Tag Archives: Ran Tong Elephant Camp

Riding Elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

By far, my favorite activity in Asia has been riding elephants in Chiang Mai.  I had one it before with my parents, so back in June when Michelle’s plans to go to Chiang Mai almost fell through, I jumped in as a replacement friend! 

Nothing like having 2 days notice and riding elephants, no?

I tried booking the same spot I went to last time, but they didn’t get back to me until after another place had replied, and being last minute, I had already paid the deposit, so we went with Thai Elephant Home instead.  (If you’re curious which place to choose, I compared them at the bottom of this post.)

Now for the pictures!  That’s the fun part no?

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Thai Elephant Home was considerably more expensive than Ran-Tong Elephant Training Camp, that I used back in January. And months later, I still don’t know which place I would recommend over the other.  There are considerable differences between the two places, but is it worth the extra money?  I’m not sure.

Ran-Tong was definitely more bare bones, more rustic, a much smaller company.  It was also 2 people per elephant vs one person per elephant.  The trail was shorter, and the spot you went to swim in the water with them much smaller, not fitting more than 2 elephants at a time.  At Thai Elephant Home, you spend all day away from camp, but it was a much more grueling hike (for my parents who decided to walk more than ride – they’re old and more afraid of heights, probably because a fall would do more damage to their bones than mine – Ran-Tong was much easier for them to tag along with us). 

At Thai Elephant Home you also took a mud bath with the elephants which was a blast, but to be honest, being covered in wet mud on top of an elephant who was also covered in wet mud, was not a good combo.  I was slipping and sliding, and while on the way there I was having a great time, on the way from the mud to the river (all downhill) I was quite terrified, as I literally almost fell twice (my elephant liked grabbing plants from the side of the path and the jerking of her body, just made me slip a lot).

At the end?  They were BOTH worth it.  I don’t think you can go wrong with either of the places.  And the lunch at both spots was amazing Pad Thai, so you can’t go wrong!

All I hope is that this was not my last time riding elephants. I think 2012 would be a year I’ll always look back to fondly: I rode elephants twice, went diving with sharks and manta rays in Palau, and went to so many new places! The year is not even over and I’m already nostalgic!

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Filed under Asia, Pictures, Travel, Travel Review, Traveling in Asia, Trips!

And what did YOU do today?

I spent the day doing this…

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And it was as wonderful as I hoped!  (And scarier than I expected – at least for the first few minutes.)

My parents rode them too, but only for the first ride (out of 3 total), and decided to walk the other times.  My mom is afraid of heights, my dad complained his butt hurt after the first ride (Karl complained of the same thing).  They enjoyed walking with the elephants though!

If you’re wondering why at times we’re looking down at other elephants, it was because Karl and I rode the biggest/tallest elephant there (a good 4 feet taller than the smallest adult one).  It was awesome, but I was totally terrified at first when it stood up with us on top!

We went to Ran Tong Elephant Training Camp, and I totally recommend it!  More pictures to come – we get a CD of pictures too, delivered to our hotel tomorrow!

This was a once in a lifetime experience that I’m definitely hoping to do it again!

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Filed under Asia, Pictures, Travel, Traveling in Asia, Trips!