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“Incredible experience”

Ran-Tong (Save and Rescue Elephant Centre)
Chiang Mai, Thailand
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Incredible experience”
Reviewed June 7, 2014

This experience was everything my partner and I expected, and more. We researched camps that treat elephants humanly and we were very impressed with the Ran-Tong camp. No hooks/whips/chains etc. and we rode the elephants bareback. Each elephant at the camp has a mahout - which is the care taker of the elephant. We were told that they came to the camp with their elephants and usually stay with them for life. The elephants - as far as we could tell - were well taken care of and very loved by their mahouts.
We did the half day tour and that was enough for us (we fell asleep on the way home). The bus picked us up from our hotel at 7am and it took a little over an hour to get to the camp. Clothing was provided. After we changed, we met the elephants and then off we went riding our elephants to the river! We got to bathe the elephants in the river which was an awesome experience because we got to play with all the elephants in the water. Then we rode the elephants to the top of the camp where we fed them and then we ate the lunch that was provided, which was delicious.
Overall, we had an amazing experience and it was probably one of the best experiences of my life! We HIGHLY recommend this camp because the elephants were very well treated.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Megamooba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 review
“Highlight of our Thailand tour!”
Reviewed June 6, 2014 via mobile

Me and my boyfriend just did this course, and it was absolutely amazing! Our guides were Bas and Jennifer and they are very lovely and funny people who know a lot about the work they do. You can also see that they absolutely love the work they're doing. They answered all our questions in a really funny way :). The day was amazing, our mahouts were really friendly and helpful, the day was well organized and the food we've gotten was tasteful.

I can recommend this to everyone! Such lovely people and such an amazing day alltogether!

Thank Vera N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Humanely treated elephants which are happy and content”
Reviewed June 3, 2014

There were several elephant camps to choose from, so the first thing we did was ask if they used hooks or sticks, and eliminated those. One camp did not allow bareback riding (don't ever go to ones which use a chair platform attached to their backs!) but we really wanted the experience, so we chose Ran-Tong which was reasonably priced (another one was more than double, but also rated very highly), but because it's only been up and running for 2 years, was lesser known than their counterparts.

The pick up was prompt, and we had 13 in our group of which two were kids who enjoyed themselves immensely. The drive was an hour out of town, and the camp was located on the hillside. The elephants came out to greet us when our van pulled up, knowing that they'll be fed soon. We changed into the clothes provided and walked up to where the elephants were hanging out. We learnt a few basic commands in Thai, and was shown how to mount and sit atop the elephants. And off we went! We trekked around for about 1km (which took much longer than it sounds, coz the elephants moved slowly and would eat along the way, sometimes drifting off the path to find a juicy scrub), then we came back to the camp and had lunch (Khao soi and lychee, unlimited supply of bottled water). Since it was midday already, we took cover in the raised hut and had a very interesting talk with our guide, and I learnt so much about elephants in general and especially about the elephants at their camp. They had a pregnant mother and 3 potentially pregnant ladies (there was one very frisky male in the group), which is a sign that the elephants are healthy and happy, coz otherwise they would not even be interested to mate at all. Unfortunately one of their 1 year old baby elephants ran into the rice fields and ate the rice which containted pesticide and it died the next day. They suggested to the government that they build a wall to contain the elephants but that was flatly rejected, so now they have loose chains on the front foot to keep the animals within boundary.

We went for another hike with the elephants to the river where we bathed them, they looked so happy! Ours was waving its legs around and creating a big splash every time. It was one of those moments where nothing else mattered and you felt connected to these wonderful gentle giants like they were talking to you. Afterwards we went back to base camp and fed more bananas to the elephants (we were fed some snacks too), and it was time to say goodbye.

I was at first sceptical about elephants "camps" because they might be set up to attract tourists and hence not have the elephants' best interest at heart, but at Ran-Tong, all the elephants were either saved or rescued, or where the owners of the elephants could rest assured that their prized pet would be treated with dignity. Some of the owners are mahouts who live in the camp with the elephants, so they wouldn't put up with any nonsense from the tourists. This was the best part of my trip and I took home so many wonderful memories.

Visited May 2014
Thank Vanessa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Level Contributor
35 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Incredible experience”
Reviewed June 1, 2014 via mobile

The entire day was incredible! The elephants here have all been rescued and are very well tended. They don't abuse them, or make them do silly tricks here. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and clearly passionate about protecting these beautiful animals.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank shmbots66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“My best day of 6 months in Thailand!”
Reviewed May 23, 2014

We came to Chang Mai to come here. It was very ethical and just so amazing interacting with these very intelligent and well look after elephants. Thank you:)

Visited November 2013
3 Thank Lisa L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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