Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Chiang Dao Elephant Jungle Trek and Ping River Rafting Tour from Chiang Mai. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
Loved the small group of five. The elephants seemed to be treated well. The trek to the village was just a chance to shop, not to see their way of life. The rafting was very relaxing. The lunch stop was lovely.
Very fun and relaxing. Lunch was good. Lots of good photo opportunities with the elephants. Raft ride was a fun plus.
The english speaking guide and driver were very good. Thoroughly enjoyed the elephant trek, show and rafting. The elephants were made to do traditional work in the show rather than circus tricks, which was good. Recommended.
The elephant camp was the highlight of our trip to Thailand and fulfilled all expectations. We stopped at an orchid farm for a comfort stop and it also gave the opportunity to look at some wonderful orchids. On arrival we were just in time to watch the elephants bathing in the river. There was an opportunity to feed them bunches of bananas. The elephants then gave a demonstration of their skills lifting and moving logs, working as a team in various ways. We then went on our safari through the jungle which was fabulous, stopping at the hilltribe village before returning via the river. We then enjoyed an excellent lunch, my husband is a picky eater and this is usually the worst part of any day trip for him, but he ate everything put in front of him! After lunch we went along the river on our bamboo raft which was so peaceful and a perfect end to the day. The only disappointment was that we had to share a raft with another couple (who shared the mini bus with us from Chiang Mai) whereas everybody else had individual rafts. The guide said that Tour East had only paid for one raft. This meant that there was only one professional photograph available to purchase at the end of the trip (very reasonably priced in a handmade paper frame) and the other couple purchased it. For the cost of the trip I think individual rafts should be provided. The minibus, guide and driver were all excellent
Was great, well arranged and got to see a lot. Only criticism is that we weren't given much time with the elephants before and after the trek to feed or touch, it was all every do this and then this etc. as it was a elephant trip would of been good to interact with them more. But it was a very good day. Thank you
Feeding the elephants was so much fun! The food was great and the trek through the jungle was an experience I will never forget!
Tour well organised, elephant camp very charming, river tour was relaxing. Overall a nice experience.
Great tour, although we couldn't do the river raft as the river was up to high, the elephant ride was great, you cant ride elephants in Australia for that price, and great tour guides as well.
Definitely a "must do" if you're in Chiang Mai and looking for something to do. Guide picked us us being newlyweds from the U.S. on our honeymoon up early and even made another stop that I didn't know we were doing the orchid & butterfly farm, which was a nice plus since this was on the way and my wife really enjoyed it there. There were many more elephants there than I though which was cool and they seemed to be very smart and trained well. Food was thai and very very good, 5 stars for sure on the lunch. Riding the elephant was fun, but not too eventful and therefore made me drop the rating from 5 to 4 stars. Rafting was peaceful and romantic, saw some different animals along the way. Guide took us to the tiger kingdom after all was said in done too. Overall, a very good day. Kids would probably love it here, but not if they're afraid of large animals.
If the weather had been better, it would have been more enjoyable. Overall, a good experience.
Great tour, the guide was excellent, the Elephant Trek was great, and the bamboo rafting was peaceful and relaxing. The only disappointment was "The Hill Village". Nothing more than a display of buildings with vendors there to sell you souvenirs.
It was very slow, which I wasn't expecting. However, for those wanting the elephants and some scenery, or those wanting a tour on the slower, more restful side, then this would be more suitable.
This is a great experience, totally worth doing. My kids were laughing and learning throughout the whole experience. River rafting was an experience the kids will not forget, and the river is slow enough to allow everyone an opportunity to steer the raft. Lunch was great. I highly recommend doing this tour.
I was ok... kind of disappointing. You can't sit on the elephants, you ride in a basket. I had wanted to do the rafting too, but the water was too high so the tour guide tried to appease me by showing me other activities, though I really didn't want to (think monkeys in chains being mistreated :/).
Feeding, watching them bathe and riding the elephants was pretty cool. However the 'village', is totally staged. We didn't get to walk through the water either, that was the river raft. The food however, was amazing.
Nice view along river Ping, but the village was rather disappointing.
The activities themselves were ok. You get to ride an elephant through the jungle (on a chair, not bareback), see a hill tribe (or at least a tourist street fair version of one where the 5 people that are there are there to sell you expensive knick knacks), and ride a bamboo raft down a river (if sitting there staring at water for 20 minutes is really your thing). My problem with the whole thing was the passivity of the entire trip. This trip is designed for fat and lazy foreigners and you literally don't have to do much except walk between your different modes of transportation. The 90 minutes of elephant riding gets old pretty quick, especially when it's only broken up by 5 minutes in the hill tribe village (you can go through the 5 stalls in less than a minute, but we lingered for a bit...). The river rafting was the ultimate in boredom for our group of 20 somethings. We got so antsy we actually picked up the poles and started helping our guide push us down the river just to have something to do. Even they water buffalo they chased into the river in front of us were just a momentary distraction (It's like Disneyland: reset the water buffalo for the next raft!). My biggest problem with this trip though was that this same set of activities was available for a third of the price at almost every travel agency and "tourist information" booth in the city. The cab drivers and staff at most hotel desks also moonlight as tour operators, so you can literally book this anywhere for only $30. If you're trying to save money, just wait until you get to Chiang Mai before booking anything.
Though much anticipated, it unfortunately was not very worthwhile. We didn't get to go rafting and the elephant camp felt like a tourist trap. It didn't feel like their natural habitat. definitely not worth the money. I saw way cheaper tours offering similar activities. The tour operator was nice though.
The elephant show and trek was fun but the river rafting was too slow and maybe a bit too long. The tour guide wasn't really needed since the location provided everything and we hardly saw him anyway. We feel we overpaid according to what we got and what the locally available tours were charging.
I felt very misled about what would happen on this tour. The orchid farm is lovely, and you do actually ride an elephant and raft on a river, but the hill tribe visit is poorly represented. First off, you don't actually go to a village, it's just a market where the hill people can sell stuff to a captive tour group. Second, you do not eat lunch with them, despite what the description says.
The transfer and guide for this tour were fantastic, i was dissappointed with the elephants wearing chains and made to perform. The Rafting was great but the whole day was a dissappointing experiance. we booked to visit Ran Tong Elephant park the next day which was fantastic
I wouldn't recommend this to my enemies. We waited for an hour for a tour guide to come and pick us up. Eventually we called them and they said that they hadn't gotten our confirmation from Viator and that the tour had already started. Why would you send a payment and a confirmation email if the tour is not actually confirmed with the tour company? Seems very shady to me. I'll be staying away from Viator.
Only two hours of the whole day tour were spent doing what we actually signed up for. The elephant ride was 20 minutes long, not one hour, and we didn't even touch water, never mind wade down a river as advertised in the photo. The elephants were all chained up and didn't seem particularly happy or well cared for as advertised. The river raft part was pretty decent though. The tour guide tried to take us to every single shopping outlet possible on the way home, no doubt in an effort to receive commission. We ended up hiring a private taxi to get home half way through the tour. A complete waste of time and money.
Let's just say I ended up paying double for a car service to pick us up early. Little too touristy for my taste. Everything from the tour guide with a microphone to stopping randomly at orchid farms and other tourist traps along the way that we didn't sign up for and wasted a lot of time. Unfortunate because that was our main reason for going into Chiang Mai. Think if I were to do again I would choose to just visit one of the elephant rescue camps instead.