Thailand Part 6: Patara Elephant Farm

FINALLY! Time to recap my very favorite part of our entire trip and quite possibly my entire life. As soon as we left Patara Elephant Farm I told Robert that it was one of my top 5 favorite life experiences. I keep a running list of the Top 5 and so far 4 slots are filled; Getting married, getting engaged, getting Renly and Patara in no particular order. Currently I am reserving the 5th spot for the birth of our future children but if I ever get to go back to Patara they may be edged out, sorry future offspring.


I love elephants and knew that they had to be part of our trip to Thailand, but I had mixed feelings about the ethics of some of the elephant experiences. I did A LOT of research and Patara was the obvious choice for us based on everything I read. After having been I still stand behind that 100%.

When we arrived at Patara we spent some time with the owners son who educated us about Patara’s history and the fate of elephants in Thailand. He explained that the owners of Patara founded it with conservation and re-population as it’s main objectives. The elephant population in Thailand has been steadily declining over many years and there are now believed to be less than 2,000 wild elephants. Patara’s philosophy “extinction is forever” was derived from this data and their main goal is to breed healthy elephants. Patara believes in humane breeding (letting it happen naturally rather than forced or artificial insemination) and to date they have had 40 calves born there!


He acknowledged that some people believe it is inhumane to visit elephant camps and that it would indeed be nice if all elephants could live freely and safely in the wild. Unfortunately, this isn’t reality in today’s world. Deforestation means the wild as elephants once knew it doesn’t exist anymore and poachers make it unsafe. The elephants that are safe behind the walls of these huge camps and natural preserves cost lots of money to keep fed and cared for. Tourism is Thailand’s biggest industry and visiting a humane elephant camp is a way to directly contribute your tourist dollars to the cause. For more information about elephant conservation in Thailand, read this.



OK! Now on to the day! We chose the “Elephant Owner for a Day” package which began bright and early with transportation to the farm provided by Patara. We were picked up in a very nice passenger van with great AC and complimentary bottled water. The van picked up one other passenger, a kind women from Atlanta who was traveling solo through Thailand. The drive took about 2 hours up some very steep climbs and our little group of four found ourselves literally in the middle of the jungle.


As soon as we stepped out of the van we were greeted by a beautiful mama elephant, Manoui and her adorable 9 month old, Baby Hanna.


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Thailand Part 5: Chiang Mai

Our first full day in Chiang Mai was spent eating our way through cooking school, so we were more than ready to explore the city on Day 2, and best of all, we would finally have someone to take pictures of us  Robert with us! After breakfast I snapped a few photos of our adorable hotel, The Golden Bell, while we waited for Robert to arrive from his early flight from Bangkok.

The staff were kind everywhere we stayed but they were exceptionally nice at the Golden Bell! The hotel was very clean, in a great location just outside the city center and they had free bicycles for the guests to use during their stay.

Robert’s taxi finally pulled up around 9 AM and I was simultaneously thrilled to see him and in complete disbelief that he had actually made it to Bangkok and then on to Chiang Mai all on his own. I had researched for months and planned our trip meticulously but was more than a little wary that my darling husband who has barely left the states would be able to travel half way around the world solo.


The man amazes me daily.

We wasted no time and headed straight for the city! It took about .5 seconds for me to observe that Chiang Mai was prettier, friendlier, more laid back and WAY less crowded than Bangkok. It also seemed at least 10 degrees cooler and was extremely easy to navigate…double win!

Welcome to Narnia… I mean Chiang Mai

The city of Chiang Mai is basically a giant square grid surrounded by walls, each of which has a gate. Our hotel was located next to the Chiang Mai Gate so this is where our navigation always began.


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Time for Thailand!

Wow, writing that title just made me so happy! Happy and maybe just a teensy bit stressed considering I still have a million things to check off of my to-do list before we leave and less than a week now to do them all! Ahh!

This morning marked my last day of work for the school year so the official countdown is on! My sister and I leave for Thailand next Monday and I couldn’t be more excited! Robert will be just a few days behind us and then the fun will really start! I am 90% excited and 10% nervous, mostly just about the logistics of Robert flying in solo and making his way to us. If you asked Robert his numbers would probably swing the opposite way, 90% nervous/10% excitement, but lets hope they shift a bit as the date grows nearer!

Since I DO have a million things to check off my aforementioned to-do list, I’ll keep today’s post short and sweet! A brief rundown of our itinerary just in case any of you reading have been to the Land of Smiles and have any must see/do/eats, in which case, please share!

Haley and I will arrive in Bangkok late Tuesday night and spend a total of three nights (two days) there! Our plans include lots of temple touring (Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha etc.) and tuk tuk riding and shopping. We also want to do a canal tour, check out the Flower Market and go to China Town! On Friday morning we plan to go to the Damnoen Sadurak floating market before we catch our late afternoon flight to Chiang Mai!

We will spend 4 nights in Chiang Mai which is where Robert will meet us. There we are scheduled to spend a day at the Thai Farm Cooking School, tour the Old City and of course the highlight of the trip… Patara Elephant Farm!!

From Chiang Mai we will fly to Koh Samui and do a bit of island hopping! Check out our digs in Koh Tao!

Monkey Flower Villas

This last leg of our trip is the least scheduled as we intend to do some relaxing on the beach, rent a longtail boat or two and just go with the flow! Robert is flying home two days ahead of Haley and I due to his work schedule, so we are toying with the idea of attending a Full Moon Party once he goes. I’m not much of a wild child but it may prove to be something we can’t miss. When in Rome!

Koh Tao
What I plan to do in Koh Tao….minus the thong bathing suit 

If you have any suggestions for any of our destinations, let me know! I love tips from other travelers!  As you can see from the photo above, I’ve been following Thailand instragram accounts which is a great way to see beautiful places and get ideas for your trip!

Signing off until I return in a few weeks! Robert and I will be moving in to our new house immediately upon returning (Eek!) so once I get settled you can expect lots of fun trip re-cap posts and maybe even a tour of my new kitchen 🙂 Til then! ❤