One of the most popular activities in Chiang Mai, Thailand is elephant riding. Having been to Thailand 4x already, it was only during my fourth visit that I get to experience riding an elephant. It seems there were lots of things to do and explore in Thailand that it was only this visit I finally got the chance. Traveling together with my former boss, we went to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
A view of our train in the morning
The itinerary was to ride on a morning train from Bangkok to Ayuthaya and visit the temples and ruins. In the evening we would ride a sleeper train from Authaya to Chiang Mai thus arriving in the morning. The plan was almost close to perfect! We get to visit Ayuthaya which was a historical landmark as well as save money and time by riding on a sleeper train on the way to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai station
Finally, we arrived in Chiang Mai past seven in the morning. It was still too early to check in at the hotel. At the Chiang Mai tourist information center, we saw a good tour package which consists of a visit to the orchids and butterfly farm, visit to the long neck hill tribe, trek to the waterfalls, elephant ride in the jungle, white water rafting and bamboo rafting . Tour package cost 1,200 THB/person. There were still 2 slots available so we grabbed the opportunity and booked it. Since it was a whole day tour, we were picked up at the train station itself. Good thing there were shower rooms available at the station so for 5 THB, I was able to shower and freshen up prior the tour. I knew it’s going to be a great day!
Mae Tang Elephant Camp
It was a long dusty ride to the elephant camp. Finally, we arrived. I can’t stop the excitement from showing in my face. I have been wanting to ride an elephant in the jungle and this is it, I said to myself.
Here comes our elephant. Coming up close with an elephant, I feel so tiny in contrast with his hugeness. Good thing elephants are nice, humble and gentle creatures. Now it’s time to ride on his back. As to how passengers got to ride on his back, there is a high platform that people will climb into where elephants are asked to stand or kneel (depending on the animal’s size) beside the high platform.
The elephant beside the platform
There is a chair tied at the elephant’s back and as I sat on it, I feel like your highness, Joy the mighty queen! 🙂 To keep you off from falling, a steel rod is placed in front for security.
The elephant now started to walk accompanied by the Mahout (elephant caretaker). I thought it will just be a long boring flat straight path (like the ones I see in Bangkok) but I was wrong! First we went down the river bank (so elephants can drink) as you can see from the pics of others who were ahead of us.
Next we went uphill. You heard it right, we climb a small hill! I freaked out at first. I imagined that with the elephant so big and heavy, the soil beneath the hill will give way and we go rolling down the hills. Whew! As it climbs up and up, we were like panicking lol! I think we’re the noisiest amongst the group hahaha
Pic of the others behind us as they started going up
Too bad there is no monopod yet at that time. We could have taken a pic of ourselves too 🙂 Finally, we reached the top of the hill.Whew! What a relief!
The ride going home was now flat and steady and we also got the chance to feed our own elephant. I have been curious all my life to ride an elephant and it was mission accomplished. The elephant ride in the jungle was worth it!