Remember when I discussed modes of transportation in Chiang Mai?
Well, I forgot one. A giant one.
However, elephants in Chiang Mai exist more for tourism than practicality. Locals told me that they keep the elephants just for visitors since they do not use them for work (lifting/transporting heavy objects) (they also said elephants would’ve been extinct if it weren’t for the income from visitors since it costs a lot of money to maintain the elephants).
HOW TO CHOOSE AN ELEPHANT CAMP GROUND: Local friends told me that certain camps treat their elephants better than others, so I made sure to go to an elephant ground that allowed their elephants to roam free (within a generous boundary) with keepers who feed them an ample amount of grass (these elephants eat approx. 200lbs of grass per day but wild ones could eat approx. 700lbs).
LML TIPS WHEN WALKING THROUGH AN ELEPHANT GROUND? When you enter the elephant camp, keep a 360 vision and make sure you do not get run down by an untrained baby elephant (who’s not so little).
Also be careful not to step into their dong (elephants are vegetarian, so their poop can be recycled into paper which happens to be quite popular with tourists).
LML TIPS ON HOW TO RIDE AN ELEPHANT? As for riding the elephant, bareback, stay as close to the neck as possible; elephants are so strong that they’ll barely feel your weight on top of them!
LML TIPS ON HOW TO SURF AN ELEPHANT? Just make sure to stay on the elephant… otherwise you could get knocked off and float away.
Cost of Experience? Priceless!
But in thai baht (money) it’ll probably range anywhere from 1,000-3,500 baht ($30-$100) depending on the adventure! I toured with Samart (aka Spicy Joe) of Next Step Thailand (and tried river tubing and bamboo rafting).