Maesa Elephant Camp is a privately owned elephant camp around 25 kms from the centre of Chiang Mai.Unlike many other elephant camps within Thailand which have been created primarily for profit, Maesa is all about the conservation and breeding of this wonderful animal in a natural & healthy environment.
Everything around the whole camp is very clean and well managed with concern not only for the elephants and their carers, but for the environment and surrounding villages as well.
The whole valley itself where the camp is located is stunningly beautiful,it’s an idyllic jungle setting with a waterfall & flowing river welcoming you as you enter. The whole camp is well laid out & signposted, making it really easy to get around, there are several rest areas, a restaurant, souvenir shops, museum & elephant art gallery!.
The camp currently has around 80 elephants and approximately 85 mahouts who care and work the elephants (the name Mahout comes from Hindu meaning”one having great measure”). Although the elephants are technically owned by the camp, most of them go home each night with the mahout to their villages.
The camp itself was established in 1976, and has grown steadily to now be one of the largest elephant camps in Thailand. The local villagers are also able to generate income at the camp by selling bananas and souvenirs to the visitors; one of the MANY wonderful things about the camp is how open it all is and how close you can get to the animals.
There are no barriers, walls or iron bars. Its nature right there at your fingertips. With no schedule, you can spend as much or as little time with them as you desire.
There are three shows daily 8am, 9.30am & 1.30pm; each show involves about 20 elephants and their mahouts and lasts around 50 minutes. They display a range of talents including dancing, musical performances, football, logging and lumber dragging.
At the end they parade around to meet the audience with a friendly hello. The show is fun, clever and illustrates how adaptable these animals are, but the real joy of the camp is simply getting up close and personal to them.
One part of the show to get especially excited about is the elephant painting. They create both abstract and realist pictures and it is strange and brilliant to watch. The Elephants definitely have talent and their own unique style;they even have a Guinness World Record for their craft!.
After each show their “works of art” are available for purchase, with the proceeds going directly into the care & maintenance of both the elephants& the local area.
The camp also offers elephant riding daily from 7am – 2.30 pm. It takes you on a beautiful route into the jungle, passing streams and waterfalls, while you experience firsthand what it’s like to ride up high on an elephant.
Maesa Elephant Camp provides an enjoyable,active life for theelephants with both their mental and physical health in mind and does pretty much the same for its visitors; it’s a great day out!.