The Thai Elephant Conservation Center

Pachyderms at play

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

What we say: 4 stars

Northern Thailand has no shortage of elephant camps, but some have their conditions less scrutinised than others; this one is a good choice for getting up close and personal with elephants while being sure the animals are treated well.

Shows take place at 10:00, 11:00 and 13:30 daily and they omit some of the more over the top elements you can find elsewhere, such as football matches, basketball and so on, though they did make an attempt to introduce more pedagogic activities such as a demonstration of old logging techniques. Don't worry -- there are still cute baby elephants wiggling their ears.

You can also ride elephants at any time between 08:00 and 15:30 and watch the elephants being bathed from 09:45 to 13:30. Or, if you want to learn how to control an elephant by yourself, the centre offers a range of mahout courses, from a one-day course for 3,500 baht up to a full-month course for 100,000 baht.

Most travellers combine a trip here with a visit to the neighouring Lampang Elephant Hospital, though the two are not otherwise connected in any way.

Shows cost 170 baht per person; 110 baht for children. Rides start at 200/100 baht adults/children for 10 minutes. A shuttle bus around the place costs 20 baht per person and allows you to hop on and off at will.

More details
28km from Lampang
http://www.thailandelephant.org/en/
How to get there: Located between Km 28-29 Lampang-Chiang Mai Highway in Hang Chat, Lampang. You can catch a bus either way, book a roundtrip through a guesthouse or travel agent in Chiang Mai, or go by your own steam -- it's a lovely motorbike ride or drive.
Last updated: 4th January, 2013

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