Ran Tong Elephant Camp
The Ran Tong Elephant Camp was developed in the year 2009 after the owners of the camp have rescued Boon Som, a blind elephant who was abused and maltreated by his own mahout. This gentle giant, after being treated harshly, overworked in the forests of Thailand, and injected with various amphetamines, was finally captured and saved where he was allowed to retire and live a much happier life in his new place to call home. However, it took the elephant some time before he could fully recover, so the founder of Ran-Tong, along with his family, attempted a fast recovery to get Boon Som out of his coma but it lasted for six months instead for him to get into a much better state. All of the large wounds that were found all over the elephants body was indeed a heartbreaking sight, but since the elephant was staying in Ran Tong Chiang Mai, he was thoroughly treated and given adequate vitamins and did everything they could to keep the majestic creature alive.
In time, Boon Som slowly regained his strength and started feeling better, displaying the fighting spirit and power of the elephant which soon became a huge inspiration to the Ran Tong Elephant Camps founder and his family; soon after, another elephant named Thong In was next to join the family which somehow became the start of their rescuing mission.
As time passed, more elephants were being rescued by the kind family yet maintaining a single elephant is already a costly task, so the founder instead, thought of turning all this into a business which was necessary to gain more funds for the rescued elephants they have taken in their property soon creating the most well-known and famous elephant camp located in northern Thailand, the Ran Tong Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai.
Ran Tong Chiang Mai Elephant Camp
Ran-Tong has been gaining positive feedback from locals and tourists alike because of the aid and input they provide for saving these amazing creatures. There are a lot of tourists who visit the Ran Tong Elephant Camp to experience interacting, bathing, and even feeding these elephants; something which acts like a form of therapy for these elephants since kind and caring interactions bring them joy and peace after suffering numerous times in the past. In the elephant camp, they are doing their best to educate tourists about what these elephants have gone through in the past while ensuring them that the people working in the camp do not abuse these elephants for business and entertainment.
Furthermore, they have confirmed that at the Ran Tong Elephant camp, they do not use hooks, sticks, or heavy chains to beat elephants for entertaining guests and tourists, nor do they use elephants to display tricks such as dancing and painting, or any unnatural activities that elephants would never do in the wild; moreover, they ensure that mother elephants and their calves are never separated from each other to ensure that their babies grow healthy and well, unlike in other places where the young are separated early from their mothers.
At Ran-Tong Elephant Camp, they make sure that all the elephants under their care have a better quality of living thus, providing them with an area where they can live in their natural habitat; with the right number of food and adequate amounts of water, the elephants can enjoy living their life to play and relax since their work only lasts for short hours daily.
Elephant Camp Programs
When you take part in the Ran Tong Elephant camps riding programs, you will need to bring a few items with you for the whole journey. Things that you will need include comfortable shoes and additional clothes that you would not really mind getting dirty or wet, soap and shampoo, cameras for you to take lots of pictures while at the camp, anti-mosquito sprays, and additional snacks.
Payment for these riding programs also covers the following; transportation from or to the Chiang Mai area, insurance, tour guides, mahout clothing, a few bananas to feed the elephants in the area, plus drinking water and meals for you to have during the program. Keep in mind that the camp does not pick up guests from private locations, and for those who are staying in hotels that are outside Chiang Mai will be charged an additional 500 THB per booking; kids below ten years of age will be able to take advantage of the camps discount.
One-day Visit Riding
This program will begin early in the day where staff from the Ran Tong Chiang Mai will pick you up from your hotel or guesthouse, then once you set foot in the camp, will soon start with the elephant school where you will be taught a variety of things about the camp and the history of its elephants. Once the briefing is done, you will take part in the camps mahout training where they will teach you basic commands on how to properly interact with these majestic beings.
When you have been taught all the necessary skills required for the program, you will start the adventure by riding bareback on these gentle giants; after the ride, you will take a break to enjoy some meals provided by the camp which will soon be followed by you taking these elephants to bathe in the mud. After doing the task, you will have some time to take pictures and say goodbye to these friendly elephants and will eventually be taken back to your hotel in Chiang Mai as the riding program ends.
Half-day Visit, Morning or Afternoon Riding
The staff from Ran-Tong camp will pick you up from your guesthouse or hotel then once you arrive at the camp, they will brief you with the necessary information that you would need for the ride, as well as the history of the camp and the elephants there. Once you have been taught all the necessary things needed for the activity, you and other guests will be given the opportunity to ride the camps elephants through the beautiful property then bathe with them after. Once bathing is done, you will eventually be taken back to Chiang Mai after you have said your farewells and have taken pictures with the elephants.
Half-Day Riding and White Water Rafting
Similar to the half-day visits, the procedure of the program is similar, except that after walking through the verdant surroundings with the elephants then bathing and playing with them in the water, you will have the opportunity to enjoy whitewater rafting in the afternoon; and after the rafting adventure, you will be allowed some time to take pictures, meet with the elephants again before the Ran Tong Elephants staff brings you back to Chiang Mai.
Two-Day Visits with Whitewater Rafting
The program is basically the same as the program for the one day visit, but instead of taking you back to Chiang Mai, you will be served dinner while enjoying a fun night at the camp.
On the second day, you will have a filling breakfast before feeding then caring for the injured elephants then once the task has been done, lunch will be served so you can all take a break before enjoying a fun time of whitewater rafting. After these activities, you will head straight to the camp to prepare for your return to Chiang Mai after saying goodbye to the elephants and staff in the camp.
Ran-Tong Baby Care Program
The Ran Tong Elephant camp is also dedicated to the recovery and improvement of pregnant, baby and injured elephants since their main goal is to rehabilitate, preserve, and conserve these magnificent beings.
In the following programs, you will be taught about their lives, behavior, and also how to create medicines while caring for them; and even if you cannot ride on these elephants, you will still be able to enjoy a couple of adventures that are featured for some of the programs provided.
You can choose from the following Ran Tong Baby Care Programs that you may want to take part in when visiting the camp:
- Ran Tong Baby Care Program – Full Day
- Ran Tong Baby Care Program – Half Day (Morning)
- Ran Tong Baby Care Program – Half Day (Evening)
- Ran Tong Baby Care Program – Half Day (Morning) and Whitewater Rafting
- Ran Tong Baby Care Program – Half Day (Morning) and ATV