Elephant rides

Worth a ride

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

What we say: 3.5 stars

At present five elephant camps are huddled down near the hot springs. Most are very small operations so don't expect the large, highly-organised camps you see outside Chiang Mai at Mae Sa and Mae Taeng. Some people prefer the less touristy aspect but then again some bemoan the lack of organisation and facilities.

Each of these offer rides of varying lengths, which can often be done in conjunction with bamboo rafting, or as an added attraction as part of a trek or local day trip. Bear in mind that many people find that an hour and a half is plenty of time to experience an elephant, as the slow pace can get a little tedious after a while, and they're not the most comfortable ride in town.

An elephant carries two people on a wooden seat on its back, and walks at a slow pace through narrow paths in the jungle or by the river. Many animals have been trained to bathe with their passengers, can play football, pick things up and pass them to their riders, and will greet you (if you have food for them!). Some can even thank you in Thai afterwards.

Joy Camp has a good reputation though again there isn't a lot to choose between them all in terms of price and ride.

Joy Camp: T:(081) 881 3923, cciamchit @ hotmail.com. 300B p/p per hour, minimum two, or 500B p/p for two hours.

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