At first I had no desire to go to the Maesa Elephant Camp. I didn’t really want to go to any camp that made the elephants do tricks even if some of it seemed cool. However, my friend had been and assured me that the elephants seemed to be treated well and that it was a neat place to see. Plus they were going so I thought I’d join in.
The first thing we did was to see a show. During the first half of the show, I didn’t feel right about being there. They had the elephants performing tricks that weren’t natural and I felt kind of bad for them. However, as the show ended and I got to walk around, my opinion on the place softened and we did end up having a nice time.
The elephants paint during the show which is really impressive. They paint much better than I can!!
Here are some of the completed paintings! So impressive (and expensive!):
The elephants also play soccer (football to the rest of the world) during the show which my son loved.
After the show, you get a chance to feed them and take pictures. The elephants are quite smart: If you handed them a banana or sugarcane, they’d take it by their trunk then eat it. But if you handed them money, they’d use their trunks to hand it to their mahout (caretaker).
After that, we walked back to the nursery, fed mommy and baby elephants, and got to see a baby elephant that was only 20 days old. He was seriously one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Of course we couldn’t feed him as he was too little and still nursing from mama.
20 day old elephant:
We ate lunch at the restaurant there and upon leaving, we saw the elephants being bathed in the stream beside the camp.
All in all I’m glad I went. And I did speak to the kids about my mixed emotions on visiting a place like this so not only did they get a chance to interact with elephants more, they got an education on animal cruelty and exploitation, poachers, but also conservation and ways we can help the wild elephant population.
The official website for the Maesa Elephant Camp is here: http://www.maesaelephantcamp.com/en/index.php
Maesa Elephant Camp page on TripAdvisor
Hours: 7am – 2:30pm. Shows are at 8am, 9:40am and 1:30pm.
Cost: I forget the exact cost but want to say it was 200 Baht for adults.
It is located 20-25 minutes north of Chiang Mai city off the same street that has the turn off for the Four Seasons, Tiger Kingdom and X-Centre and bungy jump.
A map can be found here:
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