Visiting Elephant Parade Land in Chiang Mai: creativity + conservation.
We were looking for some family-friendly activities during our stay in Chiang Mai, and loved finding two that were sustainable, ethical and elephant-based. They were also very colourful and a lot of fun, and were suitable for both kids and adults to visit. This is the account of our time spent at Elephant Parade Land.
Our review and many photos of the Elephant PoopooPaper Park is also available, which was another wonderful experience for our family.
About the Elephant Parade
The Elephant Parade is an art phenomenon that started in Chiang Mai, and now there are Elephant Parades (exhibits) all over the world. Many places have their beautiful elephant sculptures for sale, but Elephant Parade Land is the centre of it all.
Environmental and social initiatives
Elephant Parade is a social enterprise with 20% of all profits donated to elephant conservation and welfare projects. The business was created by a father and son who wanted to help a Thai elephant named Mosha. She had lost one leg after stepping on a landmine.
Mosha received a prosthetic limb from their donation, and the Elephant Parade continues to donate to her hospital as well as other projects to increase the health and wellbeing of Asian elephants, raise awareness and education, and find solutions for the ongoing conflict between elephants and humans.
About Elephant Parade Land
Elephant Parade Land has a museum paying homage to the beginnings of the Elephant Parade, their assistance to Asian elephants over the years, and its international success. It also has a behind the scenes tour, the opportunity to design your own elephant in their workshop, and a store full of all sorts of themed gear.
Elephant Parade Land has a more serious tone than the PooPoo Paper Park, but it’s still suitable and engaging for children. There’s an outdoor museum to explore beautiful elephant statues, and the indoor workshop is stocked and ready to create your own masterpiece. Further information about the Parade’s work and the plight of Asian elephants is also provided inside, as well as a large range of elephants for sale.
Location and opening hours
The address is:
180/ 9, Moo 7, San Phi Suea, Mueang, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Please be aware this is NOT Elephant Parade House. That is a separate building on the way to Elephant Parade Land, which is on the other side of the Ping River to the city of Chiang Mai.
Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm.
To browse the museum and shop and have time to paint your own elephant in the workshop, we recommend at least two hours. There is much to see and read about, and it’s lovely to take some time to enjoy creating a design that you’ll be proud of. We spent close to three hours there.
Cost and tickets
Entry is free for all visitors. To paint a 10cm elephant the cost is 600 THB, or a 15cm elephant is 1000 THB.
You can book a workshop at Elephant Parade Land on their website. It’s recommended to book if you’re visiting with four or more people.
The entrance to Elephant Parade Land is a colourful encounter with elephant art. The full size baby elephant statues are all designed by artists or celebrities.
Our tour was self-guided as we didn’t arrange a time to come, but I believe if you book beforehand you receive a guided tour through the outdoor museum.
We loved strolling among them and finding our favourite designs (and thankfully most of them were shaded as it was hot!)
Every elephant is unique and they all have their inspiration and artist/s listed.
Allegra’s favourites were mostly pink ones!
Dante loved this dragon design.
Most of the elephants are painted but a few were interesting sculptures too.
They are all beautiful works of art, and most are very bright and colourful.
Inside Elephant Parade House, the gallery continues into information about the business and Asian elephants.
The Q & A board is a great idea to find out more, and there are also books available to do more research in the small lounge area.
Behind the scenes
This part of the tour was guided, but photography is not allowed inside their working space. It was interesting to see the artists hand-painting each small elephant, but there was no interaction with them apart from a greeting, and I’m not sure they really liked being watched — understandably! Our kids got quite bored even though it wasn’t a long tour, so don’t worry about it if you have young kids and are pressed for time.
An onsite artist guided us to the workshop area, which is next to the gallery and store.
First, Dante and Allegra were given an apron to wear before settling into a desk. We were the only workshop participants at the time.
After choosing a base colour from a big range of paints they got to work on their design.
The spinning base plate made it easy to work on every angle of the elephant.
The belly was still a bit tricky though!
Once the base coat was done it was dried with a hairdryer.
Then it was time to decorate and make their elephants unique and beautiful!
Once they were complete, we were given a certificate of authenticity which included the kid’s names and their elephant’s names. Legsie and Dante were very happy with their elephants!
There’s a great deal to look at and an elephant to suit just about anyone, making souvenir shopping a breeze. There are many amazing designs, as well as elephant-themed bags, homewares, keyrings, and some other gifts too. Most items can be bought from the Elephant Parade store online as well as in their shops.
We really enjoyed our time at Elephant Parade Land, and now at home, we love having the kid’s elephants as a reminder of our experience and a connection to the beautiful art all around the world. It was also wonderful to visit the source of the statues we kept seeing around Chiang Mai and support their conservation work.
I can recommend a visit to any travellers who are interested to know more about helping elephants in Thailand, and to anyone who wants to get creative in Chiang Mai!
Check out our other family-friendly experiences in Thailand:
- Our real-life ethical elephant encounter with the Mahouts Elephant Foundation.
- Our favourite things to do in Pattaya with kids + responsible travel tips.
- Another day of fun at the Elephant PooPooPaper Park in Chiang Mai.
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