Chiang Rai Activities – Ruammit Elephant Village and Chiang Rai Bicycle Tour

Ruammit Karen Elephant Village

I have mixed feelings about elephant tourism and was kind of hoping to just avoid the whole thing while we were in Thailand. I’m aware of the cruel ways elephants are tamed for use in tourism. However, when we were in the Hilltribe Museum in Chiang Rai there was a sign about the elephant village and why it should be supported, or at least not boycotted. Their reasoning was that this village relies on the elephants for their income. If tourists stopped riding the elephants the mahouts and elephants would be forced to go elsewhere, including Bangkok, looking for income. The village is a much better environment for the elephants than a city. I’m still not 100% comfortable with it, but this made me feel a bit better about giving in to Lillian’s pleas to ride an elephant.

the girls

Boat to Ruammit Elephant Village

To get to Ruammit we caught a taxi to Chiang Rai Pier and negotiated to charter a boat to the village. The boat cost 800 baht ($AUD27) and took an hour to get there (the price included one hour at the village and the boat back too.) The boat ride was great. Lovely scenery, happy kids, quite relaxing!

Ruammit Karen Elephant village

Ruammit Karen Elephant Village

At the village we paid 300 baht ($AUD10) per elephant (max two people per elephant) for a half hour ‘trek’ around the village. We also paid 20 baht for some food to feed the elephants afterwards. The ride was pleasant enough though bumpy! Our mahout sang or talked to himself or called out to locals the whole way.

reduce speed

Reduce Speed

There are surely better places to experience elephants in Thailand. I’ve heard very good things about Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai, but if you’re looking for something to do from Chiang Rai, the boat trip and elephant village are a good half day activity with kids.

Chiang Rai Bicycle Tour

I have no mixed feelings about this activity, it was awesome! We booked a half day bicycle tour to the White Temple with Chiang Rai Bicycle Tour. We paid 3600 baht ($AUD122) for the tour. This included pick up and drop-off at our hotel, snacks, water, lunch at a restaurant, and of course, the bikes and helmets. We were picked up at 8:30am and dropped back again at about 2:30pm. We picked up another Australian family and a British couple and were driven to the start of the tour where we were fitted for the bikes.

Mad and Ed riding

Photo by Chiang Rai Bicycle Tour

Dave and Lillian had a trailer bike and Ed had a proper bike seat on the back of my bike. It was actually my first time riding a bike with a kid on the back and it took a little getting used to. He’s heavy! Once everyone had their bikes and helmets adjusted properly we were off. We had four guides from Chiang Rai Bicycle Tour cycling with us, plus the driver who would go ahead and set up for snack stops.

snack stop

Morning tea stop

The ride took us through villages and rice fields and the scenery was beautiful. After our morning tea stop we called in to a school to use the toilets. We had a bit of a chance to say hello to the students which made us miss our schools in Sisaket!

harvester in action

Stop to watch rice being harvested

The ride was a mix of flat and hills, gravel and tar roads. Some of the hills were quite steep and a little hairy on the gravel roads but we managed with no major spills! Here’s a video taken by one of the guides which shows me huffing and puffing up a hill and then Dave and Lil cruising along.

When we arrived at the White Temple we had lunch at one of the restaurants there before looking around the temple. The temple is bizarre and unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photos inside. The walls are decorated with murals featuring everyone from Hello Kitty to Osama Bin laden. The temple is still being completed and we got to watch people painting more murals inside and doing mosaic work on the outside. There is also a separate gallery of works from the artist who designed the temple.

White Temple

The White Temple

hands with money

Hands from hell

We were all pooped by the end of the day but I highly recommend Chiang Rai Bicycle Tour. We haven’t done a lot of organised tours like this one, and it was a lot more money than we would usually spend on an activity, but it was well worth it. They were very professional, the bikes and helmets were all in excellent condition and we felt very safe.


2 Responses to “Chiang Rai Activities – Ruammit Elephant Village and Chiang Rai Bicycle Tour”

  1. 1 Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist November 18, 2013 at 12:33 am

    The bicycle tour looks good! That’s quite a strange-looking tandem they’ve got there, too.

  2. 2 เบอร์สวย July 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    For most recent news you have to visit world-wide-web and on internet I found this site as a best web page for latest updates.

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