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The final day of this wonderful experience. Another breathtaking misty morning , a good breakfast, then we broke into two groups to prepare and hide food treats for the elephants. We had a go at chopping bamboo stalks. and—this was captured on video—I managed to hit so hard that I broke the handle of the machete! I was very apologetic but our guide said it was an easy fix.

Then we sat up in an observation tower and watched two elephants explore the area and discover the food we had hidden in old tyres, tree trunks, and play toys. It was amazing to watch the incredible dexterity of their trunks wheedling out sticks of bamboo from nooks and crannies.

After a while we swapped places with the other group, and watched a male and a female elephant together in an area of forest in the hope they would mate; but while the female seemed willing and kept sidling bum-first up to the bull, he didn’t go through with it!

Back to the camp. We bought T-shirts, and I got a bag of the same design as the one the mahouts habitually carry; then we had lunch. Then, sadly, down to the boat, across the lake, and into minivans for the drive back to Luang Prabang.

After a bumpy and uncomfortable ride back to town of about two and a half hours, we checked into a much cheaper hotel called the Indigo House, got organised, then headed out again for dinner at our favourite spot, the Silk Road cafe.

In bed at 9.30pm. The hotel is comfortable but noisy. Tomorrow we start trekking!

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