6 Animals You Can Trek On and Where to Ride Them

Don’t get me wrong, trains, planes and automobiles are all very fine methods of transportation, but there is something about riding on a live animal that makes it a completely different experience.For most people, riding on a horse is the extent of their animal riding history, but what other possibilities are out there? Here’s a list of 6 other animals from around the world that you should consider for your next trek.

Elephant – Thailand
If you go to Thailand, odds are at some point during your journey you will be offered to ride an elephant. The funny thing is that you don’t even need to go seeking an elephant trek at one of the many tourist companies scattered in every city throughout the country. You may be leaving a bar on the ‘Khoa San Road’ in Bangkok slightly tipsy and a local will approach you with an offer to ride his elephant. The treatment of elephants in Thailand is absolutely appalling in some regions, so before you choose your elephant and trek guide observe how the elephants are being housed and treated.

Camel – Egypt
While there are numerous desert locations that offer camel rides in this world, Egypt is probably the most common place. Besides elephants and horses, camels come in third as the most popular animals to trek on and can be found on millions of people’s ‘bucket lists’ throughout the world. While the quintessential camel trek to see the pyramids of Gaza is no doubt an amazing experience, the cost of riding a camel is outrageously expensive compared to other parts of the country.

Water Buffalo – Vietnam
While the water buffalo might seem exotic  to westerners, it is a common farm animal in Vietnam. Like a cow, chicken or pig in the United States, Water Buffalo are a dime a dozen in the farming regions of Vietnam.  These large, strong animals have been used for livestock by the Vietnamese for centuries, but it is not common for locals to take them for a ride. That being said, in the southern region of the country near the Mekong Delta, a number of local farmers have been raking in extra cash by offering rides on their water buffaloes to tourists.

Yak – China
A distant cousin of the water buffalo, the yak is another enormous animal that is quite common in many parts of Asia. The difference is that rather than farming, yaks are traditionally used as pack animals for the locals. While they are used mainly to carry heavy supplies, it is not uncommon to see a tired local jump on the back of their yak for a quick journey. There are a number of scenic locations throughout China where you can hire a yak to take you on a gorgeous trek through the mountains.

Ostrich – South Africa
Have you ever looked at a bird soaring through the sky and thought to yourself, ‘man i wish I could just hang on to the back of that thing for awhile!’ Well riding an ostrich in South Africa is absolutely nothing like that, however you will have the bragging rights to say that you rode on the back of a bird… These flightless animals are common throughout the African nation and many locals allow tourists to take a wild ride on the back of one of these quick and nimble creatures.

Zebra – China
Before you go booking your airplane ticket to China to ride one of these amazingly exotic animals that your thought only existed in Africa, I have some sad news for you. While it may appear that you are able to hire a zebra for a trek in China, the sad reality is that these are merely white horses pained with black stripes to resemble a zebra! Aside from trapping one in the wild and attempting to mount its bareback, nowhere exists to ride a zebra in this world, so I guess China saw an opportunity in that?

By Alex Vere Nicoll