Unexpected stop back to Yangon
On our way back to Yangon from Bago city, our whole day taxi driver had a brief stop at Hsin Hpyu Daw Park where the white elephants can be seen. We didn’t plan to visit any white elephants but the driver insisted and told us it is on the way back to Yangon, so we just followed what he suggested.
Elephants house in beautiful pavilion but no freedom
It seems like white elephant in Hsin Hpyu Daw Park is a major attraction for tourists. Before us, there were already few couples of foreigners with their English-speaking guide at the park.
The elephants are kept in the beautiful pavilion but visitors are not allowed to go near them. A total different experience I had in Chiang Mai Thailand where you are able to get up close and touching and feeding the elephants. Over here in Hsin Hpyu Daw Park, there is a fence to block visitors from entering anywhere near these elephants. Visitors are only allowed to watch the elephants from behind the fence.
White pinky elephants in chains = sad
In total there are only three elephants all with slightly different colors tone. One is more of pinky white, suspected to be albino and the other is more pinky and the third one is just the usual color of the elephant, which is dark grey.
If you look closer, all three elephants were chained at their feet. They seem pretty sad and wanted to roam around. But it was said the elephants are allowed to roam freely after the park is closed at 5 pm. I still sorry to see them all being chained at their feet. I overheard a local guide telling a couple of caucasian tourists: “Animal is still animal, you never know what they will do to the human if unchained.” Still, it was very sad thing to see. This is totally different experience from the Elephant camp in Chiang Mai Thailand. The elephants in Chiang Mai Elephants Camp are all happy, cheeky and playful. I was disappointed to learn the truth about the white elephant park here.
Some food that you can purchased for the elephants but you won’t be allowed to feed them yourself, the elephant keeper will bring in the food and feed them instead.
There are posters showing some introduction of the white elephants. One male and two female lives in this beautiful pavilion.
White Elephant Symbolise Purity and Good Fortune
Burmese people worship Elephant and think that it an auspicious animal that is being white which is symbolise of purity, power and good fortune.
I found some pots in the middle of the park, got curious so went to open up the pot and have a look what was inside. Is just plain water and there are bowls too, probably for the thirsty visitors.
Burmese kid saying hello to us and he has a name tag with him but it was written in Burmese, not sure if the tag say their name. They don’t speak any English but very friendly.
No Entrance Fees
There is no entrance fees to White Elephant Park. The entrance to the park is also not that obvious as there is no signboard. You see few stalls setting outside the White Elephants Park and many children roaming outside the entrance. Children faces were all painted with the Thanaka yellowish powder, a signature in Myanmar.
Final thoughts :
The White Elephants Park near Yangon was not in our plan at all. We have a brief stop. It was my first time to see elephant in this color, the white pink greyish. However, not a very happy feeling as the elephants were chained and not allowed to roam freely. They look sad to me and who doesn’t if freedom is being constraint. Not sure it is the right way to worship the white elephants?