We saw a lot of tourists taking elephant rides around Ayuthaya, but we didn't go on any. The Asian elephant is smaller than the African elephant and generally more docile. We even saw some elephants on the streets of Bangkok, were tourists can take pictures and buy a bag of peanuts. This seemed to be borderline cruel with all of the traffic and commotion of the city. But it will make you do a doubletake to see an elephant on the crowded sidewalk!
Thais tend to be a very obedient and rule-following people. A British graffiti artist I met was quite dismayed by this behavior and the fact that no one graffitied the trains. But I got a kick out of seeing Thais of all ages doing aerobics and dancing in the park. And everyone's in sync!