Elephant Camps near Chiang Mai
Concierge.com's insider take:
For centuries, timber elephants played a crucial role in northern Thailand's economy. The Thai government banned commercial logging in 1989, but the skills of these huge yet graceful animals are still displayed at tourist-oriented elephant camps scattered around the province. Pang Mae Sa, about 15 miles northwest of town, is the closestand most commercialoperation (66-53-297-060). At Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre, 35 miles north of Chiang Mai on Highway 107, the mahouts and their charges demonstrate more traditional forest talents (66-53-298-553). You can also clamber atop a howdah, or elephant saddle, for a rumble through the jungle. Tour companies usually include hotel pick-up and round-trip transport in their packages.