Tour Spotlight: 1-Day Chiang Mai Elephant Safari and Long Neck Hill Tribe Village

1-Day Elephant Safari and Long Neck Hill Tribe Village

There's something about the word "Thailand" that conjures up exotic images of misty mountaintops, glittering golden temples, majestic elephants and charming rural villages. These romantic images aren't only reminiscent of a bygone era however; they live on in today's modern Land of Smiles. Especially in the northern part of the country, tradition and modernity, country living and urban comforts blend seamlessly together. Head just 30 minutes outside of Chiang Mai's city center and you'll soon find yourself among brilliant green rice fields, roadside food stalls, meandering dirt paths and rustic hill tribe villages. The wonder of Thailand is certainly still alive and well.

One of the most intriguing aspects about visiting Northern Thailand is the unique opportunity to visit some of the country's interesting hill tribe villages.

These proud people tend to live in secluded areas keeping to their traditional customs and ways of life including distinctive ways of dressing, farming and worshipping. By far, the easiest way to identify members of different groups - there are six major hill tribes in Thailand along with several additional smaller groups - is to recognize their different types of traditional dress. For example, women of the Akha tribe are known for their elaborate headdresses laden with silver embellishments and colorful tassels while women from the Hmong tribe are recognized by their clothing featuring handmade textiles that are intricately embroidered. A subset of the Karen tribe may stand out the most though with women wearing brass rings around their neck. These "long neck" women begin wearing heavy rings as young as age five with more rings added as they grow older. Instead of actually making their neck longer, the rings press down on their shoulders and collarbone giving the illusion of a surprisingly long neck. The effect is striking and certainly can't be seen many places.

Of course another draw of the north, and Thailand is general, is the unbelief chance to see and interact with Asian elephants. Elephants have played a long and important role in the country's history. A royal as well as national symbol, elephants were traditionally used for warfare and labor, respected for their strength and fortitude. Today, due to diminishing jungle, the elephants are endangered but still can be seen throughout the country at special elephant camps and sanctuaries. At these incredible places, guests from around the world have the once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with these gentle giants.

To experience some of these fascinating aspects of Thai culture in one convenient outing, it's best to book an organized tour. During our 1-Day Elephant Safari and Long Neck Hill Tribe Village tour you'll get to discover two captivating places, connect with the locals and create lifelong memories.

1-Day Elephant Safari and Long Neck Hill Tribe Village Tour

Starting the day, you'll be picked up at your Chiang Mai hotel and driven about an hour north to visit the Mae Tamaan Elephant Camp. Founded 20 years ago in the Mae Taeng District of Chiang Mai, the camp is home to 45 impressive elephants and also offers exhilarating bamboo raft rides. The day begins with a elephant show where these mesmerizing mammals show off for the crowd by playing football, performing tricks and even painting works of art.

After the show, you'll will ride your new elephant friend down to the nearby Lisu hill tribe village, learn about the local way of life, then enjoy a traditional ox ­cart ride returning to the camp. Restore your energy with tasty Thai lunch at a local riverside restaurant before boarding bamboo rafts to lazily float down the Mae Taeng River enjoying the peaceful ride while taking in the lush beauty of Northern Thailand.

Next up, visit a "long neck" village to witness the traditional dress of the Karen women who wear golden rings around their necks to create an elongated look. From there, head to a colorful butterfly and orchid farm to marvel at their exotic beauty before heading back to the city of Chiang Mai.

Tour Details

This tour runs from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily and is available for advance booking including hotel transfers, an English-speaking guide, all entrance fees as mentioned in the program, drinking water and a delicious lunch.

To learn more about the tour or to make a booking please go here.