Cuddling with elephants in Chiang Mai

A trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without elephants. But there are a lot of articles talking about abuse of elephants in Thailand so we tried not to support them by getting a tour from them.

There are a lot of options in Chiang Mai for elephant trekking, caring, bathing…etc. so I did some research and decided on Eddy’s Elephant Care Camping for half day tour.

Thailand Elephant

We were told that the pick up time was 7:30 – 7:45 in the morning and the farm is 1 hour drive from Chiang Mai. Somehow they called us at 7 am to tell that the driver came to pick us up. I think we did the fastest packaging ever and got ready in 10 minutes.

We were 9 in total and drove an hour at the back of the red trucks and arrived to the farm. They gave us some clothes which look awful but comfortable to ride elephants.

When we were sitting before getting taught some commands in Thai to use when we are riding elephants, some girls said that it was not Eddy’s place since they had some friends who had been there and the t-shirts were not the same colour. At that time I was sure that they are the same as Eddy’s place but later on when we sat back and check the brochure  we realized that the girls were right.

Actually even their Facebook page is called something else which we found out at the end of the tour but we were just so happy that we didn’t even think about it at that time.

Anyway, wherever it is, we had a lot of fun :)

We learned 10 commands in Thai to use with elephants. It is not easy to remember 10 words and use directly. At the end, I just could remember yoot which means stop but don’t think that it helped :) Elephant does whatever he/she wants until he/she is poked by mahout :)

After “learning” the commands, we carried some bananas and went to feed them. I had never seen an elephant that close and they are HUGE! I was really scared that they are going to eat my hand at the beginning so I couldn’t feed them properly. I was just throwing the bananas into their mouth, mostly even can not do that and banana falls down :) I think I managed to put a banana in the elephant’s mouth at the end.

Feeding an elephant :)

 Feeding an elephant, look at my face :)

Now comes the even scarier part: Riding the elephant. As I was already a little bit scared just feeding them, I wanted to be the passenger at the back and Markus the driver. Being that high on the back of an elephant was a bit scary at the beginning. I had a rope to hold but Markus had just the head of the elephant :) Some time later you get used to it though so it is not too bad. In the middle, we switched places so I was the driver. It was so much fun! The feeling of joy and fear when going down the hill to the river is hard to explain. I think it is one of those experiences that you need to experience yourself.

 

RidingElephants

When it comes to bath time, there was no fear anymore, just fun fun fun!

We brushed our elephant and watched how she enjoyed the water. We took some great pictures and had a lot of time to cuddle our elephant. One of the best moments was when the elephant fills its truck with water and throws the water back us when we are on it. It was pure fun and you can see that in our faces :)

BathingElephants

After bathing the elephants, it was time for us to have a shower and get ready to go back to Chiang Mai that we arrived around 1pm.

What is the name of the place?

Baanchang Elephant Paradise

How much does it cost?

With a discount from the hotel, 1200 Baht per person (Normally 1400 Baht) that includes pick up from hotel, feeding, riding, bathing elephants, water and fruits)

How far is it?

One hour drive. It is after Tiger Kingdom

How long does it take?

7:30 – 13:00

From 9 am to 11:30 we were with the elephants

What to bring?

  • Some clothes to change because you get really wet after bathing the elephants.
  • Some shampoo or shower gel if you like. (No need to bring towels as they provide you one.)
  • Waterproof camera (don’t worry if you don’t have one. You can also give your camera to someone around there and he will take pictures for you)
  • Sun cream

 

Are the elephants in good condition?

They are rescued elephants and I think they are looked after well. They seem very happy and healthy. And Bird is very nice person that takes care of them well.

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