Discover an ethical and sustainable eco-tourism project located approximately 60km from the city of Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Founded in July 2014, it is a joint initiative between members of the Karen hill-tribes and Chiang Mai locals who were concerned about the welfare of elephants in Thailand.
There are four nature parks in Thailand, they are near Chiang Mai, Pattai. Samui and Phuket. Visitors to the Sanctuary are able to feed, bathe and play with the Elephants during their visit.
For mahouts, bathing with elephants is also a sign of trust and affection that they can express to their elephants, they also help clean the harder to reach spots to ensure that the elephant is thoroughly cleaned. Elephants also enjoy the water to cool down and sometimes they like to throw water at each other as a form of playing. Spending time with them in daily activities makes the bond between elephants and humans stronger and shows them the affection that they may not have received before. Elephants that are no longer considered wild need this love and attention otherwise they will not be social or cooperative in the sanctuary.
visitors can experience the joy of bathing with elephants at all sanctuaries. While feeding them or walking with them provide a very interesting experience, bathing with elephants gets you close and right with the elephants. This is where they are most comfortable and most likely to interact with you. For a lot of people, especially children, this is an important life experience that is memorable and joyous. This is a chance for any visitor to interact with this majestic animal in a way they have never done so before because zoos and safaris don’t allow any kind of interaction with elephants. If you really feel like you’ve made a friend with one of the elephants, you can always go back and visit because as we all know, elephants never forget!
You can also bring a camera with you but if you prefer a professional photo shoot this is also available at no extra charge.
The journey to and from the sanctuary is a bit hairy at times particularly the road directly leading to the camp (take travel sickness tablets if you tend to suffer – avoid going hung over too if you can).
The walk is not for the fainthearted or unfit. It’s a good 20 minute walk/ climb down to the camp, but its also very beautiful.
What to bring: Shorts and/or swimming gear, towel, umbrella, walking shoes and flip flops or sandals, mosquito repellant, and a change of clothing. For overnight, also bring clothes to sleep in and a jacket.
Time (Morning/Afternoon) Program
11:30-12:00 pm Pick up from your hotel or accommodation.
12:00 pm Drive approximately 1.5 hours South of Chiang Mai through rolling hills, forest, and local farming areas.
1:30 pm Arrive at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. Learn about the elephants and change into traditional Karen clothing.
2:00 pm Meet the elephants. Feed, interact, and play with the elephants in a natural environment as you learn about their behavior and history. Take photos with the elephants.
2:00 pm Meet the elephants. Feed them and administer dietary supplements as you learn their stories. Play, interact, and take photos with the elephants in a natural setting.
2:45 pm Mud spa with the elephants.
3:30 pm Walk with the elephants to a river and bathe them.
4:30 pm Have traditional meal and then say goodbye to the elephants.
5:00 pm Leave the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and drive approximately 1.5 hours to Chiang Mai.
6:30 pm Drop off at your hotel or accommodation.
* Please Note: At the Sanctuary, they will allow you to spend as much time as possible with the elephants. Therefore, there is no formal schedule and aside from pick-up times, the times shown here are approximations.
For Chiang Mai and Phuket they offer Half Day, Full Day, Exclusive One Day Walk with Elephants and Overnight Stay options
For Pattaya and Samui only half day is available.
Day tours are 2,500 baht ($73US); overnight tours are 5,800 baht ($168US)
Half day 1600 baht ($53)
Less than 3yrs free
* Roundtrip transfer
* English speaking guide
* Online photographs
* Elephant food
* Snacks and refreshments
* Thai meal
* Hut included if staying overnight
If you book online here at the moment you will get their lovely smock as a gift.
RECOMMENDATION FOR THOSE WHO JUST WANT TO SWIM WITH ELEPHANTS AT THE BEACH AS SEEN IN THE VIDEO ABOVE
You’ll need to go to Tri Trang Beach Resort (many people dont know anything about this so go to this resort!). GO to the lobby and there’s a lovely tour guide there who will book a taxi for you. It cost about 200 Baht to be driven up the road and around the corner (You can also just walk to it from the hotel).
Drive to the top of the hill and descend down to this private beach dedicated entirely to the elephants. It costs 700 baht for 20mins with one elephant and there’s a lady who will also take photos for you. All your photos are put onto a DVD and one picture is printed and framed for an additional 500 baht (this is optional). There are four elephants, ranging from babies to fully grown adults, and they are clearly loved. They have their own open aired hut in the shade and they are not chained. Afterwards the guides thoroughly wash the elephants in fresh water and they are rewarded with bananas and food. And there’s no inhumane saddles either – you’re just straight onto its back!
We highly recommend this experience, the biggest elephant may squirt you in the face, give you kisses and toss you in the water.