A FEW TIPS
Here is a small series of tips to read carefully if you want to take a big trip like this.
If this is your first big trip, read this page, it will save you from asking yourself a lot of questions and perhaps do you a favor!
See the checklist
1. Questions regarding your stay at Ganesha Park
a. What is the best time to arrive at Ganesha Park and see the elephants?
The ideal is to arrive late in the afternoon!
Do not arrive before 4 p.m., you will be disturbed, nor after 5 p.m....
If you arrive by bus, get off at the HINDAD hot springs
Bathe in hot water if you want and call us
WhatsApp: +666 366 800 60, in French
or 093 230 99 12, in Thai
We will pick you up ten minutes later
b. What clothing should I bring to meet my elephants?
It's simple :
- A pair of flip flops
- A wet and dirty t-shirt, even disposable
- And, if you want to ride an elephant, pants that go down to your ankles.
- If possible no glasses or with a cord to avoid losing them
- No watch
- No swimsuit
c. Is it possible to bathe in the hot springs immediately upon arrival?
You can go there before coming to see us or during your stay in the region, the hot springs are only a few kilometers away...
First, you take a short bath in the river: the water is cool, but not cold! It's already delicious.
Then, you slide into the swimming pool where the water is really warm!
Stay there without moving for a few minutes, it's worth all the massages in the world!
Go there at the end of the afternoon, when all the tourist buses have already left for Kanchanaburi!
d. Is it essential to reserve?
Yes, the number of elephants is limited: we only have four elephants (which still represents 1,200 kg of food per day) and we do not want to receive more than eight people per day.
People who arrive without warning are sometimes disappointed not to be able to join the others. We make it a point of honor that everyone feels at home and that the atmosphere remains friendly.
e. Should we plan for “extra” expenses?
Aside from drinks which are not included in the meals, don't forget to tip the mahout who will have taken care of you for a whole day! Give 100 to 200 baht depending on the quality of their service and your satisfaction. The mahout doesn't have the right to ask you, but he will surely appreciate it!
f. Should we take treatment to protect ourselves from malaria?
This type of treatment often causes serious side effects and is relatively expensive. There are few mosquitoes in our area and we have never heard of a case of malaria since we have been here.
The same goes for most parts of Thailand.
If you fear mosquito bites, only bring long sleeves and pants for the evenings, and buy a repellent product in Thailand: it will be cheaper than in France and better suited to local insects.
g. I heard you can catch pimples from elephants, is that true?
Yes, it happens sometimes, it's not serious if it's treated right away. The pimples generally appear on the legs the day after your contact with elephants.
The most effective drug to our knowledge is BACTAFECT, (Mupirocin 2°/0)
These are antibiotic and antibacterial creams.
Do not use cortisone.
Recent leg hair removal encourages the appearance of these pimples.
h. How does a day at Ganeshapark work?
It’s going well. To see a video recounting a typical day, click here
2. Question regarding elephants
a. Are your elephants well treated?
When you see how attached we are and how much we love our elephants you will no longer ask this question!
In France, many people keep their dogs on a leash, not only because it is the rule, but also to avoid accidents. This does not mean that dogs are mistreated, not at all.
So, if you see elephants sometimes held back by heavy chains, it is also to prevent them from going a little too far, crossing a road or devastating a banana plantation!
Our elephants are with us and we are their family.
In my opinion, humans crammed into certain suburban towers are treated much worse than our elephants, even if their chains are not visible.
b. Is an elephant dangerous?
Yes, an elephant is very dangerous, that's also why we sometimes tie them up.
Young elephants, who like to play a lot, do not have a perfect awareness of their strength, and can easily knock someone down without any bad intention.
Elephants have sometimes killed their master when they were very attached to him, but only because they did not see him or because they made a sudden movement.
Almost three tons of meat and muscles, an elephant is a hundred times stronger than a man, much bigger and, even without it wanting to be, it can cause serious accidents.
In addition, elephants are not masters of the elements around them: the branches that they push aside to move forward and which can fall on someone.
Clearly, you should always be very careful and never approach an elephant without being accompanied by its mahout.<
This is what might happen. https://youtu.be/XUGoou4fcY0
c. How old does an elephant live?
A bit like us, an elephant is a child until 12/15 years old, works until 60 years old and can sometimes live more than 80 years old.
d. What does an elephant eat?
An elephant eats a lot, around 10% of its weight every day.
We give them banana trees, herbs, pineapple leaves, sugar cane and all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
With four elephants, that's more than a ton of food to provide each day!
And the tourists give them dessert, bananas and pineapples!
3.Questions regarding your trip to Thailand
a. How many days should you plan to visit Ganesha Park?
