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Went to Chiang Mai especially for this - and we weren't disappointed!

Pretty much what it says on the packet! Except it was more about training us than the elephants... read more

Reviewed 31 March 2018
gawainagain
,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
One of the best days of our trip!!

I honestly can't recommend this place enough! We were slightly worried at first about going to an... read more

Reviewed 8 July 2015
Elayne93
,
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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Reviewed 31 March 2018

Pretty much what it says on the packet! Except it was more about training us than the elephants!

Things to bear in mind.
It's about an hour's drive to and from Chiang Mai to the elephant reserve. You are supplied with outer clothes for the day when you get there - so you don't have to worry about wrecking your own clothes! I would advise wearing a swim suit under your clothes and bringing a spare set of undies to change into after you've showered off. I wore swimming trucks, but had no dry undies to change into afterwards, so had to bus back wet!

Date of experience: March 2018
1  Thank gawainagain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2015

I honestly can't recommend this place enough! We were slightly worried at first about going to an elephant park incase the animals weren't taken care of etc. So we did a lot of researching before we went about the different elephant parks in Thailand and I'm SO SO glad we chose to go to Baan Chang!

The guides picked us up from our hotel and took us about an hour outside of Chiang Mai to their elephant reserve. I had read on trip advisor (some of the bad reviews) that there had been chains around the elephants ankles... the guide explained this before we even got to the park and told us the elephants are the same as humans, some of them get along, some of them don't and sometimes (just like with humans) you have to take precautionary measures. Also... the whole group of us that were there on that day chatted about how easy it would be for the elephant to break the chain if it really really wanted too, it looked so flimsy!

Ok! On to the actual day! We started by getting changed into our "mahout outfits" - I was gutted we didn't get to keep them they were so cool! They have lockers for you to keep any valuables in, which was really helpful and meant we didn't need to worry about anything the whole day. Then we went onto feeding the elephants, followed by our guide Woody (who was great and so much fun!) teaching us how to command elephants and we got to practice getting on and off elephants and taking an elephant ride round a short piece of the park (bare back, no chair :D!!)

Then we had lunch and time to chill in the hammocks - the food was really really good and we had the best pineapple in Thailand!!

After lunch we took an elephant ride in the jungle for about an hour, regularly giving elephants time to stop if they wanted too. And I think the best part of the day was getting into the water with the elephants to bathe them!

All in all, it was a great day for all the visitors and what was most important is that all the elephants at the park looked so happy to be there!

Date of experience: June 2015
2  Thank Elayne93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2015

We really did our research prior to doing a Mahout day with the elephants due to what id heard about animal welfare in Thailand and im really glad we did!! We were collected on time by our guide "Crazy Jimmy". We spent around an hour driving to the camp and on arrival we were given clothes to change into and encouraged to have tea/coffee and relax watching the elephants ram around with their mahouts in the mean time. After this we were taken to a large area with alot of elephants and given a basket to feed the elephants. We were given tips and advice to ensure our safety. The elephants at this stage have one foot chained to the floor, but this really is for your own safety. If your wanting to have close contact with elephants who have been rescued and had traumatic experiences, I believe it is unrealistic to expect to be in the midst of 40 of them whilst feeding the ultimate treats- banana and cane. After this we were taken to see two mothering elephants and their calves. We were requested to stay well away for the welfare of the calf and potential risks we could pose other wise and we respected this. Jimmy gave us a wealth of information and we were even able to see two elephants breeding in the distance whilst he explained the camps aim to rescue and care for elephants whilst changing the perception of them in Thailand.

We had a break and were served a gorgeous home cooked vegetarian lunch, if it was finished, more was bought, it was awesome. After this we sent some time lazing in a hammock watching the world- and the elephants go by.

After lunch we spent some time learning commands and practicing getting on and off the elephants before going on a trek. It was amazing, and I loved how your rode the elephants without shoes and without a seat. This was TOTALLY to benefit the elephants, and I loved that. Half way round the trek we all got off and the elephants had a break and again we were given more information and explanation of the work they do.

