Walking with Elephants - Packages

Mahouts elephant foundation are proud to offer you an opportunity to visit a remote Karen hill tribe village to see elephants living deep in the forest.

Following our very successful walk HOME in 2015, we have been able to provide our elephants with the freedom to wander freely deep in the forests surrounding the village in northern Thailand. We are able to provide our guests with the unique opportunity to observe our elephants in their natural habitat and to experience living within a Karen hill tribe community, observing and learning about their ancient and fascinating culture.

Mahouts Elephant Foundation is thrilled to be offering unique opportunities where you will be welcomed into the very center of a Karen hill tribe community. Residing in the heart of the village, you can see for yourself how your host families live and work; sharing stories and creating lifelong memories. Karen people are proud of their culture and happily demonstrate their traditional skills such as; weaving brightly coloured cloth and basket making with you.

Of course the highlight will be spending time with the elephants our project currently sponsors, who have been rescued from a life of work in trekking camps.

Mahouts Elephant Foundation are providing financial support to the Karen hill tribe mahouts, enabling them to remain in their village home, to look after their elephants with the highest welfare standards in the forest surrounding the village.

We are passionate about the elephants staying as deep in this beautiful forest as possible. Keeping them safe in the forest prevents them roaming into farmers fields and eating their crops, risking being shot or poisoned. The elephants are left to forage and wander freely through the forest. Their mahouts will go to check on them everyday, to ensure they are safe, happy and so that they don’t wander too far from their forest home.

The trek out into the forest takes us on a journey through our elephants home, surrounded by beautiful lush vegetation, native fauna and flowing rivers. The mahouts are of course very experienced at living in the forest and they always take very good care of their guests. It is fascinating to watch the mahouts at home in their forest and using its resources to live off the land.

The Karenhill tribe are generous, friendly and hospitable, butwestill have English-speaking guides with us throughout the trip.

Camping in the forest allows you to have the best experience possible. However if camping is a concern then day trips from the village can be arranged; although this would reduce the amount of time spent observing the elephants.

WILD CAMPING

We want to allow you the chance to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and take some time to reconnect with nature, to meet our elephants and immerse yourself into a Karen community. Your accommodation with a host family is both comfortable and welcoming, and provides you with a real sense of community living. There is no shortage of beautiful views or friendly faces smiling back at you. Your accommodation is equip with bedding, mosquito nets and clean accessible bathrooms, some have western toilets and others asian style squat toilets and all have traditional bucket showers – which are either refreshing or bracing depending on the time of year.

Arriving at our forest base camp after a full day of walking through the forest and observing the elephants living in peace deep in their natural habitat, you will feel miles away from the commotion of your daily life. Unwind to the soothing sounds of the forest around you, help to set up your tent or hang your hammock in the trees and sit by a fire throughout the evening sharing stories with our mahouts.

We endeavour to create an experience for you that has very little to no impact on the forest or the elephants and one that will not easily be forgotten.

EXPERIENCE 1: 4 Days / 3 Nights – Wild Camping

DAY 1

  • Pick up from your hotel in Chiang Mai around 8:30am.
  • Drive for 4 hours to the village. Take in the beautiful mountain views. Lunch will be provided along the way.
  • On arrival you will meet your host family and go on a tour of the village, which will begin your introduction to the Karen culture.
  • During dinner there will be opportunity to take part in a welcome ceremony and to sit and chat with members of the village.

DAY 2

After breakfast with your host family we will set off on our trek into the forest to our base camp, where we will leave our gear. We will then head out even deeper into the forest with the mahouts to find the elephants.

During your observations of the elephants you will learn;

  • How to track elephants in the forest
  • The natural behaviours of elephants living in the forest
  • The benefits of free foraging for elephants
  • The different types of vegetation they eat and why this is critical to their well-being.

The mahouts may go fishing in the river or foraging in the surrounding forest, if successful they will then incorporate these findings into our evening meal. Time to sit around afire and take in the beauty of the forest around you. If the skies are clear, there will be opportunity to spot stars shining through the forest canopy. Camping equipment will be provided.

DAY 3

  • Wake up gently to the sounds of the forest, bird calls and on a lucky morning the magical sound of gibbons calling in the distance.
  • After breakfast we go with the mahouts to find the elephants once more, observing them in the soft morning light. Lunch will be prepared for us at our base camp by the mahouts.
  • After lunch we will make the beautiful journey back through the forest to the village. That afternoon/evening you will have the opportunity to try traditional fabric weaving and bamboo basket weaving.

