My friend and I spent the day at Patara Elephant Farm on March 15th 2012 and could not have had a better experience! While the outfit is not fancy, it is very professional. The day started with a very nice man name Ben who picked us up from our hotel. He pleasantly reminded us that we would be working hard that day and that we were there for the elephants. He promised to be a good tourist and take lots of pictures of us while we did his work. Within 2 minutes of getting out of the van we were standing with several elephants, including two babies playing together. They all looked healthy and happy and none were chained. The group was small enough that there were many more elephants than people on the land, which was very refreshing. The group then split in two and we were in a small group of seven people and we were each introduced to our own elephant for the day as well as the Muhat (trainer) that belonged with him/her. We learned all about what they like, how to communicate with them, and how to know if they are happy and healthy and how to help them remain that way. These gentle giants were so sweet and fun to get to know and having your own muhat to guide you helped you become comfortable quickly. The muhats english is limited, but they were all very pleasant and helpful and you were able to learn how to communicate with your elephant. The best part of the day was taking them into the river and giving them a bath! What a once in a lifetime experience!!! And it all took place just down from a small waterfall. After bath time we had a fantastic lunch served outside sitting on the floor of a bamboo structure. The layout was elegant and comfortable and there was a large selection of authentic foods from the area including several kinds of sticky rice mixed in with different things like beans and custard wrapped in palm leaves, fried chicken, local fruits (safe to eat as none had permeable skin), some kind of sweet dough wrapped around something salty, fried bananas, etc. I am a very picky American eater, and I was pleasantly full following lunch. I was also happy to see that everything that we did not finish eating was gathered up to share with the elephants. From here we learned how to get on to our elephant (the elephant does most of the work) and then we took them for a walk throughout the beautiful jungle. The exercise was great for them and the experience was unbeatable for us! All throughout the day the guide and the muhats were helping us guide our elephants, taking pictures of us with our camera and theirs, and videotaping the events. The also kept track of your bags and your shoes for you throughout the day. I never had a moment of worry about my belongings. We wore swimsuits and they provided us with comfortable clothes to put on (see my pictures) that the animals were familar and comfortable with, so it does not really matter what you wear over your suit as it will be in your bag most of the day. These men obviously loved these animals and I actually caught one giving his elephant’s trunk a big hug when he thought no one was looking. This was not a place where they trained the animals to perform or do tricks, they never chain or mistreat them. The focus is to appreciate how amazing these animals are, as they are! Each person left with a disc full of amazing professional pictures and videos from the day. This is an experience that I will never forget and already long to do again! We met people who had experienced the other elephant excursions throughout the area and I truly believe that we had the best day, by far. It is absolutely worth paying extra to experience this class act! I would have paid double! I have nothing bad to say about this day other than the fact that it ends too quickly! Enjoy!!
Package tour, http://www.mychiangmaitour.com/
- 07.30 am. Pick up from your hotel and transfer to Patara Elephant Farm.
- 08.15 am. Training session includes, hiking to find the elephant in the bush. Learn about elephant farm management and our breeding program. Train to approach and be near elephant. Learn to observe elephant temperament. Introducing to every of our elephants. Morning feed. Daily health care for elephant. Pregnancy test for elephant and care taking for mother with small baby. Train to unchain and walk your elephant to the river. Learn about elephant skin care and bath your elephant in the river. Instructed training to get on the elephant neck with difference technique, sitting on the elephant, basic riding skill and spoken commands for elephant Practice on getting upon and coming down from the elephant.
- 10.00 am. Bare-back riding session. Practice on easy riding trip within the farm and a short trip to visit local temple. Learn about elephant the Buddhism and the believe of the Thais people relate to elephant.
- 11.00 am. Setting of for a long up hill trip to visit waterfall for picnic lunch and refreshing in the water with your elephant.
- 14.00 pm. Elephant riding trip back to the farm for evening feed.
- 15.00 pm. Farewell and photo taking with your elephants.
- 16.00 pm. Transfer back to hotel