Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Asia (
-   -   Lampang elephant conservation camp (

althom1122 Oct 22nd, 2005 06:30 AM

Lampang elephant conservation camp
Has anyone taken the bus from Chiang Mai to the Lampang elephant camp? The website says there's a bus and to ask the driver to let you off at the elephant camp or he'll drive right past. Would be interested to know if anyone has had experience doing this - I'm assuming it's pretty cheap. Is the bus crowded? Would you recommend doing it that way? If we're going to do the all-day elephant thing, I can't see getting a driver for the day if the bus is easy and cheap.
Also, would be interested to hear from anyone who's done the full-day experience at the camp. Is it worth the whole day? It's just me and my 24-year-old daughter - not kids with us (except I'm about 10 on the inside). Would we get bored after a few hours? Someone mentioned you can go as long as you want. If you just want to stay for say 4 hours, can you still get a ride?

glorialf Oct 22nd, 2005 06:33 AM

Yes you can get a ride if you stay for 4 hours.

pepper1 Oct 23rd, 2005 06:01 AM

I went to the camp last year and stayed two nights and three days. Had a great time. I had no trouble with the bus from Chiang Mai once I made very sure that I was on the right bus. The bus was the most modern and most comfortable bus ever. The elephant experience was wonderful. The whole trip was more than reasonable in price. I booked over the net, Thai Elephant Conservation Centre. The main bus station was a tuk tuk ride from the hotel in the heart of Chiang mai. The bus stop in Chiang Mai itself was easy enough to find but I was told that no air con buses go from there so I opted for the main one. I'm not sure of the return buses but the outgoing ones were pretty frequent. If you love elphants you'll have a wonderful time.

althom1122 Oct 23rd, 2005 08:02 AM

Thanks, Pepper. I just checked the camp's site again and noticed it gave explicit instructions on the bus stations and what to tell them. Did you ride the bus on the way back to Chiang Mai as well? How would you get it? Apparently there's no station there - they just drop you off along the highway. Would you just stand at the point where they dropped you off and flag down the first bus that comes along?

pepper1 Oct 24th, 2005 02:19 AM

althom1 122
I was planning on getting the bus back to Chiang Mai but I teamed up with a couple who had booked a car to take them back to town so I went with them. The bus drops you off on the side of the road at the camp. There is a huge sign so you can't miss it. Walk up the road into the camp a little and go into the office and they will send a car to take you to the camp itself as it would be a long walk on a hot day. There is a bus stop on the opposite side of the road so I had planned to just wait and hail the bus as it came along. The bus station in Chiang Mai would be able to tell you the time the bus was due to leave Lampang and then you could probably work out roughly when it was due. The camp would also do what they could to help you. When you are at the camp they give you a blue mahout suit to wear. It is quite thick but very comfortable when climbing on and off the elephant. It is surprising how dirty you can get!! You get a few lessons in how to issue commands to the elephants, watch them perform, ride them around, even watch and assist them in painting a picture on elephant dung paper!! I have my elephant's painting proudly hanging on my lounge room wall. You can visit the hospital, the paper factory, stables, river, parade ground, a small restaurant and a few shops. The accommodation is basic but very adequate. A real village type atmosphere with the locals close by and the elephants wandering around with their mahouts. I think that the camp people will tailor a "program" to suit the amount of time that you have. Don't worry about the bus. It was just like a plane with more leg room! Enjoy.

glorialf Oct 24th, 2005 05:37 AM

I also have an elephant painting in my home and no one believes me when I say who the artist is!

althom1122 Oct 24th, 2005 02:33 PM

That is awesome - can't wait. My daughter is especially excited about this part of the trip. And yes, the bus sounds very doable. I think that's what we'll do! Thanks. (Can't wait to get my very own elephant picture on elephant dung paper.) :-)

pepper1 Oct 25th, 2005 02:03 AM

Say hello to Wanalee! She was my elephant for three days. I hope you have a great trip.

Kippy Oct 25th, 2005 02:31 AM

Althom1122 - when are you planning to go? I wanted to go in late November and I've just looked on their site again and it seems that November is fully booked and December is also almost full.

alibi13 Oct 25th, 2005 02:56 AM

I did not know you had to make reservations. I was hoping to make a day-trip out of it, while staying in Chiang Mai. Is that possible?

glorialf Oct 25th, 2005 03:02 AM

You don't need reservations if you don't want to stay-- if you just want to see the show, walk around and take a short ride.

Kippy Oct 25th, 2005 05:07 AM

Thanks Gloria,
I searched all over their site to see if this was possible. Really pleased to hear that it is. The reservations refer to the training programmes and it seemed that was all that was on offer, but a visit will more than satisfy me. Sorry if I have caused any concerns. I just need to know a bit about the "show" though. It isn't in anyway a performance is it? Not sure how I would feel about that.

glorialf Oct 25th, 2005 05:21 AM

The performance basically shows you how they do their work -- i.e. logging, They also show them paining. It's not like being at a circus. I am a huge animal lover and the other elephant places always bothered me. This place though is wonderful -- they really care about the animals and are advocates for their survivor and well being. They know what they are doing and are very dedicated. I go to a holistic vet who actually spent a month there working with the vets on homeopathic remedies and massage therapy and acupuncture. She raved about it. So don't worry about the elephants being abused in any way or used for profit. This is a non commercial enterprise and the money you paid is used to help elephants.

Kippy Oct 25th, 2005 05:34 AM

Fantastic. Even better than I could have hoped for. I had singled this out as the only elephant centre that I would think of going to. Now I feel reassured that I made the right choice. Really interested to hear of your vet's experience too. Acupuncture on elephants - now that's a converstaion I would like to have with her!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:04 AM.