The minimum to plan for is to arrive late in the afternoon and leave two days later in the morning.
But in most cases, people stay around for a second day to go for a walk (trekking) in the waterfalls, hot springs or caves before then leaving for Sangklaburi or returning to Kanchanaburi.
Go and see HERE what you can do to come to us.
b. How to get to Ganesha Park from Ayuttaya? Should we go back to Bangkok?
Not necessarily ! You can take a bus to Ayuttaya - Kanchanaburi via Suphan Buri then another bus from Kanchanaburi to Tong Pha Phum.
If you are a family or a small group, it is possible to travel by minibus: it's quicker, more expensive, more comfortable, but also less traditional!
A good solution is to do Ayuttaya - Mochit (Bangkok's north station) and change buses to Tong Pha Phum.
4.Ask your question
Before asking us any questions, check out the ADVICE page and the HOW TO GET THERE page where we already answer a lot of questions.
Details and prices can be found on THIS PAGE
...and to ask your question, use this form
LIST OF THINGS TO TAKE
We will leave all warm clothing (jackets, scarves, and seasonal clothing) in France with the person who will pick us up on our return or at the left-luggage office. These clothes would be of no use during the trip and would take up a lot of space. You will only take light luggage, sports bag or cabin suitcase. We will buy in Thailand for the price of a bowl of rice the luggage best suited to the stock of souvenirs purchased. This will, among other things, avoid the sometimes very long waits for luggage upon arriving at your destination.
See the checklist
A – With you, on the plane
Of course ! (a visa is only required for Thailand if you stay more than thirty days) Check its validity, it must be valid for another six months after the date of your trip, otherwise you will be refused boarding.
- Identity photos for a possible visa
On the plane, summer sandals are ideal. In any case, avoid lace-up shoes which will be difficult to put on when arriving in Bangkok (the feet swell during the trip) and which will be unbearable upon arrival due to the local heat.
Make sure it is “unblocked” by your operator. We can buy a SIM card in Thailand, the number of which we will communicate to our French correspondents and which will be very useful for reaching a hotel for example or for being contacted during the trip.
- Notepad or small pocket notebook
There are always opportunities to write down something that you might forget.
- Pen that does not leak
To write, of course, but also to fill out the landing sheets.
- Chewing gum or small toothbrush
Obligatory when you have spent twelve hours on a plane
Useful when you are at the plane window, almost essential when arriving
- Business cards
It's crazy how many people you can meet while traveling!
Small folding style, it can help, especially when returning to France. Not indispensable.
Very useful for shopping abroad (duty free)
- $1 bills
It's the golden tip on many occasions
- Safety belt or “banana” belt
The seat belt where you can put papers, traveler's and other plane tickets without clutter and without risk
Very useful for waiting in airport transits.
On a plane, you have to drink a lot, but bottled water is now refused upon boarding, so don't hesitate to ask for a drink during the flight.
B – In the luggage
- Repellent shampoo (to avoid catching lice)
Not essential, but preferable. Found in pharmacies.
- ID photos
Always useful for obtaining a visa for example
- Small travel iron
For maniacs only
- List of friends in France
Essential for sending the essential postcards to those in the French grayness
- Solar cream
Consult your pharmacist
- Vitamins or other food supplement
If you have difficulty eating local food, ask your pharmacist for advice.
- Toothpaste and toothbrush (available on site)
To avoid shortages during the trip
- Shower gel
Essential, but you can find some when you arrive!
- Bath towel
Not always easy to find when you arrive, some guest houses do not have towels in the rooms.
- Nivaquine or other treatment for malaria
Depending on the doctor's opinion, but not obligatory. The ideal is to consult a specialist in tropical diseases. (for information, we never took anything)
- Small flat metal box
To put bank card receipts and other business cards
- Aspirin, Advil or equivalent
So as not to be blocked by a possible headache
- Clothing and shoes
Just what you need for the trip Everything is on site at unbeatable prices.
C – For visiting and trekking.
(N.B.) All this material can be purchased very cheaply in Thailand.
- Backpack (small size)
Which we will buy in the first market visited.
- Walking shoes
The rangers are too heavy, the tennis shoes can be perfect but, with sensitive feet, look more towards the wading side.
- Trellis type pants (not essential) To avoid ending up with legs lacerated by thorns if you plan to do certain treks.
- Knife like Swiss knife or Opinel
Not essential, but often useful but do not take in the cabin on the plane.
