Patara Elephant Farm is the perfect place to visit if you want to interact with some elephants.
It is important to watch out for the safety of the elephants as many places actually torture and exploit their elephants in order to make as much money off of them as possible.
Upon arrival at Patara Elephant Farm, we got to meet a bunch of friendly elephants just roaming around. Like this elephant who was just walking around with the treasure he found.
This selfie is one of the highlights of my trip. This baby elephant was extremely friendly and playful, it was so precious just running around leaning and lying on people.
There are many young elephants here at Patara Elephant Farm which shows that their methods have really been effective in helping the elephants reproduce. They believe that happy and healthy elephants create happy and healthy elephant families.
Before our activities started, we were given a short, informative and entertaining presentation about what they do here and what we need to be wary of if we were to visit other elephant farms.
Meet Neung, a playful 6 year old boy. We were matched with our elephants according to our personalities and I got to meet this sweetheart.
Upon meeting our elephants, we were given a basket of bamboo and bananas to win over their love. We learned simple commands like “Bon” which means up and “Di Di” which means good boy. No poky sticks were present throughout our whole time there.
It was really easy to get to know Neung. He was so excited when he saw the food I did not even have to say Bon half the time because he would immediately lift up his trunk and open his mouth. Such a Di Di.
It is sad to see elephants get forcefully controlled to entertain people. We learned how to tell a elephant’s mood before approaching and I think nothing can beat this kind of interaction with these magnificent creatures.
Whenever I was distracted or not looking, Neung would sneakily grab something from my basket. Spot that bamboo on his trunk?
After feeding, it was bath time! Before jumping into the water, we used some leaves to get rid of as much dirt off their backs as possible to make our job in the waters easier.
Clearly Neung was enjoying his back massage 😉
And into the water we went! I had to climb onto Neung and splash and scrub down his whole body right till his tail.
Not forgetting to wash behind those massive ears of course.
Even in the water Neung was really playful.
Next, we walked our elephants. Some of us choose to ride bare back while some of us just walked. Our route was around 2km long. It is important not to ride elephants when there are chairs strapped onto their backs as the structure of the chair is strapped extremely tightly around their bodies and is not good for their bone structure and their bodies. I read online that especially for pregnant elephants, the straps are super harmful to them. If you really want to ride a elephant, make sure you do it bareback.
It comes at a risk as it obviously is not as stable as if you were on a chair but ultimately, it is really your choice.
That’s Neung’s mahout!
Overall, I had a really amazing time at Patara Elephant Farm. Chiang Mai is the ideal place to go if you want to meet some elephants because of places like this and Elephant Nature Park (ENP). I highly urge you to search up at least a little about the controversy surrounding elephant tourism so you do not indirectly support the torture of elephants.
Anywhere that chains up their elephants and where they use sharp objects to poke or hook the elephant’s skin to push them to obey commands…. Do not patronize those places. Elephant shows are not natural. Opt for a more cruelty-free experience and spend your money supporting the right causes.