Top 7 Chiang Mai Elephant Camps You Can’t Miss

Did you know that in the Thai language, Chiang without an “I” means Elephant? And Thai without an “I” means city? Yes, Chiang Mai in Thailand is the City of Elephants! If you’re visiting Thailand, your trip will not be complete without seeing majestic elephants. And with over 70 elephant camps in Thailand, you’re spoilt for choice. To tick that once in a lifetime experience off your bucket list, we’ve come up with the top 7 Chiang Mai Elephant Camps to visit on your dream vacation to Thailand. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go!

  1. Kanta Elephant Sanctuary

The Kanta Elephant Sanctuary is a magical home for elephants found deep in the jungle. The elephants are found in their natural jungle habitat, and you can spend the day playing and pampering them.

After a scenic hilly ride to the sanctuary, you’ll be welcomed by a guide, who will teach you about elephants and their importance to Thai culture. After you can enjoy feeding the elephants some tasty snacks, getting the chance to meet each elephant one by one.

Later on, you can give the elephants a mud bath by slathering mud over their skin, and no doubt yours too! Afterward, you all head for a bath in a cool river.

  1. Hug Elephant Sanctuary

Hug Elephant Sanctuary was founded by a group of locals who’s goal was to rescue elephants and give them a happier, huggier life.

This memorable tour starts with a scenic walk through the local forest to a tribal village. A guide will meet you and give you a brief overview of the elephants of Thailand. Then you will be given traditional Karen tribe clothing to wear.

You are then introduced in small groups to each elephant, where you can feed them snacks. The guide will tell you stories about each elephant. After a tasty lunch, you can bathe them in a local river and enjoy a mud spa together.

You can even volunteer for a week if you want a truly enriching experience.

  1. Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary

The Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary was founded to take the elephants back to the wild.

After a stunning drive through the countryside, you will meet a local hill guide who will inform you of the beautiful history of elephants in Thailand. After, you will be given your Mahout outfit and taken to meet the giants.

The first thing you’ll take part in is a mud spa. Next, you head to a forest area where the elephants can graze on bamboo leaves and grass. Afterward, its time for a swim!

In the afternoon you can also enjoy a traditional Thai lunch in the jungle. If you’re feeling fit, you can head on a short trek through the dense forest and finish the day on a lazy “river cruise” a.k.a a homemade bamboo raft!

Or if you want to spend more time with the elephants, you can feed them their afternoon snacks and learn all about the herbal medicine they make for the elephants. Either way, you’ll have an unforgettable experience.

  1. Thai Elephant Conservation Center

The Thai Elephant Conservation Center is Thailand’s only government-owned elephant camp. It’s cheaper than many Chiang Mai elephant tours and is visited by many locals and tourists alike. The conservation center is well known for its scientific research and preservation efforts.

As you arrive, you can see the elephants taking a morning dip in a local river. Then it’s feeding, social hour, and a forest trek. They end the day with another splash in the river. Tourists who are part of the long day program can have the chance to bathe the elephants.

They also do elephant shows, where they portray the traditional use for elephants in Thailand, moving logs and more. But don’t worry, it’s not a circus act. It’s more educational than theatrical.

Some of their programs feature bareback riding and a look around the elephant hospital. You can even go and spend a night camping in the jungle with the elephants and the Mahouts.

  1. Thai Elephant Home

The Thai Elephant Home rescues elephants from unhealthy working conditions and aims to give them a happier home. They also take part in jungle reforestation, educational scholarships, and several other worthy causes. They offer bareback Chiang Mai elephant riding also.

After a Thai breakfast, you will be given your costume and an informative lesson about Thai elephants. The Mahout will also teach you how to safely approach and command an elephant. He will also teach you how to sit on an elephant without causing it any discomfort.

After your training, you can enjoy feeding the elephants with fresh fruit. Then comes the best part, riding the elephant through scenic fields. After a trek together, you can enjoy a muddy bath in a local river.

  1. Patara Elephant Farm

For another Chiang Mai elephant riding experience, Patara Elephant Farm comes well recommended.

The tour is well known for its one to one “Elephant Owner for a day” package. The tour begins with a short talk about the history and science of elephants. They also explain some of their praiseworthy conservation efforts.

Afterward, you can enjoy an up close and personal look at the elephants. You will be taught how to build a trusting relationship and how to interpret their body language.

Once you’ve got to know your elephant, you can head on a scenic trail by riding bareback. The trail includes waterfalls and religious temples as part of the scenery. After that, you’ll enjoy a bath in a local river with playtime amongst other elephants.

  1. Baan Chang Elephant Park

Baanchang Elephant Park is another wonderful Chiang Mai elephant tour. It is a small family run park which comes across as a rural Thai village. Sixty people live and work with the elephants there.

The tour starts with a talk from an experienced Mahout who will teach you what it takes to be an elephant caretaker. You will then spend time learning the ways of a Mahout throughout the morning while caring for the elephant and taking him on a jungle trek.

After lunch at the camp, you’ll enjoy bath time with the elephants. They even have a baby elephant nursery and a place you can cook herbal food for the elephants. Activities vary depending on which tour package you choose.

Chiang Mai Elephant Camps – Which One Will You Choose?

So, which of the Chiang Mai elephant camps will you check off your bucket list? No matter which one you choose, you will have that once in a lifetime experience you always dreamed of!

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