- Chinese hat (you can find some on site)
Useful to avoid sunstroke
- Plastic bags (very important)
To insulate cameras, papers, as well as wet and dirty laundry
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE BEFORE TRAVEL
Check the validity and learn the number by heart, you will often be asked to do this
It would be stupid to ruin such a beautiful trip because of a toothache, a check-up is obligatory
Repatriation insurance is a great security, paying the plane ticket with a credit card often offers insurance
- Credit card
Visa or Master Card are ideal. Be careful never to leave them lying around! In Thailand, you can find ATMs absolutely everywhere!
Car or house keys should be kept in a place where you are sure they will not be lost or stolen. For example, avoid the camera case
Very useful, take them in denominations of 20 or 50 Euros, that already represents quite a bit of money there.
- Cash money
No need to carry too much cash. Euros are exchanged everywhere. Plan your return to the West (taxi, train or breakfast)
The current in Thailand is 220, the sockets are often American plugs, but work with our European sockets.
Due to the strong light it is desirable to have gray or gradient filters, they can be found in duty free at airports. For those who have digital equipment, you can burn a CD and empty its memory almost anywhere!
- Computer science
Take a USB key or hard drive with you, it will be useful, if only to relieve the memory of your camera
THE VISA – MONEY
A - THE VISA
For Thailand, it is only necessary if you are staying more than thirty days. If you are staying longer, or if you have a one-way plane ticket, it is better to contact the Thai consulate as regulations change quite often.
For Cambodia, a visa is required.
It’s easy to get, you just have to ask for it.
Either in the Cambodian consulate in your country of origin, or in Bangkok, or upon arriving at Siem Reap or Phnom Penh airport. For those who choose to travel Bangkok / Siem Reap by road, the visa can be completed in ten minutes at the border post.
In Bangkok, going to the embassy wastes a lot of time, and you have to go there twice. The many “tour shops” in Bangkok can take care of the visa and do not charge very much for their services.
B – MONEY
In Thailand, there are ATMs everywhere, and in any case, euros are exchanged on every street corner in "money changers". The trick is to look at the exchange rate at the airport so as not to get confused. get scammed afterwards.
In Cambodia, contrary to what some people may tell you, EVERYTHING is in dollars. No need to change into riels, EVERYTHING can be paid in dollars. Moreover, prices are displayed in dollars everywhere except for very small amounts.
But there are very few ATMs, you should know that.
GOOD TO KNOW
The black market is often dangerous but almost non-existent. Change money only in banks, or more simply “money changers”. It's everywhere.
Be careful, among other things, at the Poi Pet border there are smart people who tell you that the dollar is no longer short in Cambodia, it's not true!
- Jet lag
In winter, there are 6 hours in France with Thailand or Cambodia. When it is noon in Bangkok or Siem Reap, it is 6 a.m. in France. In summer, the time difference is 5 hours.
In this heat, you have to drink a lot, water in plastic bottles or "soft drinks" (coke, soda). The local beer is sweet and pleasant, however it is better not to overdo it during the day. Be careful, Thais and Cambodians have the annoying habit of putting ice everywhere, even in beer. In fact, whatever all the old guides say, it doesn't matter, the ice cubes are made with purified water, Asians don't want to be sick either. This was not the case just a few years ago!
For web and e-mail addicts, no need to worry, there are cyber cafes and Wi-Fi everywhere in Thailand or Cambodia.
- Mobile phones
“World” access is free with SFR and other providers, just ask for it a few days before leaving. But you should know that it is easy and economical to call from Thailand and that if you are called from France, your correspondent will pay for a normal call and you will pay the Paris-Bangkok supplement. So, unless it's really important to you, it's best to just carry a pre-paid card which might come in handy when you return. In any case, ringing in the middle of the jungle on the back of an elephant, or in an Angkor temple, is almost sacrilege!
On the other hand, if you really need to receive a lot of calls, you should know that you can buy a low-cost phone for around 20 euros and a card (with a Thai or Cambodian number) for 6 euros valid for one month.
In Bangkok, among other places, it is possible to have prostheses made at incredible prices. They are, it seems, the best dentists in the world.
For Miros, the most beautiful glasses are made on site in just a few minutes at an incredible price
In the event of a necessary injection, ensure that the syringe used is new. Do not hesitate to request sterilization.
You can have a tailor-made suit made in 24 hours for the price of jeans in France. Be careful, when you have your measurements taken, make sure of the closing day!
You always have to do it in Thailand or Cambodia, it's a habit! Without aggression, with a smile, Asians are honest and respect the deal. We can sometimes divide by 5, but not always…
Not so long ago it was pointless, it was a bit like tipping the baker! But it is now very appreciated and even considered obligatory in certain tourist sites.
It’s one of the specialties of Thailand… but also of French customs! Better to limit yourself.
