Please note: the Chai Lai Orchid Bungalows are Riverside or Mountain view locations 7km apart. Chai Lai does not have its own vehicle. These prices are standard rates, set by the drivers and paid directly by you. Taxis only accept cash in Thai currency.
18°38’22.5″ N 98°41’57.0″ E (DMS) or 18.639583, 98.699167 (DMM)
202 หมู่ที่ 9 Mae Win, Mae Wang District, Chiang Mai 50360, Thailand
202 หมู่ 9 ต.แม่วิน อ.แม่วาง จ.เชียงใหม่ 50360
18°40’37.8″N 98°35’26.8″E (DMS) or 18.677164, 98.590783 (DMM)
Mae Win, Mae Wang District, Chiang Mai 50360, Thailand
ตำบล แม่วิน อำเภอ แม่วาง เชียงใหม่ 50360
How much time you will want to spend here depends on how much you like camping. Most of our guests book only spend one or two nights here. The majority go to the city of Chiang Mai so they can enjoy activities and still have some time to relax downtown.
Our camp is rustic and full of natural beauty, but it is more like camping than staying at a resort, so we know that’s not for everyone. Some people may prefer to book a day adventure and then sleep in a hotel in Chiang Mai.
Yes. We accept donated clothes (especially cold-weather clothing), blankets, and mosquito nets. We also accept medical supplies such as wound care, children’s medicine, and vitamins, and at-home HIV test kits for refugee and Hill Tribe communities.
The Chai Lai Orchid is one hour away from the city of Chiang Mai. The cost is 700 to 900 THB for a songtaew (Thai-style covered truck with bench seating) that seats up to 8 passengers.
You can book the return trip with our reception team upon arrival. We’re happy to arrange for a driver to pick you up from the airport or your hotel. The driver will wait for you with a Chai Lai Orchid sign.
For airport pick-ups, please send us the following information:
Running late? Call our driver Mr. Neng at +66 081 112 9905.
Yes. You can park onsite by the road. You should have a truck with four-wheel drive if you want to explore the local area.
We accept Thai Baht, credit cards, and PayPal as methods of payment. There is a 3% processing fee for credit cards and PayPal. A 7% VAT applies to all bills, as required by Thai law.
While trekking, it is best to wear shoes with a good profile, pants and whatever you feel comfortable in for sun protection. Please check the weather forecast before your stay and bring weather-appropriate clothing and/or gear. You can trek at any time of year, even in the rainy season.
March-May is the dry season. Daytime temperatures are especially hot this time of year, and the river is lower.
June-October is the rainy season. Afternoon showers are typical, and the jungle is at its greenest. Bring a poncho (they can easily be purchased locally).
November-February is cold season. Low nighttime temperatures are common. You will be staying in traditional Karen-style bamboo housing which is uninsulated, unheated and located at a high elevation. We stay warm at night by sitting around a fire and sleeping in warm clothing– Bring warm clothes if you plan to visit during this time.
Tipping is not an expectation, but it is appreciated. High-end hotels and salons may add ten percent gratuity to the bill. We don’t include tips, so it’s up to our guests to contribute.
Dengue Fever and Malaria are diseases that can occur in tropical countries like Thailand. Both of these diseases are mosquito-borne illnesses.
Currently, there are no vaccines for Dengue Fever or Malaria. Some medicines can be prescribed by a doctor for Malaria prevention. Wearing mosquito spray and loose-fitting clothing will help protect against infection.
We are not located in a Malaria zone, but we don’t know where your travels will take you in Southeast Asia. The decision to administer medicines or vaccines is up to you and your doctor. Some medicines have serious side effects.
Also, it would be wise to consider a rabies vaccine, especially if traveling to remote areas or working with animals.
In general, we recommend bringing the following items from home:
Our treks last between one and a half to six hours per day.
Private treks give you the freedom to decide what you want to do. Our treks can be customized based on your preferences. The amount of walking and difficulty level is up to you.
We can recommend an itinerary, but it’s your experience, and we will try our best to accommodate your wishes.
Yes. At the Chai Lai Orchid, we do our best to accommodate our guests, including children. We work with you to build an experience that is suitable for all ages and needs. For instance, we can arrange a tour that will take you uphill by car, so then you can enjoy a shorter, downhill hike.
No. The Kayan people, colloquially known as the long-necks, originate from Myanmar. They enter Thailand as refugees but cannot stay unless they generate sufficient income from tourism.
The nearby Kayan village shut down, so these people returned to Myanmar. If you would like to visit a Kayan village, you will need to travel to Mae Hong Son, a six-hour drive away.
Yes. Guests are encouraged to enjoy the cool mountain water.
We let you decide what is best for you. In most of the river, the water depth is shallow. Please request lifejackets if desired.
No. Activities are an additional cost. The price of the room includes accommodation, complimentary breakfast, and feeding the elephants.
Yes. We offer many vegetarian and vegan dishes. Please let us know your dietary needs in advance so our chef can plan.
