Visiting elephants in Thailand is a very controversial topic, and we plan to write more about the seedy, dark side of elephant tourism in a later post. However, for this post, we just want to share our wonderful, personal experience we had at Patara Elephant Farm.
After months of research and several recommendations from friends, we decided to visit Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai and we are so glad we did! We chose to participate in the full day experience and we loved very second of it. We were at Patara for eight hours but the time flew by and it felt like we were only there for a short time.
Patara is located in the mountains of Chiang Mai and is about an hour drive from the city. We chose to hire a driver to take us to Patara and pick us up and would recommend doing so if you are interested in visiting Patara.
We started our day by meeting with a Mahout, an elephant care taker, and learned all about Patara, their mission and their elephants. All of Patara’s elephants have been rescued from a poor situation or were born there through their breeding program and are each taken care of by their own Mahout. We LOVE elephants so learning even more about them was really fun.
Next we were introduced to a Mama elephant and her two babies. It was a very humbling experience to be able to feed them their favorite foods (bananas and sugar cane) and be up close and personal with such special creatures.
After about an hour, our small group of six people walked up the mountain to meet more elephants. We were each assigned an elephant to take care of for the day.
During our visit we gave our elephants massages, checked a variety of things (including their poop to make sure they were healthy), fed them, bathed them, walked through the forest with them, fed them some more and watched them interact with each other the way elephants love to do. They also served us a delicious lunch of local staples like chicken, fruit, rice and coconut cakes. Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner stuck with eating the fruit and rice to be safe. A few of the elephants even joined us for lunch! Did I mention elephants LOVE fruit?! We eventually just fed the elephants all of our fruit and we all walked away happy.
Mrs. Honeymooner of course volunteered Mr. Honeymooner to help the mahout demonstrate how to check the elephants poop.
As you can probably tell from the photos, elephants love water and they love to play! We had so much fun interacting with the elephants and taking care of them. Patara was definitely one of the major highlights of our trip and we will remember our experiences there for the rest of our lives.
Tips for preparing for Patara:
Patara Elephant Farm only lets twelve people on their property a day, so book well in advance. We booked about eight months in advance and filled up the last two spots they had available for the entire month of November. To book, you can visit their website by clicking here.
We wore a bathing suit under our clothes and were so glad we did because we got soaked in the river. Make sure to bring an extra change of clothes to change into after your visit. They have clean bathrooms where you can change.
Wear flip flops because tennis shoes may get ruined.
Bring bug spray! The forest is full of misquotes so it is good to make sure you have protection.
Lastly, have a blast!
We hope you get to visit Patara too one day!
Thank you for stopping by!
The Traveling Honeymooners