DAY 4

  • Wake up to the stunning views and sounds of life in the village. Enjoy breakfast with your host family and say your goodbyes.
  • Check that you have all of your things packed and make the journey back to Chiang Mai, where you will be taken to your hotel of choice.

GLAMPING

We want to be able to provide you with the opportunity to explore and experience living in the forest with our elephants and in a remote Karen community with as many comforts from home as possible without making an impact on the surrounding forest, the village or our elephants. Whilst also allowing you to step away from daily routines, reconnect with nature and create memories that will last beyond your departure date.

Our guesthouse has been built adjacent to a local family, with spectacular views overlooking the mountains. Your host family are very welcoming, friendly and take great joy in making you feel at home. The guesthouse is equip with comfortable beds, mosquito nets, a large communal area with facilities to make a hot cup of tea or coffee and a private bathroom with a western toilet and a hot shower – this a very foreign and luxurious concept within the village.

Our glamping site is nestled deep in the forest and our tents are designed to make you feel as if you are part of the surrounding landscape, while still providing some creature comforts. Each of our private glamping tents are equipped with comfortable beds and solar power to provide you with a few hours of extra light. Throughout the evening there will be time to sit and enjoy the company of our mahouts and soak up the tranquillity of your surroundings.

We consider our glamping site to be at one with the forest and built sustainably, having the smallest environmental footprint possible.

EXPERIENCE 2: 4 Days/ 3 Nights – Glamping

DAY 1

  • Pick up from your hotel in Chiang Mai around 8:30am.
  • Drive for 4 hours to the village. Take in the beautiful mountain views. Lunch will be provided along the way.
  • On arrival you will meet your host family at our very own guest house and go on a tour of the village, which will begin your introduction to the Karen culture.
  • During dinner there will be opportunity to take part in a welcome ceremony and to sit and chat with members of the village.

DAY 2

After breakfast with your with your host family we will set off on our trek into the forest to our beautiful base camp fit with 3 stunning glamping tents. You will leave your gear in your own private tent and head out even deeper into the forest with the mahouts to find the elephants. During your observations of the elephants you will learn;

  • How to track elephants in the forest
  • The natural behaviours of elephants living in the forest
  • The benefits of free foraging for elephants
  • The different types of vegetation they eat and why this is critical to their well-being.

The mahouts may go fishing in the river or foraging in the surrounding forest, if successful they will then incorporate these findings into our evening meal. Be time to relax in your very own private luxury tent, sit around a fire enjoying the company of others and take in the beauty and tranquillity of the forest around you. If the skies are clear, there will be opportunity to spot stars shining through the forest canopy.

Camping equipment will be provided.

DAY 3

  • Wake up gently to the sounds of the forest, bird calls and on a lucky morning the magical sound of gibbons calling in the distance – from the comfort of your bed.
  • Enjoy a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea while breakfast is prepared for you.
  • After breakfast we go with the mahouts to find the elephants once more, observing them in the soft morning light. Lunch will be prepared for us at our base camp by the mahouts.
  • After lunch we will make the beautiful journey back through the forest to the village. returning to our guest house and a hot shower. That afternoon/evening you will have the opportunity to try your hand at traditional fabric weaving and bamboo basket weaving.

DAY 4

  • Wake up to the stunning views and sounds of life in the village. Enjoy breakfast with your host family and say your goodbyes.
  • Check that you have all of your things packed and make the journey back to Chiang Mai, where you will be taken to your hotel of choice.

VOLUNTEERING

Turn your holiday into a rewarding, interesting and challenging volunteering experience.

Join us in the beautiful mountains of northern Thailand, for a unique opportunity of watching our elephants roam freely in their forest home, camp with them in the forest and immerse yourself in the rich and ancient culture of the Karen people that call these mountains home.

Whilst you are with us, you will not only be spending time with and contributing towards keeping our beautiful elephants here, but you will be helping villagers in their daily lives and assisting with projects throughout the community. Help us to make a positive impact in this mountain community and we promise that your stay and hard work will make a memorable and lasting impact on you in return.

Through a longer stay at the project you will have the opportunity to become an important part of helping us to keep our elephants in their forest home.

