Elephant shows are generally held in the morning at 9.40 a.m., and begin with elephants bathing before continuing with displays of forestry work and other skills. Elephant rides are usually available after the show. Open from 7.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Tickets range between 80 to 1,000 baht (depending on activities).
• Tha Phae Mae Taman and Pang Chang Mae Sa
Tel. 0 5329 7060
• Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre
Tel. 0 5329 8553, 0 5386 2037
Mountain biking is widely available on several routes in Chiang Mai and the hills beyond. For more information, please contact Chiang Mai Green Tour. Tel. 0 5324 7374
Homestay at Ban Mae Kampong
The village of Ban Mae Kampong, some 50 km. east of Chiang Mai in Mae On district, is situated in a mountainous area with lush jungle surroundings. Here visitors can experience real Thai village life, as well as enjoy several activities. Nearby attractions include waterfalls, a cotton weaving village and the
Huai Hong Khrai Royal Agricultural Station. Reservations should be made through Erawan P.U.C.
Tel. 0 5327 4212-3
Trekking in the hills of the North is one of Chiang Mai’s most popular tourism activities. It offers the best way to experience both the natural environment and to see the culture of the region’s various hilltribes. Of particular interest are the six major hilltribes which inhabit the highlands, the largest group being the Karen, followed by the Hmong, Lahu, Yao, Akha and Lisu. Each tribe has its own distinctive spiritual beliefs, ceremonial attire, languages, customs, rituals, dances and agricultural practices. Popular “ jungle treks” last from 2 to 7 days and take trekkers through forested mountains and high valleys and meadows, as well as visits to more remote highaltitude hilltribe settlements for overnight stays. The best guides are hilltribe youths who customarily speak English, Thai and at least three tribal dialects. Treks commonly feature travel by foot, sometimes by boat, elephant-back, horse-back or jeep, or frequently a combination of two or three modes of transportation. Visitors are advised to contact the Tourist Police (at 75 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road, Tel. 0 5324 8130 Fax. 0 5324 8974) or the TAT for information on the most reliable trekking companies. And remember, for trekkers protection, all treks must be registered with the Tourist Police. Visitors should remember to:
• Respect hilltribe beliefs and religious symbols and structures.
• Dress modestly. Hilltribe people are generally modest and inappropriate attire may offend them.
• Ask permission before photographing someone. Some villages do not permit photography.
• Refrain from trading Western medicines and articles of clothing. Gifts such as pens, paper, needles, thread and cloth are acceptable.