Do you want a break from a busy and suffocating daily life? Then Hmaw Yaw Gyi Elephant Camp would be your best choice. It could be reached in just about 2 hours by car from Yangon. As it is situated at the edge of the famous Bago Yoma, this excursion will give you refreshing and unusual enchanted feeling.

Being located one mile away from the milepost 105/4 on the Yangon-Mandalay highway, it is not far from Yangon. Hmaw Yaw Gyi Elephant camp can be found in Kyauk Tagar Township, Bago Region, Myanmar Department of forestry is taking responsibility for the camp. It is a residence of 22 elephants containing 15 males and 7 females. Shwe Nwe Win, a 1950 born female elephant, is the eldest of all. “18-55” age bracket elephants have to work in wood production while under 18 and over 55 ones serve the visitors of the camp,” explained an elephant keeper.

From the entrance onwards, you can feel the nature at its best by taking a 15-minute walk. The huts which can be seen near a small waterfall and a lake look so peaceful. For those who go for a beautiful memory can take wonderful pictures along the forested area and stream. There is a vantage point on the hill that you can watch the drinking elephants in the brook. About 170 people including elephant keepers live in 1600 acres-wide area. You can rest in bamboo huts inside which have bamboo chairs, wooden tables and hammocks. This is a relaxed zone because there is no interruption like traffic and crowd.

It is so pleasing to see that elephants and human beings live in compatible harmony. The elephants give no harm at all and they perform whatever their attendants make them to. In the early morning and evening, you can take an elephant ride in a comfortable howdah that holds only two persons per time. By carrying the passengers from the edge of the forest to a waterfall, the elephant passes over the streams and rocky ways. Everything the eyes can see is green and fresh along the way. For a refreshing taste, visitors would bathe at the waterfall. You can feed the elephants with the food baskets sold at the camp. The baskets contain pumpkin, banana, sugar-cane and water-melon. While I fed an elephant, another elephant rushed to grab the food and that was an amusing experience for me. You can also have a joyous feeling by bathing 5-year-old elephants in the shallow stream.

If you want a night-time experience in the forest, you can stay in the huts and tranquillity helps to reduce the stress. Early rainy season and winter would be the most pleasant period to visit Hmaw Yaw Gyi Elephant camp as it is neither too hot nor dry in the period. I think a trip to Hmaw Yaw Gyi Elephant camp is worth-a-visit due to it’s time-saving and cost-effectiveness for visitors.