The elephant is very much the traditional symbol of Thailand, and has long been an integral part of Thai culture. These majestic animals were involved in wars with neighbouring countries right up until a century ago. They were also used extensively when clearing jungles for habitation.
Fortunately, the elephant is no longer a beast of burden, and those animals in captivity are cared for in special elephant camps that offer each animal a good life for the rest of their days.
Many tourists want to incorporate some time with these gentle giants while in the tropical paradise of Thailand. With that in mind, here are a few important aspects to consider if you’re planning to visit an elephant camp in Thailand.
- Choosing The Elephant Camp – As you would expect, some elephant camps are better than others, particularly in the way the animals are treated. It might seem cute to see elephants playing football or painting, yet these tricks are usually taught with the aim of getting tourists to part with money. There are elephant camps that are solely designed around the elephant’s needs. The best way to find such an elephant sanctuary is to search online, and companies like Exotic Voyages offers luxury Thailand vacation packages that include spending time at a reputable elephant camp, where you can assist in their upkeep and maintenance, rather than simply watching them perform tricks.
- Getting To Know The Elephants – If you decide to spend a few days at an elephant camp, you will be actively involved in caring for these amazing animals, and they do take some caring for! You will be able to clean them, feed them, and, of course, the highlight of the day is taking the elephants down to the river, where they love to bathe. Expect to get dirty when with the elephants, and don’t worry about getting wet, as your light cotton clothing dries in a matter of minutes. If you form a bond with a particular elephant, you can spend the majority of your time with that animal, and if you have never spent time with elephants, this will be one of the highlights of your holiday in Thailand.
- Safety Aspects – Elephants are very large creatures, and although they are generally gentle, you should always take the greatest of care when around these giant creatures. Listen to the mahout’s instructions when in the presence of elephants, and with so many different camps, it can be hard to know which ones actually treat the elephants as they should be treated. We advise you to book your holiday with a reputable Thailand tour operator, and they would know the best elephant camps. With a guided tour, you always have a local guide with you, even while at the elephant camp. There are informative articles you can find online on how to spend time in an ethical way with Thai elephants, which are recommended readings for those who are planning a visit.
Booking your holiday in Thailand with an established tour operator will ensure that you spend your time doing the things you want to do. With a guided tour, you have so much more insight.