Thailand: Hua Hin Hills Vineyard Offers Elephant Tours

Above: Taking in Hua Hin Hills Vineyard from the back of Sombat, one of the estate’s three elephants.

Returning to its roots, Hua Hin Hills Vineyard (66-81/701-8874; is luring visitors not only with the promise of great grapes, but also gentle giants. Set on the site of a former elephant corral outside the Gulf of Thailand resort town of Hua Hin, 200 kilometers south of Bangkok, the boutique estate provides a picturesque setting for languid vineyard tours on the back of one of its three resident pachyderms. Pick up a bottle or two of house label Monsoon Valley—Chenin Blanc and Shiraz are among 20 varietals grown here—from the sleek on-site wine shop before climbing aboard your lumbering charge: we recommend Sombat, a docile bull elephant who was recently recruited by the vineyard following a larger-than-life career in Thai cinema. –Kris LeBoutillier

Originally appeared in the February/March 2009 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Gypsy Tales: Trunk Terroir”)

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