There are plenty of places to visit elephants in Thailand and learn more about this magnificent creature, particularly in the northern areas surrounding Chiang Mai. One social enterprise that is making a massive difference to their welfare against the ongoing threats to their native lands is the Elephant Parade, and a fun way to learn more about their work and to get arty is to spend an afternoon painting one of their cute elephant statues. You can also check out the large colourful statues that decorate the main room of this funky elephant house, which have been decorated like durians, coconuts, rainforests and the red songtaews that drive around Chiang Mai.
- Wat Doi Suthep & Hmong Hill-Tribe Village
- Doi Inthanon National Park Tour
- Ping River Dinner Cruise
- Khantoke Dinner with Traditional Dance Performance
- Old City Half-Day Bike Tour
- Flight of the Gibbon™ Zipline Tour
- 2-Day Whitewater Rafting & Ziplining
- Full-Day Countryside Bike Tour with Lunch
- Aroy Aroy Thai Cooking School & Market Tour
- Full-Day Excursion to Chiang Rai & Golden Triangle
Getting there is quite easy. Jump in a tuk tuk or songtaew and ask for Chiang Mai Land, a street about ten minutes drive from the city centre. From there the elephants points the way to the quirky white house, decorated with a colourful elephant and a large bunch of bananas swinging from the roof. It all started in 2006 when a father and son travelled to Thailand and met Mosha the elephant. Saddened to find that this baby elephant had lost a leg by stepping on a landmine they decided they wanted to raise money for Asian Elephants and came up with the Elephant Parade.
The idea is for famous artists and celebrities to design large elephant statues that are then displayed in the streets and at businesses around the city, auctioning them off and donating funds to charities, including the Asian Elephant Foundation. So far over 1.5 billion baht has been raised. Since 2009 Elephant Parades have been held around the world. Hundreds of these quirky decorated elephants have been displayed in cities such as London, Singapore and Milan, and decorated by celebrities, world-renowned artists and companies, including British comedian Ricky Gervais, Cartier and painter Jack Vettriano. Some of the ‘full-size’ elephants (150 cm) are on display here at the Elephant Parade House, as are some smaller elephants, including past ones for sale that start at a tiny 5cm tall. All replicas are painted in Chiang Mai.
Let’s be honest, it’s cool checking out all the elephants decorated with fruits, other animals (an elephant as a tiger?! Whatever next) and fancy patterns but what is even more fun is decorating your own. With in-house artists to help with the design and plenty of materials on hand you can pick your own plain elephant from the series of 5 different statues. The resin elephants crouch, stand, sit or even up their hind legs and come in different sizes. It takes around 2 hours to paint an elephant either at the table on the ground floor of the house or in the large art studio on the top floor. On the second floor you will find coffee and soft drinks as well as a small play area for children too young to paint. There is also an interesting display giving a more in-depth look into how the money is being spent, and sadly how much work is still to be done.
Elephant Parade House
- Address: 20/1 Chiang Mai Land Village, T.Changklan A.Muang Chiang Mai
- Tel: +66 (0)53 279816