Elephants of Chai Lai Orchid

by | Aug 14, 2019

There’s so many elephants?

You’d be surprised how many are actually around here!

Elephants of Chai Lai Orchid tl;dr

  • Not All Elephants Look Alike
  • There’s So Many Elephants in the Area
  • Elephants Are Big

When you stay at a place called the Elephant AirBnB of Chiang Mai, you know you’ll be seeing elephants! To be honest, I never imagined that there would be so many of them in the area.

In hindsight, I never realized how much elephants play a role in in Thai culture as a beast of burden much like the cow or horse. Considering my projecting of elephants as being exotic, I never in my wildest imagination considered them to be so domesticated.

As such, in so much as I understand it, Chai Lai Orchid apparently rents these elephants so as to get local owners to reconsider their treatment versus taking them for granted. I imagine that trying to change such a fundamental institution methodology such as this is literally an uphill battle, but it’s definitely one worth taking.

Beer Elephants of Chai Lai Chiang Mai 2019

Who Are They


There are so many different elephants, but between you and me, I find it hard to tell them apart. You may be lucky enough to get familiar with some of them otherwise you’d have to spend some quality time at Chai Lai to get the opportunity to make everyone’s acquaintance.

At the time of this writing, here’s the current Chai Lai Elephant roster:

  • Baby Suki Chai Lai
  • Chai Lai
  • Sea Voy
  • Mea Sak Tong
  • De Dee
  • Mae Noi
  • Tang Mo
  • Tong Po
  • Somchai
  • Lim Muey
  • Thong Wan
  • Baby Kwan Jai

Keep in mind that given the area is surrounded by other local farms and other elephants, SO it is very easy to confuse them for those of Chai Lai residency. From my limited understanding of the current elephant outlook in Chiang Mai, not everyone shares Chai Lai’s progressive movement.

Nadia Elephants of Chai Lai Chiang Mai 2019

Where Are They


The elephants are nearly everywhere around Chai Lai Orchid. Some of them at times can be found wandering the Chai Lai grounds while others are either hanging out on the hillside or in the shaded area opposite it. Honestly though, you will find them anywhere they want to be.

Happy Elephant of Chai Lai Chiang Mai 2019

What Do They Do There


When you see these big guys doing their thing, and you will be seeing them, just be sure to give them their space and let them do what they do best which is whatever they want typically involving some form of eating.

We’ve seen them sleeping, standing, walking, bathing, running amok in the garden, and otherwise just meandering here and there. I have only witnessed their playful behavior wandering around.

Having said that, Nadia and I have interacted with them as much as we could:

  • Taken pictures with them
  • Feed them bananas
  • Walked with them
  • Witnessed them pooping

These elephants are very much comfortable in their own skin, so should you. They are loving animals that have long memories that will cherish their moments with you as much as you would with them. Just be mindful of where those big guys step because they got big feet!

Seen a lot of elephants in all their glory during out stay!

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