CHIANG RAI – Even though the Songkran festival has ended and many tourists have left Chiang Rai, a number of them still remain to enjoy their holiday retreat in the northernmost province of Thailand.
Natural attractions in Chiang Rai Province have been bustling with tourists, especially at the Ruammit Karen Village, which is also famous for having its own elephant camp. Tourists have come here to ride on the back of elephants for an excursion across the Mae Kok River and to see the local way of life. Outnumbered by the tourists, each elephant at the Ruammit Karen Village has to complete at least 20 trips per day for such a ride. Needless to say, the villagers have earned quite a lucrative income over the weekend, with each family earning an average of 2,000 to 3,000 baht per day.
Karen Ruammit Village
The Karen village of Ruammit, on the banks of Nam Mae Kok (Mae Kok River) is promoted as a Karen community, but nearby are Lahu, Lisu and Akha villages clustered on it’s outskirts. Despite its equally mountainous location, it is quite different to adjacent towns of Baan Thaton and Doi Mae Salong.
An old village, Ruammit is famous for its elephants, with a long tradition of elephant training and logging and it remains distinctly Karen. It retains its traditional culture and traditions, and has become one of the major tourist attractions both on the Nam Mae Kok and within the Chiang Rai Province.
Ruammit is a 1-hour boat ride from the provincial capital of Chiang Rai province and boats depart at regular intervals from the Chiang Rai pier. Ruammit is a favoured stop for an elephant ride on the boat trip to Thaton, or as a destination in its own right. Mini-buses and songthiews ply the route from town at equally regular intervals.