Trip Planner:   Asia  /  Thailand  /  Mae Hong Son Province  /  Pai  /  Wildlife Areas  /  Thom's Pai Elephant Camp
Thom's Pai Elephant Camp, Pai
(2.6/5 based on 280+ reviews on the web)
Claiming to be the oldest elephant camp in Thailand, Thom's Pai Elephant Camp lets you ride, play, and swim with its large and lovable residents. Choose between riding bareback or on a seat, although be aware that some experts claim riding the animals is harmful to their health. Beyond interacting with these gentle giants, this animal park offers elephant handling training, bamboo rafting, hill tribe visits, and other sightseeing tours. You have the option to spend several days getting to know the elephants, staying on site in the bungalows or camping area. Add Thom's Pai Elephant Camp to your Pai travel itinerary, and discover new vacation ideas by using our Pai tour planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I spent two weeks here as a volunteer and enjoyed it so much. I met the most nice volunteers from all over the world and also local people. Everyone is really open and funny and chilled. The elephants...  more »
  • We went here on a group trip to Pai. The owner Thom was wonderful and full of information. We got to spend 30-40 mins riding the elephants down to the river and got to get in the river with them. It w...  more »
  • Ok, i'll just tell you to go on any video explaining how elephants are train to be ride by human... That'll be way more quicker that any kind of review. Elephants looked so sad on the side of the road...  more »
Google
  • They beat and mistreat the elephants here, simple as that. My friend witnessed one of the handlers stabbing an elephant behind the ear because she didn't want to go in the water with the customers. He had a bamboo staff with a blade attached at the end and made sure to hide it behind his back in his waistband; as discrete and inconspicuous as the handler tried to be, my friend still saw him take multiple stabs at the elephant in order to get her to obey his commands. So unless you want to directly support the sad and disgusting mistreatment of these amazing creatures, avoid this place at all costs. Plenty of elephant sanctuaries outside of Chiang Mai have NO RIDING policies; go with one of those instead. Any elephant camp that has riding is a red flag that elephants are beaten.
  • Before booking our trip we seeked an elephant sanctuary to visit with the elephants. We messed up a couple plans and ended up booking to see the Elephants here at Tom's as we were running out of time to see them. The website read that they treat their elephants very well and when we booked the trip we did not realize by any means we would be riding the elephants or that they live their life with one leg chained except when used for tourists or to bathe them. I know based on things I have ready that it truly isn't good for and actually can cause pain to the elephants when they are used for riding. Anyhow, we arrived and realized that "Elephant Trekking" did indeed mean riding. It was a very awesome experience, don't get me wrong but the guilt I felt was not worth the riding. The Mahout(elephant trainers:each elephant has their own) had a lot of pride doing their job and were kind to us customers, but they would often smack the elephants with a hard stick to keep them in line and doing what they want. One end of the stick has quite a sharp poker. The ropes tied around the elephants for riding have some blood stain from cutting into their skin. This was not okay and just thinking that I supported this hurts my heart. If you are interested in honest places where elephants roam free, read reviews!! Websites often lie. I know that there are elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai that allow the elephants to roam free and you can feed and play with them. What I did enjoy was looking the elephants in the eyes, feet on the ground, feeding and hugging them!! Beautiful amazing creatures.
  • There are several elephant camps in Pai and I have no experience of the others but Thom's is very good. Prices of elephant rides seem to be very similar at 800 baht per person, but this is for an hour and includes a dvd of the ride. We just wanted our boys 8 and 11 to go and negotiated a price of 300 baht each with no dvd (the other camps refused to discount). The 8 year old pulled out when he discovered how high up he would be but later at the river with the mahout's help we persuaded him to climb up and he loved it. A Belgian girl and a French girl were staying at the camp and they walked along with us. As we chatted we learnt a lot about the elephants, The one the boys were riding on was named Ot and the mahout Not, The elephant was 33 years old but they live to 100 so quite young. She was a working timber elephant for 5 years but has spent most of her life with Thom's camp. Thom's was the first elephant camp in Thailand and has received many awards mainly because they love and care for the elephants. You ride bareback holding on the a rope while the other camps have seats which damages the elephant's back. They are kept in stalls at the camp while the others are on a short chain. At night the elephants are taken to the mountains to sleep. We walked with the elephant along the road with our eldest son on top way up amongst the trees almost. Then down to the river where both boys had a lovely time playing with the elephant, standing on its back, jumping off, being sprayed by the elephant. I think it is an experience they will remember all their lives. I have come across some people who say that Thai people are cruel to elephants and using them to provide rides should be banned. This certainly does not apply to Thom's elephants which are lovingly cared for
  • Check out elephant nature park if you want to understand why these poor elephants are being hurt for our amusement.
  • Great value and amazing experience.