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Chiang Dao Elephant Camp

The Chiang Dao Elephant Camp was established in the year 1969 and has been known as the first elephant camp founded specifically in Chiang Dao Thailand Chiang Dao being a district of the Chiang Mai province that is located in the northernmost portion of the country. Since the camp is located in this beautifully verdant area of Thailand, you will experience a breathtaking view of the camp’s natural setting where the center is ringed by small yet alluring hills, naturally rich forests, and also the dazzling Ping River where thirty-two magnificent elephants rest in their natural home.

This elephant camp in Chiang Dao Thailand has extended and widened their group over the years and eventually, they have begun purchasing their own elephants to implement and realize their dynamic breeding program. The working schedule of the elephants at the camp varies compared to other camps in the country since their gentle giants work only during the mornings so they can have the whole afternoon and evenings for themselves, living normally and returning to their natural habitat to breed and function normally and naturally as possible.

If you are among those who are interested in learning about these magnificent beings, about how they live, work and function in their natural environment, then you are invited to this charming and fascinating Chiang Dao Elephant Camp in northern Thailand where you can feel and experience the life of these giants living in their natural habitat in the rich and verdant forests. Escape from the chaos and noise of the city life and enjoy a unique and extremely memorable moment in this beautiful spot in Chiang Dao Thailand.

At the elephant training center in Chiang Dao, you will learn all about these elephants such as their individual traits, characteristics, lifestyle, their nature, talent, and even their charm. Furthermore, you will also be able to catch a glimpse of the extraordinarily strong bond between these elephants and their mahouts, often becoming each other best friends because of this.

Doi Chiang Dao

From the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp, you will be able to witness the grandiose and picturesque view of the Doi Chiang Dao which is also known as the Doi Luang Chiang Dao. It is an extremely high mountain in the province of Chiang Mai and is also among the highest peaks that can be seen from the Daen Lao Range. The Doi Chiang Dao is a portion of mountain ranges of limestone which is about six kilometers away, west-northwest of the town of Chiang Dao; also, it can be located less than forty kilometers south of Burma border at the easternmost portion of the Thai highlands. The Doi Luang Chiang Dao, which is part of the Pha Daeng National Park and was previously known as the Chiang Dao National Park, can only be accessed for hiking if you have the required approval letter from the Thai Royal Forest Department. This permit must be arranged and organized at least two weeks before arriving at Chiang Dao Thailand.

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Activities at the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp

In a beautifully set area with a lot of woods and trees near the highway, the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp is situated perfectly in a spot that is convenient for all; the camp exhibits educational training demonstrations where you can view how the young calves are trained to obey the commands of their mahouts, work and interact with other elephants, plus how they are being taught to accept the mahouts on their backs. The camp provides a program called joy ride where you can spend about two hours riding, feeding, caring, and bathing the elephants in the area; furthermore, there are also riding tours that last for an hour where the journey goes along the river and the rafting area.

Elephant Training Center Chiang Dao

You and other guests can choose to take part in either the one-hour elephant guidance or training sessions that occur daily at around nine or ten in the morning; or, you can instead choose to enjoy a two-hour elephant riding program with a little extra on how to train, bathe, and also feed the elephants in the area. You can choose to begin the session at either ten in the morning or two in the afternoon, depending on your choice for the activity.


After enjoying a delicious and hearty breakfast, a handmade bamboo raft will be taken to the river for you to board and ride; it will take you on a ride down the river that lasts for approximately two hours for you to take in the beautiful scenery that surrounds the area. Once you disembark from the raft, it would be time for lunch then after indulging in delicious meals, the fun and excitement begins; you will be provided with safety equipment and gear for a great adventure of canoeing or white water rafting down the river rapids.


Yearly on the 16th of April, the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp arranges a traditional Lanna rite called the Dam Hua to show courtesy and respect to the elders during the new year of the Thais. During the occasion, elephants participate as well to be apologized to, thanked, and also given respect for the previous year of continuous friendship and obedience; this being a very important ceremony of the staff in this elephant center to pay respect and appreciation for all the gifts they have received.

The full ceremony does not really begin on the 16th day of April, and instead, begins on the 13th of the same month where gifts are offered to the local spirits for respect as well. Gifts that are given include alcohol, mieng leaves, boiled chicken, candles, local cigarettes, floral offerings, and also incense sticks.
This ceremony has always been private and secluded between the staff, owners, as well as the elephants of the Training Center in Chiang Dao Thailand since it is a moment for all to pay their respect, gratitude and thanks for all the success and blessings that they have earned.

Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao

There are a couple of options for you to reach Chiang Dao if you are currently in Chiang Mai; the trip is approximately seventy kilometers long and lasts for about 1 ½ to 2 hours if you are from the northern portion of Chiang Mai Old City.

Via Motorbike or Car

To get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao, you can exit from the Chang Puak Gate from the northern portion of the Square Moat of the Old City; from there, follow the Route 107 and you will eventually spot the English mile marker signs for Chiang Dao.

By Orange Bus or Mini Van from the Bus Station of Chang Puak

If you do not want to reach Chiang Dao via personal vehicle, you can opt for a ride on either the fully air conditioned mini vans or the available orange buses which are larger than the vans. To know their exact schedule for the trip, you can contact the Chang Puak bus station to inquire about the prices and departure schedule, but it is highly suggested that you instead ask a Thai friend or the receptionist at your hotel to make the arrangements instead, and book the tickets for you.

Arrangements by the Hotel

Some hotels in the area can help you with your transportation arrangements on your behalf so simply inquire at their reception or front desk and have them make arrangements for your trip to Chiang Dao.

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