People love elephants in Thailand and they are very much part of the national culture. Even my favourite beer Chang means elephant. It is quite common to see them in the streets and they come to the village so the children can have rides and feed them.
This is one of the many sights our guests see at our arts guesthouse in NE Thailand where I teach painting and we help our guests explore the magic of this Thai/Lao area where there are no tourists. My work can be seen at http://JeremyHolton.com and our guest house is at http://Thailand-Painting-Holidays.com