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Homestay housing is situated in the heart of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, right above the bathing pond and the ride elephant stables. (You will soon not even raise your head when an elephant walks past.) Some staff housing lies just uphill, so you feel like part of a bustling and friendly community, though at night the atmosphere is very quiet and peaceful.

Three traditional bungalows each have two rooms for guests and a third room for a mahout who serves as caretaker. Each guest room has three single beds. The rooms are not air-conditioned, but they do have ceiling fans and windows with screening, so no mosquito nets are needed.

All rooms have a bathroom with hot water showers and Western-style toilets. Each bungalow has a spacious veranda perfect for reading a book and watching the world go by.

Homestay programs start early in the morning, and guests who wish to stay the night before can usually reserve their room for an extra 500 baht (about US$16.00).

All three meals a day, included in the package, are eaten at Homestay. The food is simple but delicious Thai food, though some basic Western food - such as bread, jam, and simple egg dishes - is available. Upon their arrival, guests will be asked about their food preferences, and the cooks will control the level of spiciness to suit individual tastes. Vegetarian meals are easily arranged, and guests who do not eat beef or pork, for example, will find their needs easily satisfied.

Adventurous eaters anxious to explore new tastes can request some Northern Thai dishes, a regional cuisine much liked by many adventurous eaters but often found too bitter by others.

Free water, tea and instant coffee are available all day long. A nearby shop, run by a mahout's wife, sells snacks, soft drinks, beer and Thai liquor. (Guests with more particular tastes should bring their own tipple.)

Many visitors choose to celebrate one night by commissioning a special concert by the Center's northern string band (salaw saw seung), simple but delightful country music that falls easily on Western ears.

There is no telephone but internet service is available at the main office for 40 baht an hour (about US$1.30). Guests usually arrange their own transportation but sometimes the Center can help make special arrangements.

Reservations are made at

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