Elephant Camp and Mahout Training

Mahout Training Chiang Mai

The quintessential Thai tourist picture is to take a picture while perched on top of an elephant. These endangered animals are often only seen from afar in zoos outside of Thailand but around Chiang Mai alone there are about 24 different elephant camps and sanctuaries. Each elephant camp has it’s own philosophy and approach in caring for Thailand’s national animal. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to get a closer look at elephants.

Elephants are an important part of Thai history. They are traditionally the symbol of royal power and were often used in battles to fight against invading enemies.  According to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, there are about 2,700 domesticated elephants and an estimated 2,000-3,000 wild elephants in Thailand.  Elephant camps or sanctuaries can be found everywhere in Thailand, Chiang Mai is the best place.

In 1989, the Thai government banned logging which put many elephants and their caretakers (mahouts) out of work. This caused a major problem since it takes a lot of money to feed and house a full-grown elephant that lives up to 80 years old.  Now the majority of elephants and their mahouts work at elephant camps to provide people an opportunity to safely interact with elephants.

The activities at an elephant camp range from elephant riding through the forest to watching these intelligent creatures paint pictures to watching an elephant show and seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural environment. The ultimate elephant-lovers’ activity is to join a mahout training course.  You can be trained by an experienced mahout on how to give command words to elephants, how to sit and ride on the elephant’s head like a mahout and have a chance to bond with these amazing animals while bathing them in the river.

The population of elephants in Thailand have dwindled drastically but these elephant camps and sanctuaries are doing its best to maintain and preserve these endangered species. So come and visit these unique animals in their natural habitat of beautiful forests and mountains in northern Thailand.