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“Best day ever!”

Patara Elephant Farm - Private Tours
Reviewed March 26, 2014

I'm not sure how the last reviewer and I went to the same place as I had an amazing day! I don't typically write reviews but in this case I felt I had to. We had a short explanation at the start of the day about what they do at Patara and a bit of information about the elephants and how to behave around/with them and then we were taken to our elephants! We were each introduced to our own elephant for that day and our elephant's mahout. My mahout didn't really speak English but that was fine because our guide explained about how to check the elephant's health status and whether they were happy to be working with us (my mahout was there to help me and keep the the elephant on track, without a rope, which he did well despite not knowing English). We hand fed our elephant then we gave it a brush and took it to the river where we washed our elephant in the shallow and then deep areas (my elephant loved the water and kept trying to submerge himself whilst I was on top!). We then learnt how to get onto the elephant and after doing so we went for a trek through the Thai countryside/jungle to where we had a fantastic lunch. We were given Thai pants to wear for this part of the day so that the short hair of the elephant wouldn't rub on our skin. After lunch we had another short ride along/through a creek to where we ended our day. My elephant was so cheeky and was constantly eating everything along the way! We also had a baby elephant with us all day as it's mum was part of our group (which was adorable as it walked alongside and underneath her mum all day!). I loved the day! I am glad I chose to support this group despite them being more expensive (I believe it was money well spent) and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing elephants in Thailand.

1  Thank Narelle79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 24, 2014

Let me first say that the MOST important thing when selecting an elephant experience anywhere is how are the elephants treated? Is it ethical or something you are comfortable with?

This criteria PATARA meets for sure, but then again so do a few other places in Chaing Mai (not all by any means!). After that you need to consider price and what is on offer. Now here is where Patara failed me, for starters it charges 3-4x its closest competitor (and by many accounts the better) "elephant nature park", the only difference is that there you cannot ride the elephants. And yes I know you will want to do that, but let me tell you its a horrible time, especially here with no gear on the elephant (better for the elephant)...everybody on the tour was wishing the ride was over and my partner had a massive rash for days from the elephant hair. i had half my skin rubbed off Im sure and was in a ridiculous amount of pain. Not fun.

Anyway the guide picked us up on time and took us to play with baby elephants before the main farm. It was a fun start to the morning but then they told us to stand on these stones and the WHOLE group got drenched by the elephant on command from the owners...many people had iphones and camera (including me) and was not a fun start to the day...a little warning would have gone a long way.

After this we went to the main farm and where told some basic (basic!) facts about the elephants in broken english while the guy is contiually trying to tell you how amazing there place is, and how no other place does this or that..NEXT! We were taken to meet 'our' elephants, where a big song and dance was made how they will get one to match you soul...I think it was really whatever one you ended up with, but I got an elephant which was nice enough to begin with, had great fun feeding her but my 'mahout' the elephant keeper of sorts couldnt speak english (unlike most of the others) so just did all the things I was meant to do for me as he couldnt explain to me how to do them. So much for being the keeper for the day (the main part of this experience)...this was a common theme all day, he couldnt speak to me so just did everything and made me stand back and watch. This continued when we had to brush the elephant, then wash it with a hose and then 'bathe' it...HERE dont be fooled by their deceptive advertising, they bill it as 'bath and brush your elephant in a river' and have an great photo of an elephant next deep in the river with a girl on top. THIS IS NOT WHAT WE HAD. We were made to wash it (or in my case watch it being washed as my guide refused to show me) in a pool on the farm, barely knee deep and full of elephant poo and dirty stagnant water. Not the idealised frolic in the river with glee sold to us, normally not a big deal but at this price, not happy. false advertising and a bit of a scam, not fun, felt filty. Then we were hurried on to our elephants and sent for a hour walk over the mountain path, a bit like a horse trek in that the elephants know where they are going and the path is well trodden. As I meantioned earlier it was very painful for me, and I believe for the elephant as mine kept hitting me with his trunk and spraying me with water. My mahout also lead the elephant by a rope, really boring. Then we I got there my elephant got muddy water, compelety sprayed me in it, and then as I hurriedly tryed to get in threw me forward and I fell a good meter to the ground. This was probably partially due to a mahout that couldnt communicate with me likely aswell. I had bruises on myself later and a few cuts, but was mainly just sore. After wish we had a lunch which was nice enough, lots of flies but good food. No waterfall here, a nice river which we were never taken to but I guess thats where we would have bathed them. After I was told we were taking the elephants a bit further so I reluctantly got on desptie my elephants protests, and again when I got off in 5 minute I was thrown off but lucky caught by another mahout. Not fun and was very scaried of this elephant afterwards. We were then given photos and taken home. We left the place at around 2pm, which makes me wonder why they start so earlier?

In summary spend your money somewhere more worthwhile, its is rushed and not very well thought out when the mahout cannot communicate with you and the elephants dont want to be ridden. I would much have preferred a more passive experience e.g. bathing in a river and just feeding and playing with the elephants. However as everything was very rushed there was snot even 15 minutes free time allocated to interact with the elephants without a goal. And this is what myself and the other guests would have really liked. Its expensive and not worth it.

5  Thank jadk001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2014

Easily an experience which will improve your life, I completely agree with reviews placing Patara at the zenith of their travel experiences. This is an exceptionally well organized day including hotel pick up, return as well as a very nice lunch. Even with children you will have no worries about safety - the staff is friendly, observant confident, very well informed. I am looking forward to a return visit.

Thank GSSATLANTA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2014

I agree with all the positive reviews, so i will just say that this place is very special. I actually bonded wtih the elephants, and miss them. But, I know they are in such good respectful hands. Please do not mix Patara with other places with similar names. This is the only one to trust with the elephants and your experience.
Thank you to Jack and his team!

Thank Esh H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 24, 2014

Four women went and we fell in love with Patera and the elephants! Its amazing! We also cancelled night safari after this because of how they treat animals. Patera is number one for a reason. I tried to donate once i came back home but shockingly, they dont have a link. Just another honest wonferful point!

Thank Traveling4Change
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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