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“There are better places to experience elephants in the world, I though this place was a little contrived and upsetting as far as”

Jumbo Elephant Camp Day Tour
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
64 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“There are better places to experience elephants in the world, I though this place was a little contrived and upsetting as far as”
Reviewed January 23, 2013 via mobile

I spent a night here while on a trekking outing from Chiang Mai. The camp itself appears to still be under construction but the activities we participated in didn't seem to be abbreviated at all.

We were given the opportunity to ride the elephants up some sort of mountain trail which was admittedly quite beautiful- however the mahouts (elephant handlers) were aggressively moving the animals in line and occasionally hitting them which was unsettling- we then bathed the elephants in some sort of 'pool' which was cool but again quite forced and contrived.

It's cool to experience the animals if you never have before, that being said if you can afford it go to one of the elephants conservation places that are there, no riding or abuse, but close and personal encounters which will surely be memorable.

Thank Nimit P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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98 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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English first
Chambery, France
Level Contributor
150 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 193 helpful votes
“My first elephant ride”
Reviewed January 22, 2013

I registered to this tour two days before, without knowing exactly what I would get, for lack of descriptive information. I regretted that the "mahouds" did not speak English, and the apparent inconsistencies between what was initially taught to us by the van driver and what the mahoud was actually shouting the elephants afterwards. I enjoyed the experience, especially the ride in the "jungle", although it made my thighs sore. An 8-year old elephant is wide!

Visited January 2013
Thank Ruddy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gold Coast
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Really good value for money”
Reviewed January 21, 2013

This day trip was awesome. We were picked up from our hotel at 8:00am. Drove to the orchid farm where we had 15mins to look around. We then drove 40mins to the elephant camp where we fed the elephants bananas and rode them. Next we went into the village where we could buy hand made gifts from the village stalls. Next we stopped for lunch where we had traditional food made by the locals. We then did a trek to a waterfall which was really beautiful. Finally we rafted down the mae tang river. This day ended up being around 12hrs and we paid $30 Australian which is a bargain. Highly recommend this trip, was a great day.

Visited November 2012
Thank Lisa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Disorganized Outfit”
Reviewed January 19, 2013

I booked a half day at the elephant camp. I was picked up at 8 a.m. and taken to the camp's office in ChiangMai, where I sat around for over 30 minutes--wasn't sure why. Then Toi and Wit loaded a truck with some bags of bananas, and we finally got started. At the first pickup spot we waited for about 10 minutes, but no one came, then we went to pick up some other people and returned to get the people that kept us waiting. We stopped at a butterfly and orchid farm on the way. I was able to see only about 4 butterflies, but the orchids were beautiful. I think this stop is a waste of time. I thought all of the people on the truck were going to be in my program, but as it turned out, none of them were. They were all doing a trekking program. We dropped off four of then, and then stopped at a market so the three others who were doing the 3-day program could buy some supplies they needed for their trip. By the time we got to the camp, it was 11 a.m. I asked Toi, the manager, three times if there were going to be other people joining me, because I was supposed to be partnered with someone for elephant experience. He kept assuring me that there would be others, but there was no one else. So I was their only client for the program that day.

I waited around for another 15 minutes before I was given some clothes to change into. I talked to a group that was there for a trekking experience, and several of them were upset about the disorganization of their program. They felt they had too much waiting time also.

Toi gave me some brief instruction in the commands that are used to "steer" the elephant, using a small round table as the elephant's head. He's not a really good instructor, because he just "tells" and doesn't test you in any way to see if you understand. I'm in my middle years, so remembering 5 commands, all of which involve different Thai words, different kicks behind the elephant's ears, and different leg pressure, isn't easy for me to absorb in a 10 minute lesson. This, too, is a waste of time, because the elephant's mahout is who the elephant listens to. So it's about noon when I finally mount the elephant, and we practice the commands with the mahoot. I really didn't do much of the commanding, and I was adjusting to keeping my balance on this enormous wonderful animal. I was pretty nervous. My favorite part was feeding bananas to my elephant.

Then I had a lunch of spring rolls and curry. So it's about 1:00 p.m., a half day gone by already before the ride begins. I had already decided that I didn't want to spend an hour on the elephant, because it takes of level of strength I don't have in my upper body to keep yourself balanced and it was also very hot by now. I was supposed to bathe the elephant also, but when I saw the muddy pit where this is done, I decided to pass on that, too. Many people have said they enjoy this, but the place I saw doesn't look anything like the picture on this site.

After I changed my clothes, I waited around for another 45 minutes or so before we left to return to ChiangMai. We were waiting, I think, for the truck that brought us to the camp. We ended up taking a really old vehicle that had no air conditioning back to town, and Toi honked the horn at everyone that might have given a thought to coming into his lane all the way back to ChiangMai. I was hot and had a headache by the time I got back at 3 p.m. My discomfort riding the elephant shortened my experience by 30 minutes, as did my decision not to descend into the mud pit. Maybe others would be more comfortable wallowing in the mud and wouldn't be bothered by that part. Bottom line is that only about 1 hour of the 7 hour day had anything to do with the elephant. My half day program was more about waiting than anything else.

Toi is very knowledgeable about elephants and seems to really love them, and he's an interesting, educated man, but he's a really poor listener and not very sensitive to the emotional reactions his clients might have to the "elephant experience". I felt like my elephant was more tuned into my discomfort than he was.

Other points--my mahout didn't speak English, so communication with him was difficult when Toi wasn't with us. And, there's no toilet paper or soap in the toilet area.


Visited January 2013
1 Thank pxrising
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taumarunui, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Fantastic Day at the Jumbo Elephant Camp”
Reviewed January 13, 2013

We have 2 girls aged 9 and 7 yrs and were a bit nervous about taking them on this day. The guides however went out of their way to ensure they were as safe as possible. They had an experience of a lifetime and really enjoyed their day. 2 years ago we went on a different trip and saw the elephant painting and doing tricks. This was far better and, we felt, more humane. We would definitely recommend this to others. As long as you bear in mind that you get what you pay for. If you want a 5 star outfit go and pay a 5 star price. These guys are still starting up their business and yes it is basic but we thought it was good value for what we paid for a whole day experience. At no time did we feel that the elephants were mistreated. yes there were times when we were terrified, you're riding a wild animal so it would be silly to think that there was no risk. We did feel that the guides were in control and lunch was fabulous, even our kids enjoyed it and they were pretty hopeless elsewhere with Thai food. We received lots of photos as well from the company. Thanks Jumbo Camp & we wish you well with your future growth!

Visited January 2013
Thank Julia F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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