Sunday 7 December 2014

Elephant Safari - A Popular Day Tour In Chiang Mai

The cheapest and most convenient option to see Chiang Mai's attractions is to join a group tour organised by its local travel agents. Day tours and half-day tours are readily available in Chiang Mai as it consistently attracts huge crowds of tourists the world over.

I decided to go for the elephant safari day tour package as I've done it in a previous trip and found it quite interesting. Furthermore Ron has not been to one.

For 950B/pax the day tour includes transportation to and from the hotel with the following itinerary: 
Elephant Safari At Maetang Elephant Park with a full package which includes
  (i)   elephant show   (ii)  elephant ride    (iii) ox-cart ride   (iv) bamboo rafting and
  (v) buffet lunch   
and a visit to Orchid and Butterfly Farm on the way back to the city.
By the way this elephant camp is located in Mae Tang which is about 45km from Chiang Mai city. It takes about 50 minutes to drive there and booking this package through a local travel agent is much cheaper than booking it from the elephant camp directly.

(i) Elephant Show
Before the show starts the elephants are lined up in front of the stage. Spectators can feed them, pat them and take photographs with them. The elephant can also do cute things like removing its mahout's hat and placing it on your head.

The elephants are very adorable and are trained to perform a variety of skills. Some humane foundation and animal lovers' societies are however not too happy about this citing reasons that the elephants are subject to too much stress during the training sessions. 
Among the skills demonstrated are playing dead,
doing cute poses,
 doing the back kick, playing football, basketball, etc
The most impressive skill shown is the ability to draw and paint. This elephant drew an elephant and painted a tree and grass.
It can even write "SUDA". That was awesome indeed.
There were four elephants doing the painting. This second elephant did an even more elaborate piece.
The finished work is taken to the gallery and are sold to interested buyers. Each piece costs about 1000B to 1500B.
This T-shirt with elephant painting is priced at 800 Bahts each.

(ii)  Elephant Ride
The elephant ride is quite an adventure.
The ride took us across a shallow river onto the edge of a jungle and crossing the river again before going back to the depot.
A couple of jerky moments we encountered.

(iii) Ox- Cart Ride
The short ox-cart ride took us through the charming countryside of Mae Tang. 

(iv) Bamboo Rafting
We sat on a bamboo raft which drifted in the direction of the river flow on a shallow stretch of Mae Tang River. Each raft sits 6 and  there were two raftsmen, one in front and one at the rear. 
Our raftsman.
Villagers selling bananas and fruits in huts built on stilts are commonly seen in Mae Tang.
Village children enjoying themselves in the river.

(v) Buffet Lunch
I was looking forward to lunch time and hoping some authentic Thai dishes would be served.

I must be hungry as everything tasted delicious that afternoon.
The banana fritters coated with sesame seeds is authentically Thai , I think.

After finishing all the activities at the camp we hang around to wait for other members who have not arrived. There were 9 others in our group, 6 Chinese Nationals and 3 Netherlanders. This is Miss Pu our Thai tour guide.
There are souvenir shops and coffee shops in the camp compound.

We left Maetang Elephant Park and made our way to the orchid and butterfly farm.

**There are a number of elephant camps that sell a similar safari package. Maetang Elephant Park may not be the best camp available.

My Travel Agent In Chiang Mai:
148/17 M 6 NONG PAKRUNG MUANG CHIANGMAI Tel. 0816032249 FAX 053398767

Click here to view all other attractions I visited in Chiang Mai:
Part 14: Exploring Wororot Market
Part 15: Maninarakorn Hotel - Review And Photos
Part 16: Where To Stay In Chiang Mai

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