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Live, learn, ride like a mahout

Thai Elephant Conservation Centre

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 well-trained manner.

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, www.thailan
Facilities & services: Tour guide, home stay, food, restroom and parking.

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Live, learn, ride like a mahout