Backpacking in Thailand (Part 3): A Day with the Elephants at the Ran-Tong Save and Rescue Elephant Centre

The main reason why we wanted to visit Chiang Mai was so that we could spend a day taking care of elephants in one of the rescue camps in the area. The experience turned out to be so much better than we expected.   

We went to the Ran-Tong Save and Rescue Elephant Centre because of the positive reviews we read about this place. Ran-Tong provides a safe environment for the rehabilitation of baby, injured, and pregnant elephants. They have several programs to choose from, but we went with the Ran-Tong Baby Care half-day program since it was the only one with available slots for that day. Activities include feeding, walking, and bathing baby elephants. They used to have riding programs, where you get the chance to ride bare back on adult elephants, but as of the last time I checked their site, they seem to have removed those already. They also have long-term programs wherein volunteers can opt to stay for a few months to really help out on a day-to-day basis. 

The elephants we interacted with were so cute and playful. They're definitely very comfortable around people and have adjusted well to their life around camp. It was a joy feeding them as they couldn't get enough of sugar cane (which, according to our guide, was more of a "candy" or treat for them). It was even more fun going into the water to bathe them. The kids who were with us had such a great time and just watching them interact with the baby elephants was enough to make me happy. :)

Below are some of our priceless photos. 

P.S. How cool are the outfits they made us wear???

Eliel in his mahout outfit
Grabbing some sugar cane to feed the elephants.
The first elephant sighting!
How cute are these kiddos?

Pooping machine
Eliel and the elephant poop
Hey there, cutie!


Bath time!
Where are the baby elephants?

Our snack after a "tiring" afternoon.
One of the centre's cats. 
Read about the rest of our Thailand adventure below:

Thailand (Part 1): Backpacking in Thailand

Thailand (Part 2): Chiang Mai - Walking Tour of the Old City, Doi Suthep, and Thai Cooking School

Thailand (Part 3): Chiang Mai - A Day with the Elephants at the Ran-Tong Save and Rescue Elephant Centre

Thailand (Part 4): Chiang Mai - Tiger Kingdom

Thailand (Part 5): Bangkok 

For more on our 16-day Indochina backpacking trip (full itinerary + expenses), click on the photo below.