Thailand - Elephant ride

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Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby irishmatt » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:33 pm

Hi all,

I will be travelling around Thailand in August this year and would love to go on an elephant ride, just wondering how to organize this? Is there anywhere I can book online now or would it be easier to sort out once I get over there? Also does anyone have any idea's about the price of this (in Dollars if possible!)

Also I have heard some of places where you can ride elephants don't treat them well at all, is there any truth in these stories? If so is there anyway I can identify these ones?

Many Thanks
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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby IndyGent » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:50 pm

Hello Matt,

If you are going to northern Thailand I can recommend the G Adventures Chiang Mai Hilltribes Trek.
Not only do you get to ride an elephant, you also go on a rafting adventure on bamboo rafts. The elephants appeared to be treated very well at the elephant camp that we hiked to. They are huge, very nimble, and gentle animals.
You may also get to visit Tiger Kingdom on the way back to Chiang Mai. This was an optional extra but worth it because you get to go inside the tiger cages and get photos taken of yourself, "up close and personal", with some big or small cats. The trainer is with you to take the photos and make sure the cat behaves himself. I have some pictures of myself with my head resting on a very large cat. ...Whoa! :D

All the best,
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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby cathy123 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:48 pm

Hi there, you will really enjoy your trip to Thailand! I did elephant trekking both in chiang mai and in laos. Make sure you book with a reputable tour group as we saw some horrible animal treatment with another group. if you get the opportunity go swimming with the elephants...fantastic fun!!! ENJOY!
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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby lies.v » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:12 pm

Hi,

I will be volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai this October. The park rescues and rehabilitates elephants that were once abused and tortured. The park offers day visits, or you can stay over at the park for a few nights. You will be able to spend time with the elephants, feed and bathe them. However, there are no rides at this park.

I would advise not to visit any parks that offer elephant rides, shows and elephants painting. To get elephants to accept people on their backs and to perform shows, they are tortured at a very young age to break their spirit and become domesticated.

The Elephant Nature Park is a fantastic initiative that only has the well being of the elephants in mind. You won't be disappointed :)

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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby IndyGent » Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:54 pm

Hi everybody,

Just a few more comments on the riding of elephants. I arrived at the elephant camp about an hour before the rest of the group so there wasn't any special show just for the tourists. One of the elephants had a rope around his foot attached to a log to keep him from wandering off. The elephant soon stepped out of it and walked around to where I was standing taking pictures. He got pretty close, looked me over and walked away to where the Mahouts (if that's the word for elephant guys) were having lunch. When the rest of the group arrived the elephants had a bath (who want's to ride a soiled elephant) with some of the group helping out with the scrub.
When it was time to start the Trek, the elephants were led over to a small platform that you stepped up on. The elephant was guided in close to the platform and we were told to step on the elephants head, not his neck, grab the Houda (bench thing - spelling?)and swing ourselves over onto it. There are no seat belts so when the elephant goes downhill you will wish you had Velcro pants.
Most of the guides ran alongside the elephants going "Hup - Hup!". The elephants were never poked or prodded and would slow down sometimes to grab a passing snack along the way.
I can't imagine what an elephant feels but it was my impression that they weren't having any problems with this routine. Elephants can be quite social animals and like to follow the leader.

This was my experience so make what you will of it. I just thought you might like to know.

Happy Trekking,

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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby cathy123 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:58 pm

Hey, your experience sounds very much like mine...I know exactly what you mean about the Velcro pants. Our elephants also stopped to grab some snacks from the trees and seemed very well treated. We also bathed the elephants in a river and they seemed to love it. However, at another camp, the elephants were being kicked poked, prodded and hit with hammers as well as having their tails pulled! Not a pleasant experience for anyone involved. Make sure you read reviews about the group you decide to go with and know that it's reputable. The volunteer centre above sounds good and seems to have the animals best interests at heart! Cathy
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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby atomlis » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:55 am

Hi, I'll be going on the "Southern Thai Delights" tour in a few days. From my understanding, elephant rides are a part of the activities you can choose to do. It's something I very much would like to try. Have you signed up for a specific tour?
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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby mojowp » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:06 pm

Hello,

We were really turned off of the elephant rides that we saw and finally decided not to go on one. However, I really wanted and elephant experience and got that at a place in Ayutthaya, just north of Bangkok.

They offered the rides in town, but we chose to visit the rescue and rehabilitation centre just 10 minutes outside of town. We got to play with the new babies and see the elephants bath in the river with their mahouts! This was all free except for tips to the mahouts and a camera fee at the restaurant.

You can see all of the information at the web site www.elephantstay.com
It's the journey, not the destination.

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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby lonnes » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:38 pm

Actually the back of an elephant is not built for a lot of weight to carry. The neck is the strongest part. That's why I would never ride an elephant on its back especially not in a very heavy chair. I once sat on an elephants neck and that was a great experience. Same with bathing them. That was at www.elephantsworld.org near Kanchanaburi. They teach you about the elephants, let you feed them and bathe with them, but not ride on their backs!
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Re: Thailand - Elephant ride

Postby taryn » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:03 pm

Hello,

In response to your question regarding the treatment of elephants that are used in elephant rides: It is not likely that you will directly witness any abuse of the elephants while riding them. However, the training required to get to this point of consent by the elephant involves abusive methods of training. Generally, this is achieved though the use of a bull hook and can begin when the elephant is quite young. As mentioned above, the elephant nature park is an excellent source of information on the treatment of elephants. In addition, it is against the use of bull hooks and offers an excellent opportunity to interact with elephants in an ethical way.
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