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Visit an Elephant Camp!

March 4th, 2012 • by Sandy Zimmerman

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Visit an Elephant Camp!



















By Sandy Zimmerman

(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

There is something serene about getting away into the rain forests and being surrounded by nature. My tour stopped at the Mai Taeng Elephant Camp, just 30 miles from Chiang Mai. Getting on the elephant is easy as long as there is a stairway that reaches to the top of the elephant. Of course the Mahout, elephant trainer, climbs up the traditional ways. The seats for two are tied tightly around the elephant yet it was still a little bumpy. The Mahout usually sat behind the elephant's head and guided the elephant as we rode around the forest and then into the river.    

Sally, one of the volunteers who raises money for "elephant art work", explained, "We have six very talented elephants that like to paint and the artwork funds their own medical care."  Yes, you heard right, elephant artists! Sally added, "The elephant's art is painted on dung paper, silk, cotton and canvas to appear on jackets, dresses, purses, and other personal items. The dung paper is recycled from elephant dung, shoveled, boiled several times, screened and dried. There are shoe and handbag designers who specialize in elephant paintings. This money was being raised to build a free hospital to help 500 elephants in the region with a full time vet and an assistant vet."

 From early times, elephants had always been very important to the community and were part of their way of life. Many of these people from the local villagers and the Mahout's families are employed in the different elephant camps, restaurants, bamboo raft trips, ox cart rides, elephant treks, making handicrafts, and in other businesses.

The Mahouts are a mixture of Burmese and Thai heritage. These elephant training traditions have been handed down from father to son as the boy grows up with his elephant. Today there are elephant training schools for new Mahouts.

The Mai Taeng Elephant Camp is an exciting way to experience life in the camp. For only one price visitors can indulge in an elephant trek, bamboo raft trip, ox cart ride, elephant show, and other fun activities. This is a great way to "meet the people" and experience their culture.



Do you want a cooking tour of Thailand or perhaps a visit to experience their culture? There are so many ways to see Thailand and they will assist you in your choice of theme tours.

Would you like to find unique settings for weddings and honeymoons, couple's hideaways, adventure, meet-the-people tours, family fun, Thai cooking lessons, luxury or reasonable resorts, restaurants, nightclubs, trekking, elephant safaris, theme tours, attractions, places for meetings, and more!   Whatever your interest or reason for traveling Tourism Authority Thailand can provide information and suggestions.


For information, call (800)-426-5204.

Sandy Zimmerman is a syndicated Show and Dining Reviewer, travel journalist, photographer, and talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show and Discover the Ultimate Vacation travel specials. She is published in Dubai, Japan, England, South America, and other countries in addition to the United States.