The Thai elephant has also played an important role in the life of the Siamese people. They were used as a useful means of transportation in carrying agricultural produce and dragging logs and timber. This has formed a close relationship between humans and elephants, originating an exceptional lifestyle and culture.
Later on, the government ended the forest concession to preserve the forest and environment. Elephants were no longer needed for logging. Therefore, elephant ecotourism was initiated. Tourists can experience the elephants’ cute characteristics and intelligence through various activities; such as elephant jungle trekking, mahout training, and many impressive shows.
Patara Elephant Camp: A memorable adventure with your new big friend
This green field in a small valley with a natural stream is a small elephant nature camp. This camp might be small in size, but it is big in heart, creating great happiness between humans and elephants living together naturally. This is not an open camp where you can tour or see elephant shows or ride an elephant into the forest. This place calls itself a “farm” because it is a place to teach the real natural life of elephants by encouraging people to realize the value and importance of elephants. Here they do not ask for sympathy but ask for true understanding of the nature and mind of elephants.
The highlight of this nature adventure is living and learning together with the elephant for a whole day with only a restricted number of tourists. Everyone will have an elephant of their own to take care of for the entire day. Prior to the beginning of the adventure, you will be told about the history of elephants and how they became the symbol of Thailand.
You start by learning the elephants’ name and how to communicate. You will learn how to observe the elephant’s health and how to feed and clean it correctly. You will also learn how to naturally ride the elephant as the real elephant keepers do (no platform). You have to know how to instruct and ride the elephant without hurting it. Moreover, there is no howdah (a seat fastened on the back of an elephant) which can cause an indirect injury to the elephant. You will have a chance to ride the elephant through the forest, water, mud and on a mountain trail, enjoying the scenic nature like a real elephant keeper. You will take the elephant to the waterfall, eat with it and take a photo together to have a good memory.
Know before you go: What makes the farm’s owner different is he really knows and understands the elephants. So he built this farm with his heart and will. The key of this farm is to breed elephants and protect them from becoming extinct. The farm also offers an elephant riding service for elders and the disabled.
Recommendation: This activity must be booked at least 7 days in advance.
Defining Experience: At the end of the elephant riding route there is a beautiful waterfall. Upon reaching the destination, everyone will picnic together in a real natural style; such as having meal served on a banana leaf. Then you can relax or enjoy playing with the elephant in the river.
Travel info: From Chiang Mai town, take Highway 108 and turn right at the Big C junction to Samoeng District. Continue along Highway 121, you will automatically enter Highway 1269. Then drive for 29 km and you will see the farm entrance on the right.
GPS Location: N18° 48.18’, E098° 50.32’
Contact: Patara Elephant Camp, +668 1671 0958, +668 1992 2551, www.pataraelephantfarm.com
Facilities & Services: Guide, food accommodation, restroom, bathroom, souvenir shop, transfer, video and photography services.