting about this issue, if you have a need to know more about FAE operating process then perhaps you contact them directly. The link to their site is in the original post.

Perhaps I have recalled the information available at the offices in Hang Chat that refer to pregnant mothers being brought to the facility from a forest environment where the Elephant worked as a log hauler yet needed to give birth and as the people treasured their Elephant 'work horse' so much, they campaigned to have the baby born in a decent environment. The risk of babies being killed by their mothers who themselves are in captivity is high (the mother doesn't want the baby to be born into a life of enslavement - want to know more ? Listen to Kh Lek Chalert either in person, on youtube or here... ), so the people involved are concerned at preservation of life & of course, their livelihood.

Yes that baby was returned with it's mother when both were fit & well enough.

Using Elephants in the logging industry (illegal here in Thailand but Elephants do come to the centre from next door) is to many humane people, completely unacceptable. That environment is not "wild" but it certainly is not a circus ring or sideshow camp that now is the captive home for the majority of Elephants currently in Thailand.

Regarding BB, mechanically I have made no changes to the bike, I have simply added the screen, crashbars, hand guards, bar riser, radiator guard, rear tyre hugger & the fender extender.

Yes I find it ideal for me on the roads here, I have no intention of deliberately taking the bike off road, although some of the once decent stretches of tarmac can at times seem like a 4x4 track.

Thanks for your interest in my thread.

Ally
 

MartinThai

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Ah, now becomes clear...... as you say the cow worked in a logging environment and she wasn't wild, she wasn't in the wild and wouldn't have been returned to the wild..... you were describing a domestic situation, to which I totally agree...... if the mahout and his family can survive the time being without their means of financial support whilst she gives birth it's a nice idea for her to be stabled in a sanctuary whilst birthing. However, most cannot afford this luxury and will have the cow give birth whilst in the logging camp....... as they have done since man first domesticated an elephant.

Domesticated elephants/elephants in captivity do not kill their calves because they don't want them entering a life of enslavement...... they kill them because more often than not they are in pain, confused, scared and don't have the support from experienced matriarch's in the wild would give them..... elephants are incredibly social and they pick up everything they will need reference birthing and weaning from more experienced cows within the family unit. I am not saying Khun Lek is wrong (I have exchanged correspondence with her from years ago) but I am saying it is a mistake to listen to peoples anthropomorphic views on animal management who have never worked in the business. Lek is a romantic, albeit an extremely well meaning and experienced one who does a tremendous amount of good but I am sure that will be a line she uses for the tree huggers to gain sympathy and baht to help her sanctuary continue. But domestic elephants deciding marticide is the best option? Come on.

There is nothing wrong with domesticated elephants being worked, as long as they are humanely cared for. I am absolutely totally against elephant circus shows and would much rather see domesticated elephants being used to inform and educate..... to show how they have been used down the centuries in domestic work as we've used horses and dogs. Thailand has precious little funds to conserve elephants in the wild and nothing for out of work domesticated elephants. I would love to hear an answer to the problem Thailand has with maybe thousands of unemployed domestic elephants from folk who would like to see good honest work stopped along with the circus type shows.

By the way, logging is not illegal here (only in protected areas, and of course all Teak logging) and Princess Galyani's National Elephant Institute does amazing work: Thai Elephant Conservation Center - Conservation - National Elephant Institute

Great discussion, I could go on and on...... worked with these wonderful beasts for 15 years and they are what originally brought me to Thailand in '88.

Versys...... hmmm, maybe have to have a good think about that one...... I feel a new toy coming on! :p

Cheers.
 

Ally

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Chiang Mai
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PCX - with custom valve caps
Martin, you have your own perspective that you are entitled to in respect of what Lek does and also what other organisations apparently do for the good of Elephants.

Interestingly, there are people that will read this thread who may perceive you to be totally correct, authoritative and perhaps representational of a common view.

Working of any animal, cared for or not is unacceptable to me. Posing a question about what should happen to the unemployed elephants in the same response as commenting on Lek Chalert in a derogatory manner says it all.

By all means make a statement that you are in favour of Elephant Tourism and promote a tourist attraction that is supported by govenment funds but please do not expect me to impressed by your position on this subject.

Thanks for your opinion.


Ally
 

MartinThai

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'97 H-D Electra Glide, '91 H-D FXRS, '96 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin
Martin, you have your own perspective that you are entitled to in respect of what Lek does and also what other organisations apparently do for the good of Elephants.

Interestingly, there are people that will read this thread who may perceive you to be totally correct, authoritative and perhaps representational of a common view.

Working of any animal, cared for or not is unacceptable to me. Posing a question about what should happen to the unemployed elephants in the same response as commenting on Lek Chalert in a derogatory manner says it all.

By all means make a statement that you are in favour of Elephant Tourism and promote a tourist attraction that is supported by govenment funds but please do not expect me to impressed by your position on this subject.

Thanks for your opinion.


Ally
Ally, you are mis-quoting me and totally misunderstand me. I did not comment on Lek Chalert in a derogatory manner whatsoever and I am not in favour of Elephant tourism. It was you I was saying had an anthropomorphic attitude toward animal management, not a Thai lady I have a lot of respect and regard for. However, I can see I will not have a rational conversation with you so will exit this thread.
Have a great day and thanks again for some terrific photos.
 

2wheels

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anthropomorphic |ˌanTHrəpəˈmôrfik|adjectiverelating to or characterized by anthropomorphism.• having human characteristics: anthropomorphic bears and monkeys.

I'm no authority on this topic and have spent no time with these magnificent creatures but it seems to me that many animals, including elephants, do have human characteristics.
Like us, they feel pain and they feel affection.
That's all I need to know.

I also know that Ally has spent years caring for animals.
Actually, I believe each of you, although having different ways of expressing it, possess a love and respect for the creatures we share this planet with.
And that's good enough for me.

Ride on.
 
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