All of us fall victim to a little social media frenzy. I know I once did. No one truly thinks that getting on top of one of these uncomfortable, sometimes dirty, prickly giants and going for a stroll is actually a good idea. But it sure looks cool: the picture perfect shot getting splashed by water from an elephants trunk while you're sitting and laughing away on its back. In those moments, though, you don't notice that there's a man made hole in the elephants ear - thats where it's owner hangs a hook that is used to control it. You may not notice the scabs all over the elephants head where the hook lands to guide the elephant and remind it not to act out. You may not even notice that it's hips are dislocated from the saddle full of people that it is forced to carry all day in the scorching heat. The tour guides will tell you that riding without a saddle is ok, they will tell you that it costs a little more but it's worth it because the elephants without saddles are treated better. ITS NOT WORTH IT. Did you really come there to ride the elephant ... or simply to see one? Interact with one? I did a full day volunteering experience with @elephantnaturepark - feeding, bathing, walking around, and watching them act naturally ... no riding. Both girls were abused for years. It was arguably the best experience of my life just through simple interactions. Always do research before going to places that allow human interaction with animals - more and more you hear the words "don't ride the elephants," there's a reason ... don't fall into the "perfect picture" trap. It's not worth it.