Paint a Brighter Future – Elephants on Parade

Rudolph Reindeer Elephant

One of the coolest things in Chiang Mai, Thailand is the Elephants on Parade. You can find these beautifully painted elephants all around the city. It reminds me of the Bulls in Chicago and the Horses in Louisville. Hunting these down and photographing them has always been a source of fun for me. The minute I see one of these creative masterpieces, I’m determined to find the rest of them. During the time I spent in Chiang Mai, I found several of these amazing painted elephants and what makes them more special is that they are for a good cause – elephant conservation.

Elephant Parade Land

Elephant Parade is a social organization that runs the world’s largest art exhibition of painted elephant statues. Every elephant is unique and individually designed by the artist to help create awareness for the plight of elephants. Visiting Elephant Parade Land in Chiang Mai, you can learn about their mission of elephant conservation, view decorated life-size baby elephants statues, paint an elephant yourself, or buy one of the many replicas. You can book a tour or workshop here. 20% of all proceeds are donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects. Besides visiting Elephant Parade Land, you can visit the other satellite shops around Chiang Mai to see life-sized baby elephants or purchase souvenirs to support this cause.

Elephants on Parade

Elephant Parade Maya

Woo in Chiang Mai - Elephants on Parade

Woo in Chiang Mai by Chatchai Jullatamara & Khomsan Wongkad

Entering the Maya mall in Chiang Mai, you can encounter several large detailed elephants. Over the months that I lived in Chiang Mai, there has been a rotation of elephants. Which allows you to see several different creative masterpieces throughout the year. You can find the Elephant Parade Maya on the first floor.

Elephant Parade Nimman

Hidden Diamonds - Elephants on Parade

Hidden Diamonds

The Elephant Parade Nimman shop can be found right easily within One Nimman. There are entrances within the plaza and along Nimmanahaeminda Road. This is a small shop, but there are many small replica elephants to purchase here.

Elephant Parade ThaPae

The Chics of Dumbo by Ceet Fouad

The Chics of Dumbo by Ceet Fouad

The Elephant Parade ThaPae can be found by the Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai’s old city. The shop is on the east ring road slightly north of the gate. When you are exploring the old town, you can swing by this shop to see more elephants. Most of the elephants here seemed to be sponsored.

Elephants Around Chiang Mai

Mahjong by Nartkanok Lao-Amata

Mahjong by Nartkanok Lao-Amata

Plus, don’t forget to look around town for other elephants that might be lurking about. I found these further down the street from the Nimman shop and along streets in Chiang Mai’s old town. Seeing all these lovely artistic elephants makes me want to sign up to paint one of these for myself. I’ll definitely have to do this the next time I’m in Chiang Mai.

Save the Elephants

Asian elephants are among the many animals that are endangered in the world today. Over the last 100 years, elephant natural habitats have declined by 95% and along with that so has their population declined by 90%. Resulting in less than 50,000 Asian elephants left in the world. The threats to elephants are the loss of their natural habitat, poaching, and human interactions such as riding them for tourism purposes. Elephants are known as the ‘gardeners of the earth’ where many plants and animals depend on the elephants for their existence. Without elephants, these plants and animals would disappear completely. Whether it is supporting causes like Elephant Parade or participating in ethical ways to see the elephants in Asia, we all need to do something to save the elephants from extinction.

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Further Reading

If you are coming to Thailand for a visit, check out these posts for further travel inspiration:

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