MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Elephant Rides, Baby Elephants and Elephants Bathing at the Maesa Elephant Camp

As clichéd as it is, we just couldn't visit Thailand without getting close to an elephant. We read about several elephant camps, some less-touristy which were further away from Chiangmai, offering more *authentic* elephant experiences where visitors get to "look after" an elephant for a few days and learn how to handle them.

Elephant-Seats

However, time and money was short for us, and so we settled for a simple half hour elephant ride at the fairly nearby (to Chiangmai) Maesa Elephant Camp. The camp was our last stop on a half day's worth of being driven around, where we also saw tiger cubs, snakes and shot some guns.

Elephant-Sign

The Maesa Elephant Camp offered more than just rides, with the previously mentioned multi-day courses available where visitors can learn more and train to become a "mahout". The camp itself is of course home to all the elephants there, but for visitors, less committed activities also include watching the elephants paint and play football.

Elephant-Grounds

Anyway, we were at the camp for a short ride around its grounds, so it was up onto a platform first to get high enough to climb onto a bench on an elephant's back.

Elephant-Passengers

Would you feel safe on a strapped down bench like this below? If it was good enough for an elephant, it was good enough for me.

Elephant-Linh-Seat

Once we were seated, a bar was placed in front of us like a fairground ride. As the elephant started moving, it was clear why we needed the bar, as its footsteps jolted us back and forth in the slippery seats. Much worse when it was going downhill. Lots of fun though, until I felt desperate for the toilet later.

Elephant-Ear

With each plodding footstep, we could really feel the strength of the beast and as it began its short journey past some greens, it reached over with its trunk to grab some. The mahout half-heartedly tried to hurry it up, but it didn't look like the gesture made any difference.

Elephant-Greens

Halfway through, the mahout kindly jumped off and took my camera to get a shot of us.

Elephant-Linh-Mark

He climbs back on by calling the elephant to lean down so that he can jump onto its face.

Elephant-Handler-Climb

Along the way, we saw this isolated elephant which was chained up by one of its feet.

Elephant-Isolation

There was also a stall selling bananas that visitors can buy to feed their elephant. We thought buying them meant we could feed her ourselves, but handing over the money resulted in the stall holder feeding a bunch directly to the elephant.

Elephant-Bananas

Elephants stop at a stream on-route for a drink.

Elephant-Drink

More greens were picked up along the way. This chap was following us with more tourists on its back.

Elephant-Greens-Bunch

We pass a platform where a mound of rice or bread (we couldn't see properly) awaits the elephant. It waved a pecking chicken away with its trunk before curling it around the mound to bring it back to her mouth.

Elephant-Rice-Bun

The final leg of the journey took us past the football pitch before we went back to the original platform to dismount.

Here's a video showing parts of our elephant ride.



Elephant-Football

Elephants waiting for a fare.

Elephant-More

Before our driver could find us, we walked around the camp a little. Linh bought some bananas to feed some elephants herself.

Elephant-Linh-Feed



Elephants Washing

At the time we were there, Linh and I were also lucky enough to see all the elephants and a few baby elephants, taking a bath with their mahouts.

Elephant-Bathe

Elephant-Baby

Elephant-Bathe2



As we left the Maesa Elephant Camp, we saw a massive board with all the elephant and mahout teams and their names.

Elephant-Name-Boards

Visit the Maesa Elephant Camp website


This entry posted in : Attractions. Thailand. Tourism.

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  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
03/01/12  at  06:19 PM
CCUUUTTTEEEE
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29/03/12  at  09:21 AM
I enjoy watching those videos and photos. Very interesting those elephants. I hope someday I can ride on it. smile
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