All of our food is prepared fresh and to order. Therefore, we can make adaptations to dishes to accommodate food allergies. Please let us know about your dietary needs in advance so the chef can plan.
No. The water in Thailand is unsafe to drink, including tap water. We supply bottled water.
No. In an ideal world, all elephants would be wild. However, Asian Elephants became domesticated thousands of years ago. The majority of elephants in Chiang Mai cannot return to the wild regardless, due to habitat loss and strict laws
Unlike in Africa, there is no place left in the wild for Asian Elephants in Thailand: They have livestock classification, so it’s illegal for them to roam freely in the jungle. If a company tells you that their elephants are free-range, please ask questions.
One of the reasons the elephant population has declined so drastically in the last twenty years is because elephants and mahouts could no longer earn a living.
Mahouts could no longer afford to care for and feed their charges. This change resulted in street begging elephants and illegal, amphetamine-addicted logging elephants. We don’t want to go backward.
Through ethical elephant tourism, owners can provide a home and stable income for both the elephants and the Mahouts. Lack of land, human-elephant conflict, and poaching make it very dangerous for elephants to be in the wild.
Even elephants in conservation centers and sanctuaries are not one-hundred percent free. With all of these problems, it is crucial to create the most humane environments possible for the captive elephants to live in so that they are protected and do not become extinct.
Yes. Work can be very stimulating for elephants, and studies have shown that working elephants live longer than those in zoos.
We create a unique experience where guests can learn about elephants while interacting, playing, feeding, and bathing them. These are all stimulating but low-stress activities for the elephants.
For domestic elephants, our friends aren’t doing too badly. They are the offspring of domesticated Thai elephants— Not wild ones from Burma. The youngest were all conceived and born here, which promotes elephant conservation and indicates that they are comfortable and healthy. These elephants have elephant friends, a clean river to play and bathe in every day, a lush bamboo forest to sleep in, and Mahouts who love them.
Tourism is also important because it’s a critical factor in government decisions to take proactive measures to preserve elephants because it is vital to their economies. Domestic elephants play a valuable part in education and as ambassador animals on behalf of their wild cousins.
We hope that after seeing these beautiful animals up close, meeting and learning about them, and watching them interact in a loving and protective family group, you will leave a friend of the elephants for life.
No. Metal chair rides are unsafe for elephants. These chairs, which are already very heavy, can carry up to three passengers, and put pressure on a vulnerable point of the elephant’s spine. Besides that, dirt and other debris can rub between the chair and the elephant’s skin, causing painful sores.
There is a lot of misinformation online about elephant anatomy and their spines. Whether or not riding is harmful depends on the practice.
For female Asian elephant cows, their average weight is about 3 tons (6,000 pounds), so you would be roughly 2.5% of her weight. Sitting on her back alone will not hurt her. Scientific studies conclude that elephants in camps offering rides tend to experience less stress than those in an observation-only site.
However, chairs and saddles hurt an elephant if the padding is too thin or has stones and other debris beneath it. They also multiply the weight each elephant has to carry.
Additionally, if the chairs are on the elephant all day, they can cause sores, and for the elephant to overheat. The chairs and padding need to stay dry so the elephant can’t swim in the river to cool down.
See how riding an elephant can improve their health care here.
No. We care about wild elephant conservation. When you buy an elephant from an abusive situation, you reward the owner with money (about 60,000 USD ) to purchase new elephants and traffic them from the wild. We rent elephants to break this cycle.
There are only two ways you can safely contain an elephant: Steel enclosure or tethering.
Steel enclosures can be expensive, making them unfeasible in Asian countries. The most common option in Asia is to tether the elephant with a large chain that fits loosely around the ankle.
Small chains should not be used since tangle and pinch the skin, causing harm to an elephant. The use of ropes is highly discouraged since they will irritate and burn the elephant’s skin.
Yes. Elephants may be on a long chain, for instance, if their caretaker needs to take a break.
There are only two ways to keep an elephant from wandering off: Tethering and steel enclosures. If someone tells you otherwise, be wary.
A loose elephant can cause significant damage to property, crops, and human beings. The advantages of chains over other means of tethering are overwhelming.
Chains, unlike rope or wire, are very unlikely to cause wounds. The chain is the most humane way to tether elephants and allows for the elephants to be moved to exercise and forage, much like we use a lead for domestic animals in the west, such as dogs and horses.
Yes. Bullhooks are a tool to keep people and elephants safe.
Elephant caretakers have them on hand, but that does not mean that they use them. The Mahouts are responsible for protecting the lives of elephants as well as our guests and their children.
All mahouts must carry a bullhook to try to control the elephant in emergency and life-threating situations.
Elephants are smart and gentle, but they are also wild animals and extremely strong.
Do not sneak up behind them, tease them, make loud noises, or make sudden movements around them. They have a blind spot directly in front of them, so try to stand to the side so that they can see you well.
The mahouts have received training to control the elephants and ensure everyone’s safety, so please listen to them around the elephants. And lastly, do not approach a young elephant without her mahout, as this can be stressful for them.