Elephant riding has become an integral part of all tourists visits to Thailand. Well-trained elephants can be ridden through local villages and surrounding forests. The type and length of rides varies; it can be a half hour walk around an elephant village or tourist attraction, or you can book a three or five day trek through the jungle in northern Thailand. Some elephant rides can be incorporated into a long trek also combining mountain biking and rafting.
At Chiang Dao Elephant Camp in Chiang Dao District (Chiang Mai), elephants are trained to perform for tourists and available for rides in the nearby forest. Mae Taeng Elephant Camp in Mae Taeng District, offers bamboo rafting in addition to elephant-back rides.
At Chiang Rai, elephant riding is available at Mae Kok Elephant Camp on the bank of Mae Kok. You can take a ride through the surrounding forest and to nearby Karen hilltribe villages.
The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang offers an opportunity to eco-tourists to stay with real-life mahouts. The programme lasts three days and two nights. The provided activities are fun-filled and environment-friendly. The participants will have a chance to gain first-hand experience on nature, wildlife and, of course, elephants.
The Ban Ta Klang Elephant Village (Surin) home tour is designed to offer visitors an insight into the elephant related Kui culture and way of life as it exists in the natural environment. Of particular interest is the ancient Kui rituals performed prior to the capture of wild elephants, an art currently on the brink of extinction. The tour of the village includes a 3-kilometre elephant ride to Wang Talu, a point where the Moon and Chee rivers converge. Here as the elephants bathe and frolick in the river, the tour offers a panoramic view of the scenic landscape. Other attractions include the Elephant Study Centre and Museum.
Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, in northern Thailand, offers the real difference; it offers a three-day mahout course, when guests learn to “drive” an elephant at Anantara’s sanctuary. Learning the mahout commands, feeding and caring for and elephant and taking your elephant bathing before returning to the mahout camp. Pick up some elephant commands and explore the forests of Northern Thailand with Anantara Golden Triangle's colourful cast of gentle giants.