Tag Archives: Thai Elephant Home

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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