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Are you game becoming a Mahout? Take a course in Thailand

October 12, 2009

By Dian Hasan | October 12, 2009

Mahout Training for tourists-photo Anantara Golden Triangle

Mahout Training, excellent opportunity for tourists to get close and personal with elephants

We’ve all heard about dog whisperers. Cesar Millan‘s probably the most famous one, with this own TV show. And there are whisperers for other animals too, such as horses and elephants. And while it takes special innate talent and years of training to connect animals’ minds, if you’ve always dreamt of working with animals albeit for a brief period, and you are wild about traveling to exotic locales, there’s an opportunity to do just that. In Thailand.

An elephant whisperer is called a Mahout, an elephant’s keeper and driver. Popular across Thailand, India and other parts of Asia where elephants are found. The word derives from the Hindi words mahaut and mahavat, which in Sanskrit loosely translates to “one having great measure”. Hence, elephant whisperer.


The Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, North Thailand now offers tourists Mahout Course to learn more about elephants through direct one-on-one interaction. This unique experience ranges from 1 to 3 day course.

A sort of Mowgli (of Rudyard Kipling‘s Jungle Book fame) experience, where you get a chance to hang out with animals in the wild (well… pretty close).

The Mahout course aims to educate participants about interesting facts such as:

  • Learn how to ride, bath and give basic command to elephants
  • Knowledge of elephant biology and basic elephants’ health care
  • Elephant art creation
  • Thai cooking classes
  • Mahout certificate
Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-nursing baby elephant

Nursing a baby elephant, all in a day's work

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-taking blood sample for elephant's medical check up

Taking blood sample for elephant's medical check up

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-elephants love bath time, they get it twice daily

Elephants absolutely adore bathing time, getting it twice daily

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-elephants' glorious bathing waters 1

Elephants' glorious bathing waters

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-elephants' glorious bathing waters 2

Elephants' glorious bathing waters

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-Elephants love fun play time, just like us humans

Elephants love fun play time, especially involving water. Just like us humans!

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-brushing an elephant clean 1

Brushing a baby elephant clean

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-brushing an elephant clean 2

Brushing a baby elephant clean

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-time for a respite. Ecotourism at its best

Time for a respite. Ecotourism at its best

Elephant Camp Chiang Mai-Mahout Training Course-rise and shine elephants! Time for breakfast

Rise and shine! Time for the elephants' breakfast

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