Elephant riding in Chiang Mai

Apr 12th, 2006, 12:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Elephant riding in Chiang Mai

During our may trip to Thailand we'll stay a couple of days in Chiang Mai. We want to go on a elephant ride for a couple of hours. We're really NOT interrested in river rafting and the other stuff thats normally included in a full day trip. We thought about visiting the Maesa elephant camp just outside of Chiang Mai. Have anybody been there resently??? How much do they charge??? Is this the "right" place to visit if we're only interrested in an elephant ride????
Any surgestions are welcome.
juridf is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 02:03 AM
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I'd strongly recommend the Elephant Conservation Camp near Lampang. It's wonderful. Check out my recent trip report, link below, for a full description. (Scroll down to the Chiang Mai section of my very lengthy report - the word ELEPHANTS is at the beginning of the posting about it.)


althom1122 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 05:50 AM
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If you hire a car and driver rather than taking a pre-packaged "tour" in CM, you can decide where you what to go and what you want to do.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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We were at Mae Sa in February. It was clearly one of the highlights of our trip. Just an amazing 1/2 day, great one hour ride. We enjoyed the elephant show enormously (sorry, maybe it's not PC, but it's the truth). I'm an ASPCA supporter, and I saw no signs of abuse or mistreatment. Frankly, the elephants seemed to enjoy themselves, were clean, healthly and probably better off than when they were used in the forests for clearing timber.

Okay, now you can slam me.
jkgourmet is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 09:03 PM
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We recently returned from our first trip to Thailand and had been planning on going on an elephant ride prior to doing extensive research & discussion with others. I highly recommend NOT to contribute to the typical elephant "tourist" camp and instead experience the elephant through a visit to the Elephant Nature Park. Was absolutely the highlight of our trip & an amazing life experience. Instead of chugging along on the back of an elephant & its mahout (accompanied with a metaled hook) you actually get to "hang out" with the elephant-including a swim and bath in the river! You learn about the history of the Thai elephant, their role in current culture, as well as the heartbreaking (and warming) stories of those elephants who have been rescued and live at the camp. I encourage you to exhaust your resources and research all avenues before making a decision to contribute to the typical elephant tourist camp. Lek and her work at the Elephant Nature Park will surely be a gratifying experience-guaranteed!
steph_bert is offline  
Apr 12th, 2006, 10:22 PM
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For anyone confused, the Elephant Conservation Camp and the Elephant Nature Park are two different places but from my reading are run on the basis of a v similar ethos.
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 02:41 AM
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steph bert and Bella, are those places in Chiang Mai itself and do you know how they compare to the Elephant Conservation Centre at Lampang? Thanks.
Peteralan is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 03:16 AM
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The Elephant Conservation Center is south of Chiang Mai in Lampang. The Elephant Nature Park is north of Chiang Mai, but where exactly they don't disclose unless you have a reseration apparently.

The ECC is supported in part by the Thai Government and by Chiang Beer, as well as by the tourists who go there. We were there for 3 days in December 2005, and found it to be very well run and friendly, and an experience beyond our expectations. The elephants are happy and well cared for. You can visit here for an hour or two if you like, ride an elephant and have a look around. Or, you can have a more intense experience and do a 1 day, 3 day, 10 day or month long course. We did 3 days. Participants learn to care for and work with the elephants, which includes riding them if you like.

The ENP is privately funded and offers similar courses. They make a point of saying on their website that they do not offer elephant rides as it is seems to be against their philosophy. Reports are that the place is also outstanding, and offers a different experience...though how different I don't know....the itineraries look the same about, with the ENP being pricier.

You can drop in at the ECC but there are no drop ins at the ENP. The ENP seems to be set up to welcome longer stays more than drop ins, so that might help you decide, though it doesn't seem you'd go wrong with either one.
KimJapan is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 07:25 PM
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Thanks Kim...I remember that you stayed at ECC from your previous post and I had decided to go there in July but only a day trip.I had not heard of the ENP before. I don't particularly want to ride an elephant although I have in the past but I am interested in seeing how they are looked after. Thanks again and I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has been to both.
Peteralan is offline  
Apr 15th, 2006, 01:54 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 79
hi Juridf

Most people have you covered in terms of the elephant camps and I recommend it highly. One thing you may be interested in is along the path their our locals with stands selling sugar cane and banana's cut up and tied together so you can feed the elephants along the way. I think you can buy them inside the compound but from memory they were cheaper from the locals. We paid 20 bht for a bunch of sugar canes that we fed the elephants.

Also if you are really really nice to your guide, they will let you sit on the neck and they walk, If you give them your camera, they can take photos of you all along the trek. plse tip them appropriately. =)
Eekthecat is offline  
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