I know there is an amount of controversy over how Elephants are treated not just in Thailand but all over the world, so maybe I’m a bad egg for saying this, but I absolutely loved my experience at Ran-Tong Elephant Save & Rescue centre in Chiang Mai. Now lets back up a minute, the sanctuary which I visited did not use any chains on the Elephants, they did not make them perform any sort of tricks, and in fact a large majority of the elephants that were there were rescued from circuses and poachers.
Full Day Riding Programme for 2500 baht (65ish Euro)
- hotel pick up
- information about the elephants and learn how the mahouts communicate with them
- feed and meet your elephant
- trek with elephant through the jungle
- lunch (where there is question and answers)
- bring your elephant for a bath in the river
After changing into my fabulous attire for the day and trying to learn the commands (which are a lot harder than you might think) It was time to meet the elephants, ours was Ramboo. I was struck by how gentle they were and all they care about in life is eating- we were best friends immediately.
While I did really love Ramboo there is nothing more cute than a baby elephant!
From what I saw at this particular centre there is no cruelty to the animals (I understand they should be left alone in their natural habitat but this simply is not the case) and they are very well cared for, and so they should be, they really are beautiful. I personally would say it is a must when visiting Thailand, it certainly was a highlight of my trip.