Visiting an Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai is one of the most expensive, but most rewarding experiences you can do. There is an overwhelming amount of options in Chiang Mai for sanctuaries to visit. As long as you make sure it’s a Sanctuary, or National Park, and NOT a riding camp you should be okay with any option.
I chose to go to Maeklong Elephant Conservation Community and it was absolutely amazing. They had roughly 7 elephants with them at the time. Our head guide, Adam, was very passionate about them and you could tell he was doing what he loved.
What the Afternoon Looks Like
He first gave us a background on each one, where they were rescues from, what had happened to them, their names, etc. One elephant had stepped on a landmine so it’s poor foot was mangled. This same elephant they found out was pregnant right after they rescued it, bonus! Saving two elephants in one.
Then the elephants started coming up to us and we had previously washed a bunch of bananas as treats to give them. We spent about half an hour feeding them these treats, and just walking around hanging out with them.
They started wandering over elsewhere while the company had gathered some brush for us to hand them. These were giant branches where they would put it in their mouth and then snap it into halves with their trunk until they got all of the leaves off. Such smart animals!
A couple of the seven elephants started walking toward the water, so we followed them down and helped them bathe. Basically, splashed around in some water with them, scrubbing some mud on their skin and washing them off with a bucket or hose. Such a cool experience.
After the elephants were all clean and satisfied they walked back to their favourite spots in this massive plot of land. Which was our cue that they no longer wanted to hang out with us. We were now able to have our own showers to wash off the mud. The company even gave us soap and shampoo to use. Then we got changed back into our own clothes and sat down for some delicious Vegetarian Pad Thai and some fruit. Visiting an Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai was hands down one of the best afternoons I’ve spent in Thailand so far, and would highly recommend it to anyone!
Post coming soon about why you should not visit Elephant Riding Camps!
Comment below your thoughts on this article. Have you ever done something similar?
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