ELEPHANT CAMPS IN CHIANG MAI – A Day in the Woods with a Big Friend


Who in the world wouldn’t want to pet an elephant? Many may fall in love with these massive creatures, seemingly adorable friends in the eyes of foreign tourists. Therefore, it is no surprise that a visit to an elephant farm is included within many dream itineraries.

Patara Elephant Farm’s mission is to contribute to the expansion of Thai elephant breeding. Every elephant here is taken care of amongst the natural green nature, the true environment where elephants belong. The elephants are individually tended to by their buddy mahout. The philosophy of Patara Elephant Farm is to encourage people to love this animal because they are a great contributor to nature, and rid them of feelings of pity or sympathy in relation to ideas of elephants being tortured. The ultimate goal of a visit here is to spend time in harmony with the elephants and feel their hearts.


From a tourist’s perspective, to own and pet an elephant for a day is a unique and exciting idea beyond most traveller’s imagination; how can a small human make friends with such a massive creature in a matter of a few hours time?

However, after a familiarisation session with the elephants, which is both informative and comical, visitors will be introduced to their own elephants through verbal and body languages, moving slowly until both human and elephant warm up to each other and feel comfortable.

The ‘new’ mahout will learn to climb up on the elephant like a professional mahout without requiring the carriage on the elephant’s back, a memorable and exciting experience to say the least.

Observing the health of an elephant from his/her body’s organs and learning how to give him/her a bath appropriately are also two tasks included within this trip.


When the human and the elephant are ready, the ride can begin with a final destination in mind of Namtok Kaeo Ta Chang. Enjoy swaying from side to side while wading through streams, uphill and downhill. It is indeed an intimate experience with nature and the animal kingdom. Upon arrival at your final destination, you will find your food nicely wrapped in banana leaves and a selection of seasonal fruits awaiting you. Following your midday feast, both human and elephant enjoy splashing water in the waterfall. A snapshot together with the elephant is provided to serve you as a reminder that once in a lifetime, you enjoyed the experience of owning your own Thai elephant, a temporary yet unforgettable experience.



Patara Elephant Farm: From Chiang Mai city, use Highway No. 108 until reaching Ton Kwen Intersection. Turn right towards Samoeng and follow Highway No. 121 until you arrive at Highway No. 1269 kilometre 29, the entrance to the farm is on the right.



Patara Elephant Farm
Experience an intimate time with elephants through a “being a mahout” programme, spend an unforgettable 2 days and one night with your elephant. Tel. 66 8 1992 2551, 66 8 1671 0958 www.pataraelephantfarm.com

Maesa Elephant Camp
Enjoy the talented elephant stars, riding on elephant back into the woods, see the elephant nursery, and visit an art gallery filled with works of art made by elephants! Tel. 66 5320 6247, 66 5320 6248

Maetaman Elephant Camp
See the elephant shows and enjoy an elephant back ride to see the way of life of the mountain Lisu people firsthand, cruise on a wooden raft along the Mae Taeng River, trekking for a short distance and enjoying a mahout programme Tel. 66 5329 7060, 66 5329 7283

Mae Tang Elephant Camp
Elephant ride and elephant shows Tel. 66 5384 4818

Elephant Training Centre Chiang Dao
Is where baby elephants are trained to become working elephants and transport materials, such as, wood. The training is open for visitors to watch. The centre offers a sightseeing service on elephant back as well, with short and long distance trips available (30 mins and 1.5 hour respectively). The elephants will take you to tour the scenic Ping River Tel. 66 5329 8553, 66 5386 2037

E.L.E. Elephant Camp
An ideal place for tourists seeking a close experience with the elephants. Visitors can learn to be a mahout and ride on elephant back while enjoying the stunning view of Mae Taman Valley and the riverside. Tel. 66 8 1724 4211

Mae Win Forestry Unit
Offers rafting and elephant back ride to visit 5 different locations. Mahouts will lead you to check out the forest, Hmong villages and Karen villages. The tour takes about 1 hour and is open to 2 to 4 visitors at a time. Making direct contact with the raft owner is recommended.

Sharing is caring!