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Elephant Training Camps

Elephants from the being have been the work animals of the Lanna kingdom and therefore a import part of the Chiang Mai culture.

 

The first journey a Thai King arrived in Lanna that being in 1927 and he was rode on elephant back into Chiang Mai  in a colourful arrival of a caravan of eighty-four elephants which included no less than 4 consular elephants of King George the fifth of England. On that auspicious event His Majesty was given a young white elephant from the OnTai area, White elephants are believed to bring great luck and fortune .

Sadly, the number of elephants still in the Thai jungles are  their numbers are decreasing as their natural range is being encroached by man and their very viability in the wild is believed to be in considered endangered. Domesticated Elephants are now only financially possible to keep  as tourist educational and entertainment feature in elephant training camps and even the traditional areas that welcomed elephants like Buri Ram can not support the numbers that the government has outlawed from the city and village streets that used to beg of food. Remember an domesticated animal is a life long commitment to look after and many have been raise as infants  by the original owners along with their mahouts who now own them. They are part of a extended Thai family unit so to say.

 

Mae Sa Elephant Camp
  Mae Sa Elephant Camp in the Chiang Dow Area is one of the oldest elephant camps in the Chiang Mai area. The elephant camp is at km 10 on the left side coming from Mae Rim to Samoeng  that is a  30 km from Chiang Mai. Each day at 9.30 am until about 11.00 am  the camp puts on a show for tourist that display forestry skills that were the  bead and butter of the elephant and Mahouts  livelihood. To day it is the entrance fees and  charges to ride for a couple of hours  on the elephants back, through the well worn trails of the elephant camps.  It may seem cruel or a sad to think that is all they do but without the income the elephants owners would not have enough money to feed the never ending amount of food they need.

 

Pong Yaeng Elephant Camp
The Elephants display of skills   may also be observed at the Pong Yaeng Elephant Center which can be found at km 19 on the same road. Here elephants display their skills for the enjoyment of Thai and foreign tourists alike, who may also ride them.

 

Taeng Doa Elephant Camp
This riverside camp is located at km 56 along Highway 107  and has daily shows starting at 9.00 am of elephants show, demonstrating skills used in yesteryear to stack and haul falled trees along the forest floor to the rivers or to the roads out of the teak forests. It also sells elephant rides and river-rafting in mostly untouched and serene forests, or jungle hikes to local hill tribe villages.

 

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