My telling of our tour of Thailand continues after the day in Myanmar with a visit to the Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai. This area of the Maesa Valley is home to the largest domesticated elephant habitation in northern Thailand. What an absolute treat it is to walk along a beautiful trail, through a gorgeous forest and find yourself at this camp.
Visiting Maesa Elephant Camp
As you continue walking along, you come upon a beautiful waterfall area and find the elephants bathing there!
It is also where we first witness the close bond the elephant trainers (or mahouts as they’re called) have with their elephants. The mahouts truly love the animals that are assigned to their care. We were told they will usually care for the same elephant for all of the animal’s life and therefore, a strong bond is created between them. In fact, a lot of the mahouts love “their” elephants so much they take them home with them to their own village at the end of each day.
The money raised at the camp helps to keep the 73+ elephants they care for fed – something we were told would be impossible for the elephants to do themselves should they all be let out into the wild. There is just a lack of available food in the forests for them to scavenge on their own.
We were allowed to contribute more to the camp and take a ride through the forest on the elephants where we could learn about them individually from their own mahout.
Our elephant’s name was Billy and as you can tell he is a “one-tusked” wonder.
When Billy goes into musk he is allowed to roam the jungle freely during the day. But his mahout told us he always returns to the camp in the evening for feeding and care.
After our ride through the forest, we went over to the nursery area of the camp. The Maesa Elephant Camp is known for the birth of lots of little baby elephants which is a good sign as to the health (physically and mentally) of the elephants living there. There is also a full-time vet constantly checking on the elephants in the camp.
I was able to pose for a photo with these magnificent creatures (I know I look stressed in the photo, but actually, I was just a big cry-baby throughout this whole day in awe of the these beautiful animals!)
These elephants are also artists! We were able to actually watch a group of them paint pictures!
When they are done painting, you are able to purchase the elephant’s pieces of art to take home with you.
The elephants were also performers and very “entertaining” to the crowds. They were little “hams” striking poses and even kicking soccer balls around.
This stop on our tour was such a treat. I loved spending the day out in nature with these fabulous animals. Knowing our stop at the Maesa Elephant Camp was supporting the elephants there made the visit all the more meaningful.
The next stop we made on our tour was a couple day stay in the City of Chiang Mai. Be sure to follow along to see the fun we had there visiting the markets and even taking a cooking class in a beautiful Thai home.
If you missed the posts at the start of our recount of our tour of Thailand and Cambodia, please start here. If you’d like new posts to appear automatically in your inbox, please be sure to subscribe (using the box in the right-hand sidebar of this page).
Thank you so much for following along.