Beauty of Northern Thailand

Half Day Elephant Sanctuary

Detailed Overview

Please don’t ride elephants.

Elephants, for years, have been mistreated and downright abused for the benefit of humans. Tour companies advertise riding elephants as a fun way to enjoy nature and to appreciate the animal. Riding elephants harms them. The elephants here at the sanctuary have been rescued from the logging industry, circus performances, and the well-known tourism riding industry.

After about a 1 hour and 15-minute ride North of Chaing Mai, we arrived at Camp #9 in the highlands surrounded by lush forest. Upon arrival, everyone was given traditionally patterned shirts to wear, which the elephants recognize and like. We fed the elephants an endless amount of bananas, and peeled them for the baby.

Post-feeding time, we played with the baby, as she chased us and kicked up dirt. Mind you this was my first time interacting with an elephant, and I was able to sort of wrestle with her and give her a little push here and there with my body.

Time for a bath! We head down to the small pond, and this is where the elephants rolled around the water as the group scooped buckets and sprayed the elephants.

Please share to help spread education about elephant riding.

What I liked Most

Playing with the six month-year-old baby. Nana, would randomly start charging at people wanting to interact. She liked pushing me backward and sideways. She even used her feet to playful kick me.

How did you get there?

The tour company picked us up at our accommodation.

Pro Tips

  • Shoes that you don't mind getting dirty. Comfortable shorts or pants.
  • You'll have the opportunity to bath the elephants, so bring a bathing suit and towel. You can shower there if you'd like.
  • Ask questions, be curious, and get ready to feed the elephants seemingly unlimited bananas.

Cost Details

The tour costs $50 per person. Bring some extra cash if you want to ask about purchasing one of the traditional shirts like I did!

Additional info on transportation

Along the way, we stopped at the drivers sisters restaurant. Breakfast and coffee fueled us up before the tour.

Additional info on food

Lunch was provided at the end of the tour. A buffet style assortment of soups, chicken, veggies, and rice. Help yourself to seconds (or thirds).

Additional info on drinks

Bottled water and coffee was provided

Chiang Mai Thailand, Thailand

Vibe
All The Feels
Price
$$$$ ($25-$100)
Length
Half Day
Provided
Transportation, Food, Drinks

Booking Info

Name
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Email
elephant.ejs@gmail.com
Website
http://www.elephantjunglesanctuary.com/half-day-visit-morning
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Full Day Elephant Nature Park

Detailed Overview

Located in the Chiang Mai province of Northern Thailand, the Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary for elephants, buffalos, dogs, cats, birds and many other rescued animals that have been mis-treated or injured in the line of work – circus performers, loggers, abuse by mahouts giving rides or those injured from land mines etc. Its heartbreaking to hear and see what they have gone through, but warming to know they are being cared for so well at the sanctuary.

There are many tour and volunteering options to choose from, and we opted for the single day visit to the elephant park after a friends recommendation.

The tour starts with a hotel pickup and drive through a picturesque rural Thai countryside where you get taken to the park to observe free roaming elephants enjoying the natural surroundings. Throughout the day you’ll get the chance to feed the elephants from the viewing platform, take a beautiful stroll with the park staff and elephants to the river and bathe the gentle giants as they splash around.

The day is split in to two parts – first meeting individual elephants closer to the center so hear their stories and feed them. Then have an amaaazingly delicious lunch followed by a visit to the river to bathe them, and them a long walk around the park where you’ll meet the larger herds and see the whole park. This second part was definitely my favorite section of the day and we got really lucky seeing a larger herd with a baby playing in the mud and river. Careful not to get too close to the baby, the mother and nanny elephants are ultra protective!

Seriously, go! This is not to be missed and it was so incredible to be able to spend time with these gentle creatures.

What I liked Most

Bathing the elephants was incredible, as was the walk through the park after lunch

Pro Tips

  • Checkout the rescued dog center as well as Cat Kingdom during the lunch break. Also don't be shy to get close to all the dogs and cats walking around!
  • Don't miss out on getting in the river with the Elephants! You don't really go deeper than your knees so just bring shorts and you'll be fine. No need for a change of clothes

Cost Details

Single ticket for the 'day visit' option is roughly $80 USD

Additional info on transportation

Pickup and drop-off from your location in Chiang Mai

Additional info on food

Lunch provided at the park

Chiang Mai Thailand, Thailand

Vibe
Hands On
Price
$$$$ ($25-$100)
Length
Full Day
Provided
Transportation, Food

Booking Info

Name
Elephant Nature Park
Website
https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/
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