After pickup by minivan from your hotel in Chiang Mai, embark on a cultural and outdoor adventure through the countryside with your guide. Enjoy a short scenic drive to the Maesa Elephant Camp, located just 15 miles (25 km) northwest of Thailand’s northern capital. When you arrive at the camp, located in Chiang Mai’s Mae Sa Valley, watch a demonstration of Asian elephants at work as they show off skills and move logs through the forest.
Learn about the history of Thailand’s elephants – once widely used for transportation and timber logging – and hear about the camp’s breeding and conservation program. You’ll get to know some of the elephants that are fed bananas, grass and sugarcane grown at the camp, and then have the opportunity to climb on the back of one!
Enjoy an exciting, one-hour elephant trek through the lush tropical jungle, riding over hilly trails to the Padong long-necked hill tribe village of Baan Thong Luang. If you’d prefer not to ride, your guide will take you by van to meet your group in the village, an approximate 5-minute drive from the elephant camp.
You’ll have ample time to explore the village of this hill tribe, which migrated from Myanmar (Burma) and retains its cultural traditions and customs, including the brass rings the women wear around their necks as a sign of tribal and individual identity. Your guide will tell you about the hill tribe’s subsistence farming and point out their unique crafts, including beautifully woven textiles.
Afterward, drive to a nearby orchid farm in Mae Sa where lunch is served at a local restaurant. Then, continue to the Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens, with time to explore the 560-acre (227-hectare) property and learn about the tropical plant and flowers. Near a mountain peak, see the gorgeous glasshouse complex – a highlight of the collection – before your guide transports you back to your hotel in Chiang Mai.