Following the trek, straight to the bath. And you could see the absolute happiness and content in the elephants faces. Being able to be so close to such beautiful animals was an experience I will never forget.

All throughout Jimmy made the day the best we could ever have expected. His passion and enthusiasm for what he does everyday shines through and he made it a first class experience for our entire group. The trainers do hold hooks, but people have to understand this is for your own safety. During the trek and the bath these elephants are unchained and the such big strong animals do have the potential to cause a great deal of distruction should they want to. The hooks are a precaution, you can see the great bond that each trainers has with their elephant and it has clearly taken a long time to achieve the trust of those elephants whom have been mistreated for many of their adult years.

I completely support what this elephant park is aiming to do. They want to rescue the elephants that they can and provide them with a satisfying life. The elephants get time unchained and are given regular dips in the big baths. I personally didnt like seeing the chains, but completely accepted that this is for my own benefit and people must be accepting of this. This park has spent huge amounts of money to rescue circus and street elephants and in my opinion the elephants are happy with the lifestyle they have despite having to put up with annoying tourists like me :)

Date of experience: January 2015
2  Thank lorean811
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2014

This was book as a day trip through our group tour with Thomson Family Adventure. Our Thomson guide called this one the best one. He's done other camps with other tour groups and said this one was the most fun. We rode the elephants bareback. Other camps sit on little benches or huts on top of the elephant. We bathed the elephants in the pond, which was a little gross with the mud and poop, but honestly a lifetime highlight. Nothing like getting sprayed by an elephant. We had a great time here and loved every minute of it. Great pictures, great food, great service. What wonderful memories for my family!

Date of experience: June 2014
1  Thank Thyme8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2014 via mobile

We booked the trip with this company the day before we went, having already been conned by the Elephant Nature Park (who took our deposit and then never picked us up and never issued a refund) we didnt get to really look into how it treated the elephants.

The guides picked us up right on time and we were pleasently suprised to find that we were the only 2 in the group. We drove up through the mountains to their base camp where we were given uniforms and masses of bananas and taught about the different elephant commands. We were also briefed on the bull sticks and why it was necessary to use them for when we ride the elephants.
We were taken to the herd who all came pelting over as soon as they saw the bananas, the guide took photos and we were slobbed over by 4/5 adults and a smaller young one. Another group came who were riding the elephants with the seats and as they all left one by one we were left with the smaller one who we were told was a bit naughty and still learning. Our guides showed us how to speak to the elephant and that we will notice the adult elephants dont really get prodded with the bull stick, they are old enough to know the command words. Our small elephant however was a little unpredictable and unsure footed, we rode him bare back and he would head dangerously close to the edges of the path (an easy 100 ft drop) just to try and get food despite my bags and bags of bananas and me yelling out my command words. I actually almost fell off several times. Luckily the handler was there to turn the elephant, usually just by tugging on his ear and only very occasionally prodding him with the stick when he was being stubborn.

We loved every moment of this trip. The long kneck hill tribe was amazing to meet, very friendly! The lunch our guide had made us was delicious, pad thai in a banana leaf. The washing of the elephant was fun although our young elephant only wanted to eat and not really be bathed so it was very short and sweet. The white water rafting was a great way for us to make it back to the base camp where we given coffee, a place to change and all our photos that the guide had taken (we didnt realise this was included, we have been on plenty of tours in asia where the expect you to buy them for obscene prices).

We came away with some beutiful gifts we bought from the hill tribe. We were completely worn out by the end of the day and have some amazing memories. Having read other reviews with other companies (especially the Elephant Nature Park where they take groups of up to 150 people) I am so glad that our first booking fell through and that we ended up with this company instead. And most of all I am glad that the elephants, although used for tourism are treated well, they get masses of fruit, so much attention from the guides and the visitors, and a fun muddy bath everyday before being lead up the mountain for the night to rest in peace before doing it all again the next day.

A very worth while trip.

2  Thank emwilli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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