As a travel planner, I find booking transportation to be one of the most complicated parts of creating the perfect trip. One amazing lesson I have learned is, when possible, always book a local, private driver! In each case we have done this, we have been given unique side trips and tours that aren't listed on any website. Believe me, locals know best. You can read all the blogs you want by foreign travelers, but locals will always have the private tips to the less touristy spots and of course, the best food! This travel article is dedicated to our most favorite finds through our private, local drivers.
This is a flash back post to January, 2012. Chris and I decided to make our first trip to the Asian continent, which included Beijing, China, Siem Reap, Cambodia, and many cities in Thailand. We chose to visit Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We had heard from a friend that was an absolutely amazing experience. Tourists have to be careful with attractions where you are getting up close and personal with wild animals like these. There are a lot of reports of abuse. We chose Patara because it had a stellar reputation for being a sanctuary and successful breeding facility, and we were not disappointed!
Patara's claim to fame is "owning an elephant for a day," and they are not kidding. Unlike other elephant meeting destinations where 50 people ride one sad elephant, Patara provides each of its visitors with their own...FOR THE ENTIRE DAY! There are small groups as well, and each elephant comes with a unique handler who stays with you the entire time.
Our day started off with a meet and greet with some babies. Patara is known for their successful breeding. If you follow them on Facebook, you will be privileged to LIVE birth footage!