Laos took us by surprise. From the moment we set foot outside the airplane at the most picturesque airport I’ve ever seen we were bewitched. We were expecting lush jungle and a charming French colonial vibe but weren’t prepared for Laos’ raw, unspoilt beauty. Outside the main tourist spots the land of a million elephants is still relatively undeveloped compared to its neighbours, making it a traveller’s dream destination.
“Seung seung” I say. Slowly the elephant lifts her front leg and waits patiently. Her huge brown eye looks steadily into mine. I can’t quite believe it but my elephant is giving me a leg up! These beautiful, intelligent animals can learn up to 150 voice commands. The mahout nodded and reached for my hand. Placing my foot on the elephants leg I was hoisted onto her bare neck, her skin warm and spongy against mine. We move slowly and deliberately, gently rocking from side to side as she lumbers through the jungle.