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Riding elephants after hip replacement

Southampton
Level Contributor
40 posts
9 reviews
Riding elephants after hip replacement

I know there is a lot of debate surrounding the elephant camps in Thailand but it is something that I am keen to do. However I have some concerns about the riding aspect as I have had a hip replacement - by the time we go I will be 18 months post-op.

Has anyone who has had a hip replacement managed to do this without any problems? Is there an option of walking/riding behind on the jungle trek part of the day? I don' t want to miss out on the bathing. Or Can I share an elephant with my husband so he does the riding?

I have emailed Patara but only got a generic reply that didn't address the question.

Thank you.

Ps want to bare back ride NOT on seat.

Vancouver
Level Contributor
3,933 posts
20 reviews
1. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

Have you asked your surgeon about this? Not that he would know about elephants but might give you some advice on how much you could stress that joint wthout doing yourself some harm...

I haven't ridden an elephant but would think that if you rode one that had the bench seat, it would be okay..... but if you rode the elephant bareback, that might be very uncomfortable for you after awhile... and could cause problems with your hip replacement.

Take a look at some youtubes and watch how the people are riding the elephants - bareback looks like your legs are spread very wide apart and that might hurt your hip. Your surgeon is probably the best one to ask about this... Just my opinion...

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
45,458 posts
107 reviews
2. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

Hi Karen

I had a hip replacement 2 years this coming August and whilst I haven't been on an elephant trek since then, personally I would feel comfortable on one with the seat but not bareback. However, none of the growing number of camps in Khao Lak do this. Patana located just off Poseidon Beach certainly has seats but I'm sure like any of the others you would be able to walk with the Ellie rather than on it. We've been on the Sairung Elephant Camp, trek twice and prefer it because it is a flat ride through a rubber plantation to a waterfall with beautiful mountain scenery in the background. We were secured on the seat with a seat belt which was a good job as our Ellie suddenly decided to try and go "off piste" into a small lake at the side of the track nearly propelling us off its back. That is a long way to fall and another reason I wouldn't go bareback. They certainly allow people to walk the Ellies and act as temporary mahouts. The camp is located north of the Le Meridien about 25 minutes from Khao Lak Centre. Local taxi drivers will take you there if you don't want to book a tour but it is advisable to book in advance locally as it is very popular. However, there is no bathing with the Ellie's on this one - except if the Ellie decides to take you with it!

Vancouver
Level Contributor
3,933 posts
20 reviews
3. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

Great info, Arandora. That must have been a scary moment when your elephant bolted! Glad you were belted in.... jeepers!

Pattaya, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Pattaya, Ho Chi Minh City
Level Contributor
7,790 posts
58 reviews
4. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

Prepare for an ar*e ache after your ride. Very uncomfy. :S

UK
Level Contributor
736 posts
10 reviews
5. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

we spent 3 days at elephant camp riding 'bareback' and I would certainly not recommend this for anyone with a new hip! Just sitting astride what amounts to a very large creature would be bad enough, but to ride an elephant you basically sit in an even more compromising position (for your joints!) in that you should be sitting with your knees drawn up and your legs turned out so your feet are nearly level with your waist- visualise young children sitting on the floor watching TV (not crosslegged) and you get the picture.

However, sitting in the chair would be fine as arrangements are always made for easy access; you climb onto a platform at the right height to just walk onto the elephants back and sit on the chair. There would also be no objection to simply walking alongside your elephant. Either way, it is an experience not to be missed.

Also be aware as Arandora has said that level ground will put much less strain on your joints than going downhill . Don't worry about entering water, the elphant will swim if it is too deep and you will be fine, just wet.

Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
402 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

Hi Karen-I have done the elephant riding at Patara and I had a hip replacement. Provided you're in good shape otherwise, I don't see why not. You will only have one lengthy ride and if you were uncomfortable each guest and elephant has their own handler, so you could dismount and walk the elephant back with your guide. Riding is only part of the day spent at Patara; it is a expensive but WONDERFUL so if you feel up to it; go! But please understand I was 48 and in very good physical shape otherwise. LOL...just noticed that's me at Patara in the side picture.

Edited: 07 June 2013, 03:23
Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
402 posts
6 reviews
7. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

Karen, are you doing this in Chiang Mai or Khao Lak? Sorry, but I only know of the Patara in CM.

Southampton
Level Contributor
40 posts
9 reviews
8. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

Thank you for replies so far - planning on doing this in Chang mai - have read that with one of the Elephant camps you can pay extra for private sessions where you can have one elephant between two people - might be an option as husband can do riding. Has anyone experience of the bang chang elephant camp?

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
45,458 posts
107 reviews
9. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

You will get much more information about the elephant camps near Chiang Mai on the Chiang Mai Forum. Wherever I've ridden an ellie, whether Chiang Mai (and that was hairy going up and down into streams on a chair with no seat belt) or Khao Lak, maximum number of passengers is two adults, three if one walks alongside.

As you will have been advised by your surgeon the greatest risk after a Hip Op is dislodging the hip with the ensuing indescribable agony! So take care whatever you do. :-)

UK
Level Contributor
736 posts
10 reviews
10. Re: Riding elephants after hip replacement

several of the elephant camps we have been to near CM only offer bathing to be viewed; however, there are several where you can participate. also have a look at Thai Elephant Conservation Center in lampang. You can sign up for a one day programme (we stayed for 2 nights so did lots of bathing and riding!) where you will have your own elephant and mahout. max number of participants is about 10 I think. The first day I was very nervous so in fact did very little riding and walked alongside my elephant into the jungle in the afternoon, which was also magical, and only participating in bathing in the river with my elephant once- they say asian elephants are small, but they seemed pretty big and scary to me! My mahout was fabulous, he brought the elephant to the edge of the water several times so i could at least do a little scrubbing and have some fun without feeling too threatened. Nice not to feel pressured. I had the time of my life, and by the 3rd day was spending virtually all day on my elephants back. also fun to see the elephant hospital, and you can go riding in a chair if that suits you better.

TECC is an hours taxi ride from central CM and is a wonderful place.

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