BAMBOO RAFTING AT CHIANG DAO
If there’s just one tour you decide to do in the Chiang Mai area, this is the one. This tour is highly recommended and is a superb day out and experience. By far the most authentic of the elephant camps in and around Chiang Mai, the Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre enjoys the most natural jungle setting. In present day Thailand, elephants are only used as powerful beasts of burden but in earlier times, they were a vital part of the King’s Army and played a very important role in Thai warfare and history. On this trip you will witness the traditional techniques still used in the training process. You will wonder at the delicacy and precision of such gigantic creatures in action. After a walk over the rope bridge, you will first encounter the elephants during their morning bathing in the Ping River. All clean and spruced up, you can have a closer encounter with them during feeding time, when you can buy bananas and sugar cane to feed them. Then it’s onto the natural amphitheatre for the logging display. Then we climb aboard the howdah on our elephant, 2 people to one elephant, for our 90 minute safari to the Lisu hill tribe village, trekking up through the jungle, and returning back up the river, led by the elephant’s mahout. You will need to swap cameras with people on another elephant to ensure you have some memorable snapshots atop your elephant. We’ll have lunch in the restaurant at the camp with a spectacular view over the river watching the arriving elephant convoys and departing bamboo rafts. After lunch we take a gentle bamboo raft ride for about an hour down the Ping River enjoying the lovely forest scenery, and brilliantly coloured butterflies, beetles and insects on the way. On the way back we call in at the Orchid Farm where you will see many varieties of orchids and hybrids in bloom, but also a fascinating demonstration of orchid propagation and cultivation. How they make the orchid and flower jewelry is also fascinating.