Our mission to help the elephants of MaeVang

The Tuk Tuk club's mission to help feed the elephants of maevang, Chiang mai!

The global COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone very hard but the elephants of MaeVang who we’re lucky enough to meet on most of our adventures have been hit particularly hard over the last year and more. These wonderful animals are also incredibly hungry animals and it costs a small fortune to make sure they have enough food each day to remain healthy. And of course the mahouts who live with and look  after the elephants also need food too! With zero income since the start of the pandemic it’s become increasingly difficult for the elephant home to survive and that’s where The Tuk Tuk Club are trying to do their bit. Read on and see what our plan is!

But before that, a quick note about MaeVang Elephant home. This is a very small (8 elephants) home run by a family who have looked after elephants for decades. They, and their mahouts are hugely passionate about their elephants and offer small group (effectively private) opportunities for visitors to learn about, meet and wonder at these beautiful animals at their small base around 60 minutes South West of Chiang Mai. They do not allow riding – they have led the way in the local area regarding this – and any visitor will immediately sense how much passion they have for what they do. The don’t have a fancy website and aren’t great at PR, however they are superb at looking after  and at creating  wonderful opportunities to learn about elephants.

one middle aged man, one bicycle and 2,300km's of rural roads

Bruce - the founder of The Tuk Tuk Club - has decided that he really must do something to support MaeVang Elephant home during these challenging times. So, he's jumping on his bike and in May pedalling over 2,300km's to the far North East of Thailand by the mighty Mekong and back in 20 days. Solo, armed only with a stubborn streak and the determination to do something to help these wonderful elephants. Why 2,300km's? Well, firstly a challenge is meant to be difficult isn't it - and 120km a day, every day in 40C heat is not going to be easy - but also 2,000THB is the rough amount needed to feed and look after 2 elephants a day so there seemed to be some logic to it - at least there was after a couple of cold beers one evening!

How much are we trying to raise?

MaeVang elephant home have 8 elephants so it costs around 200,000THB (£5,000) a month to look after the elephants and the mahouts. However, supporting them for just one month doesn't seem enough so Bruce is trying to raise 600,000THB (or just about £16,000) to look after the elephants for 3 months. Yes, this is a large amount of money but if we can raise 1THB per pedal stroke that Bruce needs to do then we'll be roughly around our target - and the elephants will be covered for at least another 3 months

why should you help?

A great question! The simple answer is that if you're travelled with us on an adventure in Northern Thailand then you've met these wonderful elephants and from your feedback we know how much you've enjoyed the time spent with them. If you haven't been able to join us yet (and we hope you will in the future) we really want to be able to ensure that the elephants are in great shape for the long term. The elephant home themselves have been incredibly strong over the last 12 months - no complaining, no pleas for help and no 'woe is us'. They've not asked us to do this - we just feel it's the right thing to be able to support these wonderful animals and the people who look after them

HOW can you help?

Ou fundraising campaign is now over and we're delighted to see travellers coming back to Thailand and visiting the elephants and their mahouts and learning about these wonderful animals. If you'd like to help then the best way to do so is to travel with us and enjoy time in these wonderful animals company - and of course by travelling with us this makes sure that the home continues to receive on-going income to look after the elephants and develop the home further.

THE campaign tracker

Bruce's journey and the progress of our campaign will be updated on The Tuk Tuk Clubs Facebook and Instagram accounts (if you have a thing for sweaty middle aged men in lycra then some of the photos are going to br right up your street), our blog and we'll also show here how we're progressing towards the financial goal As of 30th June 2021: TARGET: £16,000 AMOUNT RAIASED: £13,996 (thanks to all for your support and generosity) DISTANCE RIDDEN - Bruce has completed the ride in 18 days covering a total of 2,230km. Phew FOLLOW BRUCE'S RIDE ON FACEBOOK OR OUR BLOG

And one final thing...

We're sure you'd actually love to visit and see the wonderful elephants we're fundraising for! So to make that a little easier, if you're able to make a donation we'll take the amount you donate (up to £150 per person) off the price of an 11 Day Adventure when you book with to travel with us. And of course all our 11 Day Adventures do spend time with the elephants meaning you can see exactly where your donation has gone!

the 'thank you' roll of honour

Huge thanks to all the wonderful people below who've supported us so far with this campaign. Whether it's through a real love of the elephants or the joy of seeing Bruce suffer the pain of never ending saddle sores, we love you all the same! Ged Brown and the team at Low Season Traveller Clive Thomas at Prestige Promotions Paul Rock Bike Maintenance Mark and Travel begins at 40 Go Beyond Spice Roads - for the excellent cycling tops Gap 360 and team And to all the individuals who've been so unbelievably kind and generous in their support - words can't express how grateful we and the elephants are

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