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The entrance area to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center is located between km 28-29 on Highway 11, the superhighway between Chiang Mai and Lampang. The entrance is not only where visitors park to board the shuttle bus into the park but also a Roadside Park where travelers can make a convenient and free rest stop to have a quick bite, a coffee, use the restrooms and even do a bit of souvenir shopping.

The Roadside Park has a visitors' center where people can get a quick overview of the TECC's activities and some insight on the history of the Thai elephant. The nearby ticket booth has officials who can answer any questions that visitors might have.

The Roadside Park hosts several souvenir stalls selling everything from elephant-themed T-shirts to traditional Thai toys, sculptures and a wide variety of handicrafts made locally, some at the TECC.

The Roadside Park also has three restaurants selling very good, cheap Thai food of the type that tourists come to love and even gourmets praise. Most of the food is totally authentic, but the cooks can easily tone down the spiciness if requested. (And, of course, there are the ubiquitous fried rice and various noodle dishes that are already suited to those who prefer bland food.) Excellent coffee - lattes, espresso, and more - is available at Coffee Blue.

The Roadside Park feels very much like a village. Set in a lovely area with large trees and a spacious lawn, there is plenty of room for the kids to run around while parents have a rest. TECC staff often drop in to eat or have a drink.

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