EXPERIENCE 3:

6 Days / 5 Nights – Volunteering

DAY 1

  • Be picked up in Chiang Mai
  • Arrive in the village and meet your host family
  • Introduction to the village and Karen culture
  • Welcome ceremony and dinner

DAY 2

  • Cultural immersion/ assist with village projects

DAY 3

  • Hike out to see the elephants
  • Camp out in the forest
  • Night fishing with the mahouts (if near the river)

DAY 4

  • Watch the elephants
  • Return to the village after lunch
  • Afternoon to rest

DAY 5

  • Cultural immersion/assist with village projects

DAY 6

  • Return to Chiang Mai

Prices (Overall cost per person)

Experience 1 – Wild Camping (4 days / 3 nights)
Number of people Cost per person Deposit per person Balance per person
1 person £380.00 £50.00 £330.00
2-3 people £300.00 £50.00 £250.00
4+ people £240.00 £50.00 £190.00
Experience 2 – Glamping (4 days / 3 nights)
Number of people Cost per person Deposit per person Balance per person
1 person £430.00 £50.00 £380.00
2-3 people £350.00 £50.00 £300.00
4+ people £290.00 £50.00 £240.00
Experience 3 – Volunteering (6 days / 5 nights)
Number of people Cost per person Deposit per person Balance per person
1 person* £670.00 £50.00 £620.00
2 or more people £450.00 £50.00 £400.00

*Due to ground costs, solo volunteers are subjust to 50% premium. We are always happy to match solo travelers with eachother to create a group volunteering trip

 

Transportation Costs: Round Trip
1 Person: £157 4 People: £52
2 People: £79 5 People: £42
3 People: £70 6 People: £35

Please note;

Additional night’s stay can be arranged upon request and if there is availability.

Prices are in GBP sterling, please ask for a quote in a different currency if required. All prices are per person per trip.

Transportation costs are not included in overall costs per person.

We are able to source the most cost effective local transport which is fully insured, the location of our project is a 4 hour drive from Chiang Mai, through mountainous terrain on rural roads. We are particular with the drivers that we choose, ensuring that we are hiring people who are familiar and confident on the mountain roads, the village location is very rural and can be difficult to find. We provide an English-speaking guide for both journeys.

It is always best to take our transport, please ask any questions regarding this that you may have.

Payments:

The deposit of £50 per person must be paid to the Mahouts Elephant Foundation at the time of booking.

The balance must be paid to Mahouts Elephant Foundation (agents for mahouts Elephants LTD Partnership ), at least eight weeks before the start date of the trip.

Groups are usually limited to a maximum of six people, for the well- being of the elephants, village and the forest.

Important Information

Things to remember:

  • The trips include walking through the forest in the heat so a reasonable level of tness is required.
  • Villagers are more than happy to carry backpacks for guests and a charge will be made for this service.
  • We can tailor packages for larger groups or those that may want to change things around for their own needs.
  • A day trip IS possible to visit the elephants and this will need to be discussed with us prior to booking.
  • We work with Mahouts Elephants LTD Partnership who have local insurance, but it is ESSENTIAL that you travel with your own personal travel insurance at all times.
  • The deposit will be taken for each person booking in, this is NON REFUNDABLE and will be paid to Mahouts Elephant Foundation, a UK registered charity. The rest of the payment must be made to Mahouts Elephant Foundation on behalf of our ground team with whom your ground arrangement contract is with and who will take care of you on your trip to the village.
  • Part of the money for your trip includes a donation to the elephant fund within the village. This is a vital income to help run a sustainable project to ensure ALL of their elephants are returned to the forest in the future.
  • Mahouts Elephant Foundation is a UK registered charity and we welcome all donations. We are supporting the elephants you are visiting and their mahouts to live in the forest and we need your help to continue this vital work.

What’s included in your trip with Mahouts Elephants LTD Partnership?

Mahouts Elephant Foundation are pleased to offer ground arrangements through a local company; Mahouts Elephants LTD Partnership.

Whilst all arrangements in Thailand are organised by our ground staff team, all other arrangements prior to the commencement of your trip will be organised by Mahouts Elephant Foundation.

  • Private transport to and from Chiang Mai.
  • All meals included during your stay.
  • Home stay fee in the village.
  • Professional English-speaking guide.
  • Local guide and team fee.
  • National Park fee.
  • Donation for the elephant fund.
  • Tents and hammocks.
  Cold season Dry season Wet season
When to visit November - February March - May May - October
Hiking distances Maximum 2 hours Maximum 3 hours Maximum 4 hours
Average temperature 10-23 °C 24-31 °C 23-28 °C