Patara Elephant Farm

Patara Elephant Farm

“! This is amazing!” was pretty much all I could say during our time as “Elephant Owners for the Day” at Patara Elephant Farm.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions on elephant treatment in Thailand, as I did before I committed to the idea of riding an elephant, Patara’s belief of, “extinction is forever,” has propelled their conservationist philosophy and their pursuit of teaching tourists the proper and respectful way to interact with an elephant. Patara’s elephants have it made. Adoring tourists coming to their home, to feed, brush, wash and love them on a daily basis shows just how wonderful Patara’s elephants are treated.

So what does it mean to be an “elephant owner for a day?” Well, basically it means, you pay $175/person, to do Patara’s job for the day. Good business model? I think yes.

Step 1: Gain the trust of your elephant aka bribery – In order for your elephant to trust you and build a connection, you first spend time feeding bribing them with sugarcane and bananas. “Bon” is the command for your elephant to open their mouth.
Patara Elephant Farm

Step 2: Brush their backs -Throughout the day, elephants throw dirt on their backs to protect themselves from sun exposure and bugs, so before you can ride them, you must brush off the dirt from their backs to avoid friction and causing irritation while they carry you.
Patara Elephant Farm

Patara Elephant Farm

Step 3: Wash them – After feeding, brushing and giving your elephant water (and checking their sleeping patterns and the health of their dung – yes I purposely chose not to share those photos!), next you and your elephant jump in the water to wash them off!
Patara Elephant Farm

Patara Elephant Farm

Patara Elephant Farm    Patara Elephant Farm

Step 4: Your elephant’s turn to return the favor!
Patara Elephant Farm

Step 5: Getting up – There are multiple ways to get onto an elephant, and the method all depends on where the elephant was raised. Pang, the elephant I worked with, preferred the leg method!
Patara Elephant Farm

Patara Elephant Farm

Patara Elephant Farm    Patara Elephant Farm

Riding through the forest on our elephants was an amazing experience. Getting to travel to Thailand with the love of my life, and my parents AND getting to ride elephants with them is something I will never forget. I will also never forget watching my Dad and Ryan struggled with their elephants babies as they were paired with new elephant mamas. Those babies were so mischievous, sneaking bananas, and so clumsy running around! It was just hysterical watching the baby elephants get into trouble, and their moms saving the day – and Ryan and my Dad, struggling to manage through it!

I cannot more highly recommend Patara Elephant Farm when visiting Chiang Mai. I would advise booking as soon as you know you are going to Chiang Mai, as Patara Elephant Farm books up fast!


We are currently in Vietnam, follow along on Instagram!

LocationLOCATION: Chiang Mai

    • Thank you Carrie! Patara also provides video content of your visit! I wish I had had time to edit the videos too, but maybe for another day!

  1. Loved reading this and the pictures are phenomenal. Elephants are my favorite animal! What an amazing experience…now if I could somehow get to Chiang Mai…:)

    • Hi Sarah :)

      Thank you! Also if you end up going to Chiang Mai, you should try to go in November! That is when they have their lantern festival! It looks so beautiful!


    • Hi Sofia! You are so cute! I hate when the all CAPS catches me off guard! I am glad you enjoyed the photos :)

    • Alecz! I am so happy you enjoyed the photos! Well, let me know when you are ready to take the plunge of Thailand and if I can help with the planning in any way.

  3. Isn’t it such a great experience?! One of my favorite things I did our whole time traveling! I’m glad you went to a place where you take care of them verse riding them on a chair. I can’t wait for you to move back to bay area so we can just talk about all our adventures!
    Melanie @

    • I am right there with you Melanie! I actually just saw that there is going to be a blog conference in Fort Mason! We should go together!

    • Hi Eden!

      I was right there with you on being worried about the Elephant treatment. We saw one poor elephant in Phuket and he was basically being used to panhandle. It made me so sad. SO seeing the elephants at Patara after seeing that elephant in Phuket just reassured me Patara elephants were well loved!

  4. Awesome! I loved our elephant camp too, they treated the elephants really well and we had such a good experience. Seriously awesome photos, love that one where you’re hugging his trunk!

    Pink Wings

  5. Hi, this is avery touching post, I love to see that you are traveling with you parents as well, the elephants look amazing, I can only imagine how it could be to ride an elephant and take care of them, beautiful beautiful post and pictures!! Save travels.
    Glamoury Armory Blog

    • It was so nice traveling with my parents! I know I jam packed their time with us, and they would have been happy just sitting on the beach but it was nice we were able to do both!

  6. ”Gain trust of your elephant aka bribery” – that made me laugh. Really though, I’m so pleased the elephants are being treated with the respect they deserve and I’m so glad you enjoyed your time there (the first image in this post is fantastic!) :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

  7. Of all the places you’ve been in Thailand it’s THIS that I want to visit the most. I want to be an elephant owner for the day!!! Too cool.

    • Hi Shea!

      Oh you must go to Patara if you want to meet beautiful elephants. I am sure there are other places, but Patara is just the absolute best. But I must tell you, you have to wear the outfit I have on…no other choice haha

  8. This is amazing, Chelsea! It was my sister’s life dream to visit an elephant farm last year and she did that in Thailand. I’m not sure if it was this one (I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t know how big Thailand is) but the experience was like a dream.
    And I appreciate your education about how we’ll they’re treated. I love elephants so much but there’s surely a difference between visiting them at THEIR home, than seeing them in Springfield, Massachusetts at a small zoo. Not at all natural like what you described.

    • Hi Tamara,

      I am so happy your sister was able to meet elephants while in Thailand! Elephants are such a part of Thai culture and history, so I am glad she was able to share in that portion!

    • Thank you Alyssa! I am so happy we went, because it was a magical and beautiful day that I will remember for my entire life!

  9. What an incredible experience! I haven’t been to Thailand in a decade, but I’ll have to keep this place in mind if we go back–it’s not that far away, so we really should go sometime!

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