Image courtesy of Maesa Elephant Camp

Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai has decided to change the direction of their business model thanks to a reduction of tourists because of COVID-19.

Tourists often shun places that offer elephant riding but that is exactly how Maesa has made their living for the past 44 years. Each day the elephants would have large seats strapped to their backs for carrying tourists. The staff and directors of the camp wanted to find a more natural way for people and tourists to enjoy the elephants when this is all over, so they scrapped the heavy chairs and carriages for good and allowed all 78 of their elephants to roam free.

According to Camp Director, Anchalee Kalampichit, Maesa has been in the business of elephant riding since 1976. Riding elephants has always been a favoured thing to do by tourists. Because of the coronavirus, however, they have decided to remove the chairs and set the elephants free.  A video from ViralPress captured the staff packing up their chairs for a final time.  This was the first time in 44 years that the elephants did not have to be saddled up for tourists.

Maesa plans to re-open after the virus with a camp that will allow tourists and visitors to enjoy learning about the animals while observing them in their natural habitat instead of using them for entertainment and rides.

The camp spends roughly five million THB per month to take care of their 78 elephants and 300 staff. In an effort to keep costs low during the virus, many of the staff have begun planting their own vegetables for food.

Chiang Mai has roughly 93 elephant camps, 85 of which officials say are at risk of permanent closure unless the coronavirus pandemic significantly improves and tourists return.

For more information on Maesa Elephant Camp, check out their website HERE!


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Adam Judd
Mr. Adam Judd is the Co-owner of TPN media since December 2017. He is originally from Washington D.C., America, but has also lived in Dallas, Sarasota, and Portsmouth. His background is in retail sales, HR, and operations management, and has written about news and Thailand for many years. He has lived in Pattaya for over nine years as a full-time resident, is well known locally and been visiting the country as a regular visitor for over a decade. His full contact information, including office contact information, can be found on our Contact Us page below. Stories please e-mail About Us: Contact Us: