Maesa Elephant Camp Chiang Mai Reviews
Nov 04, 2007
I'm sure you've seen an elephant at the zoo or a circus, so you might think that an elephant camp is much of the same stuff. But you'd be wrong. The Maesa Elephant Camp is something entirely different. The Maesa Elephant Camp allows you to get up close and personal view of the day to day lives of the elephants.
The Maesa Elephant Camp is nestled in the lush jungle just outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Its a peaceful escape away from the city, and the primitive feel of the camp only enhances your experience with the elephants. I can't give you any exact details of where it is, but its such a popular site that you shouldn't have much trouble tracking down directions. I'm sure there are plenty of tour groups that will drop you off there.
The camp provides a number of activities that will allow you to see the elephants in action. When we first arrived, we were greated by young elephants lined up and waiting to interact with the guests. You could purchase food such as bananas and sugar canes to feed to the elephants. The elephants are accompanied by riders at all times, which is comforting considering the size of the elephants! And if you happen to be wearing a hat, don't be surprised if one of these magnificent creatures takes it anyway from you!
After the playful interaction, we were treated to the opportunity to watch them bathe in the nearby river. If you've ever experienced bath time with children, then you'll get an idea of what bath time with elephants are like. So don't be surprised if you get sprayed with river water!
The Maesa Elephant Camp also puts on shows with their elephants. Some of the elephants will be led in by their riders in a parade like fashion. You can watch from the amphitheater as they perform tricks, play soccer, and even paint pictures. If your wallet is feeling too fat, you can even buy the painting afterwards.
There are a number of gift shops if thats your thing. Those shops are probably the most expensive part of the camp.
As I mentioned, I was quite impressed with the shear size of these creatures. So when I proceed to the elephant ride area, I was shocked at how much larger these elephants get. The camp has a large wooden structure that you can climb up to mount the elephants. Its much like boarding a rollercoaster at an amusement park, except you are boarding a live animal and there isn't much holding you in! The elephant ride was quite an experience and a must for anyone attending the camp. Along the way, the trainers guiding the elephants will offer to take photos of you with your own camera. If you don't have your own camera, you can purchase photos that they take of you while on the ride.
The camp also provides ample information about the lives of the elephants. I was quite surprised to find out that elephant dung is actually used to make paper. You can even purchase the paper. Don't worry, its been boiled and dried out numerous times. But still, its a bit difficult to come to terms with where that paper came from...
The camp also provides a training course in which you and others can learn what it takes to run a camp like Maesa. The course will show you how the elephants are trained, fed, bathed, and cared for on a daily basis. I did not get to take this course, but I imagine it would be an amazing experience!
You can also be assured that this camp is one of the most humane camps in all of the world. They take a lot of pride in how they run their camp. It is something built on years of tradition from the times when elephants were an essential part of the Thai lifestyle.
One last thing to note, Maesa was also awarded with a Guiness World Record for “the Largest Painting by a Group of Elephants” and “the Most Expensive Painting by A Group of Elephants”. Check out their website for more details!
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