The Thai Elephant Conservation Center offers trips on an elephant, usually a large 'bull' or male elephant, into the surrounding forest. Two or three guests per elephant are seated on a traditional saddle called a 'howdah' in English and a yaeng in Thai. Three lengths of ride are available: ten minutes, thirty minutes, or one hour. The TECC's prices are the cheapest of anywhere in Thailand.
The constant swaying motion, particularly on steep slopes, is tiring enough that a short ride is enough for most people. For visitors wanting a more adventurous excursion, the Mahout Training School offers longer daytime Trekking rides with a stop in the forest for a traditional Northern Thai lunch. Overnight treks are also available. (All trekking must be reserved in advance.)
Some people criticize elephant rides as a modern invention that is unnatural for the elephants or even abusive to them. This idea may have some validity in the West, but in Thailand, and most other Asian countries, elephants were traditionally employed to carry both goods and people for hundreds and even thousands of years. Giving short rides to tourists is very light duty compared to the hard work of the old days.
In Thailand around 1850, there were probably over 100,000 elephants used as everyday draft animals. Far more of those elephants were used for the transportation of goods and passengers than for logging. Before the completion of the railroad in the 1930s, the standard way to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was to take a boat to Phitsanuloke or Sukhothai and then travel several days on elephant back. A few lucky elephants even had a grass cutter who walked ahead, leaving nice bundles of fodder on the trail so the elephant could eat while walking.
Elephant riding fee
1/2 hour 500 Baht ( per one elephant for two person )
one hour 1,000 Baht ( per one elephant for two person )