Previously a training centre for baby elephants, this
sanctuary has become the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, aka the National
Elephant Institute. It is considered to be the first mahout-training centre
in the world, as well as an elephant hospital. Here, there are many
veterinarians and mahouts ready to take care and provide medical care for
sick and old elephants nationwide, free of charge. Not only is it a research
centre studying the nature of elephants, but also an attraction for tourists
who want to have the ultimate mahout experience.
The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre provides home stay
accommodation for tourists who are interested in the program. Tourists will
learn techniques of elephant riding, elephant bathing, and elephant
training. They will dine with mahouts and exchange experiences with them.
Most importantly, they will also get to be a part of the elephant show,
performed daily for visitors at the center.
The program starts with mahouts taking elephants to bathe
and leading elephants to walk back in a row to the staging area; adorably
holding each other’s tail with their trunks. The show is followed by the
demonstration of logging techniques. Tourists will get to experience and
enjoy peaceful nature through elephant riding and trekking in the forest,
experiencing the lifestyle and culture of a mahout at the Mahout Village.
The show will end with the demonstration of recycling
elephant dung into fiber pulp, used in the production of dung paper.
Know before you go
Open daily from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. An annual event called Kantoke
Chang / Satoke Chang, the grand elephant feast, will be held on the first
Friday and Saturday of February. Mahouts will ride over 70 elephants down
from the mountain to enjoy specially prepared food in this event in a
Additionally, a religious ceremony, Hindu ritual and
Mot-Meng Spiritual Dance (the ritual of ancestor veneration) will be held to
bring luck and prosperity to Lampang province.
Recommendation: The mahout home stay experience should be booked with
the minimum of 7 days in advance.
Awards: The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre has received the Award
of Excellence for Recreational Attraction from the Tourism Authority of
Thailand in 1998.
Travel info: From Lampang, take Highway 11
(Lampang-Chiang Mai). Thai Elephant Conservation Centre is on the right,
between Km 28 and Km 29.
GPS location: N18° 21.52’, E99° 14.53’
Contact: Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, +66 5482 9333,
Facilities & services: Tour guide, home stay, food, restroom and