Although Thailand and Cambodia are safe countries, we should also be wary of Westerners: ALWAYS keep important papers, passports, plane tickets, credit cards ON YOUR OWN. Even to go to the toilet. Nothing important in possible handbags, a passport that disappears can turn everything into a gigantic hassle.
Making a copy of the passport and plane tickets and leaving them on the Internet in case of problems is very helpful!
A - At the airport
“It’s better to arrive two hours early than to see the plane take off”
It's obvious, especially since last minute surprises are always possible (transport strikes, traffic jams, demonstrations, etc.) It's clear, if the plane leaves at noon, plan everything to be there at nine o'clock. 'boarding.
Go to your airline counter with passports and plane tickets. It is best to travel in the front part of the plane, it is less noisy and shaken during the flight.
Cigarette addicts can always go and sit at the back of the plane while they smoke a little one. But be careful, almost all flights are non-smoking! Those who can't help themselves will have to take a good dose of smoke before leaving!
Few people know it, but this is where you have to ask to be placed next to the window. It's still nicer to be able to see that it's still dark outside but above all, the sunrise and the arrival in Bangkok are worth a look. The ideal is to have few things so that you don't have to check any luggage and put everything in your hand luggage. If you are checking in your baggage, make it clear to the hostess that you are going to Bangkok and that your baggage will not be picked up at the stopover, if there is one.
Go straight to passport control so you can hang around duty-free. If the wait seems long, this is where the biscuits you took with you following my advice will come in handy. No need to rush for duty-free cigarettes on the way out, they are still much cheaper in Thailand or Cambodia!
Even in the departure lounge, it is possible to telephone, it is sometimes good to know.
B - On the plane
Everyone speaks English there, except the French tourists who you will quickly spot, they are not the most discreet!
Your seat number can be found above the word “seat” on the boarding pass, which you must always keep with you. You no longer need your passport or your plane ticket.
The small pillow is very practical for those who have back pain and is placed at the bottom of the backrest to support the lower back. The blanket is very important for sleeping, it is not always very hot in the middle of the night. You should drink often during the flight. Indeed, in the plane, the air we breathe is that of the outside which is heated (it is around minus sixty degrees outside) and which is injected into the cabin. At these altitudes, the air is very dry, which causes a risk of dehydration. You should drink more than a liter of water during the trip in addition to what you drink during meals.
Fasten your seat belt from the start and only undo it to get up. You should definitely not remove it to sleep, certain disturbances (it's very rare but it happens) can throw you out of the seat.
Take off your shoes when you arrive. This avoids having to take them off much later when your feet smell bad and makes you feel more comfortable. You can easily wear socks on the plane during the flight.
Go pee BEFORE meals when there is no one in front of the toilet: afterwards, there is always a traffic jam!
- To sleep well
The best thing is to have a sleepless night of partying before departure!
Some companies sometimes distribute small inflatable cushions that you can put around your neck. This avoids waking up with a stiff neck or going to snore on your neighbor's shoulder. You can also find them in any good pharmacy or travel store.
- To avoid jet lag
Sleeping well throughout the flight helps to cope with the jet lag which is significant (6 hours). Another very effective tip is to set your watch to the destination time from the start, looking at it often during the flight. and by convincing ourselves that it is already at that time. Try it, you'll see!
On the other hand, avoid getting caught in the video game trap! Some planes are equipped with it, it is ideal for arriving exhausted in Thailand and thus missing the first two days of your stay.
C - At the stopover
The stopover (depending on the company in Saigon, Kuala Lumpur, Dhaka, Dubai or other) is of no interest but obligatory to change planes. Since everyone speaks English, all you have to do is follow the flow, in any case, the plane will never leave without having collected all its passengers. Do not forget anything on the plane that will not be the same for the second part of the trip.
In duty-free, be careful not to get cheated with the change! If you consume in each airport, you will end up with a useless stock of change on your return. Here again, the biscuits you bring will come in handy.
When getting back on the plane, there will be a few hours of flight left, so prepare yourself by getting some sleep.
D - Arriving in Bangkok
Before arriving, do not forget to fill out the disembarkation form distributed on the plane which will be requested at customs. This paper will be stapled into your passport and you must not lose it under any circumstances; the customs officer will ask you for it to let you leave the country.
Go straight to passport control, where the queue is sometimes impressive. Be careful, some lines are reserved for Thai nationals, it is written, don't get trapped. No need to change money at this time, there are lots of exchange offices outside where no one queues.
If you don't have any luggage, go towards the exit and after the traditional "nothing to declare" you find yourself in a large hall. This is where you have to change the money. But no more than 50 Euros will be enough to go a long way. Note that there will always be time to change money once you arrive at your hotel, in the calm of one of the many "money changers" found everywhere.
You have arrived in Bangkok, the adventure begins!