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Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

Eugene, Oregon
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Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

My husband and I want to go Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand. We are staying in Chiang Mai, but heard that the best Elephant Trekking is in Chiang Rai. Any suggestions? We want a authentic experience, and don't like all the fluff. Would it be best to book beforehand, or wait till we get there (Sept. 20-24), Thanks!

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Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
Colorado
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165 reviews
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1. Re: Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

There are two good places to go elephant trekking in the Chiang Rai (northern Thailand) area, both of which are very different experiences. There may be others, but if so, I haven't heard of them yet (there are a lot of options outside of Chiang Mai but they are of a different type of experience).

The first is in Raummit, which is a small village outside of Chiang Rai. It is a 20 to 25 minute car ride or a 60 minute long tail boat ride along the Mae Kok river. I have done this one numerous times. I usually opt for the boat ride to to Raummit and a car ride on the way home. The views along the river are beautiful.

Raummit is a "short neck" Karen Christian village that has an elephant co-op. There are no "shows" or "tricks" done by the elephant. You just arrive, pay your fee, climb the stair mount and off you go into the jungle or the river. You can do a short trek (an hour) or do a long trek (half day) and even take an elephant trek up to a remote hilltribe and stay overnight if you prefer (a lot of people do a hike back down from the hilltribe). I am in an airport as I write this and do not have the fee schedule available, but I think the elephant ride is about 400 to 500 baht for an hour. In any event, it isn't too costly.

The other option is in Sob Rauk, which is where the Golden Triangle is located. There is a resort in Sob Ruak called "Anantara." It is beautiful and the setting is gorgeous. The patio oversees the point where Laos, Burma and Thailand meet. Anantara has its own elephant camp. You can go down and feed or visit the elephants whenever you would like, at no cost. You can also book elephant rides and can book a half or whole day of "mahout" training, which invovles learning to give directions to your elephant, bathing your elephant, riding your elephant etc. Anantara is a 5 star resort and the experience is pretty pricey. I have not actually ridden elephants at Anantara but I have stayed here a few times and have visited the elephants and fed them. I have also talked to other guests who did the mahout training. They all seemed to love the experience.

Have fun with your decison.

Safe Travels,

Broder

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Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle
885 Reviews
Chiang Saen, Thailand
Laos
Laos
Asia
Colorado
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2. Re: Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

I forgot to say, you do not need to make advance reservations for either Raummit or Anantara, but Anantara does take advance reservations.

Broder

Eugene, Oregon
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3. Re: Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

Wow! This was EXACTLY what I needed! Thank you very much for this great information!!! It sounds like you have had some great travels in Thailand. I look forward to our trip soon, very much!

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Colorado
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4. Re: Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

Ashley:

You might also want to look at the FAQ section in the upper right hand corner of the Chiang Rai forum page and click on the link to "Top 30 List" to see other adventures you might enjoy in Chiang Rai and the area surrounding it.

Safe Travels,

Broder

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Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
5. Re: Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

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Colorado
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6. Re: Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

Here is an excerpt on the elephant riding at Raummit, on a mid October 2011 post I did of a day down the Me Kok river to Ruammit. It might help you determine if this is the right option for you. However, do be advised that we requested a more "adventurous" ride. You can definitely do the "mild" version of an elephant ride at Ruammit and just go down the dirt streets of the village and surrounging area or into the shallow part of the river.

"I had asked our guide Jermsak to have the mahouts take us on an elephant ride that would not be on the “beaten path, “ but which would instead go through the heart of the jungle. My travel mates have guaranteed me that Jermsak was successful in meeting my wishes. There were conversations about whose elephant got closest the edge of the longest drop off, whose ate the biggest tree and whose went at the sharpest angle up or down a muddy incline. There had been recent rains in Chiang Rai, so erosion had created some muddy situations. It seems two of our travel mates elephant was determined to take the lead, which meant their mahout was armed with a machete, cutting down the branches and vines hanging from the jungle. Two other travelmates had the “rogue” elephant, who was determined to go off in its own direction to the edge of every drop off. I and my travel mate were on the elephant that had the “elephant whisperer” for a mahout. Our elephant gently lifted our mahout up and down on his trunk by voice commands and picked up the rear of the pack. We were pretty certain our elephant sensed that we needed to slow our pace down. My travel mate, the brave one in the group, got out of the basket and rode on the elephant’s neck up one of the steepest, muddiest inclines. There was a point where we stopped, looked around, and took in the beauty of being on an elephant in the middle of a jungle, surrounded by silence. It was one of those moments that will forever be engraved in a person’s mind."

Safe Travels,

Broder

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Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
7. Re: Best place for Elephant Trekking in Northern Thailand?

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Removed on: 31 October 2012, 05:16