A visit to Asia wouldn’t be complete without showing some love to an elephant. There is no way you can visit Thailand and not be given the opportunity to meet these gentle giants, but how you do it will defiantly differ. I’m a huge animal lover and couldn’t think of anything worse than riding these animals and then seeing them chained up. I done so much research into what elephant sanctuary I was going to visit and after countless hours of reviewing I decided to visit Elephant jungle sanctuary in Chiang Mai.
Elephant jungle sanctuary is located about 2 hours south of Chiang Mai’s busy centre. They also have nature parks in Pattaya and Phuket. They rescue elephants from the circus and other bad facilities helping them to rehabilitate whilst feeding them and giving them the care they require. Elephant welfare is their main goal. With a strict no riding policy.
The elephants are not in a small area and have 3 mountains and a whole lot of acres to roam around free in. They hear a bell every day that means free food to them and they come down from the mountains to get it from their handler. If the elephant doesn’t want to come then thats fine, but they mostly always come for some sugar cane.
What to expect from a day visit to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.?
Pick up from your hotel is around 8am and arrive at the sanctuary by 10.30. It’s a beautiful scenic drive up the mountain through the rolling forests. Once arrived you will walk through the grounds to your hub for the day. Here you will meet your guide and change into traditional Karen clothing. I loved the top, you can also purchase these later. Whilst here you will learn about the history of the elephants, how much it costs to rescue them and elephant behaviour.
Next its time to meet the elephants. I was so excited to get up close to these huge animals. With your pockets loaded with sugar cane you get to feed and touch the elephants. They roam free come up-to you and even brush past you. They know exactly where the food is in your pockets – watch out for the sneaky ones. We were lucky enough to have a one year old elephant join us. When you have finished with these elephants you take a walk through the fields and there are more eating and wandering around. Here you have time to touch and take photographs whilst watching the elephants. Next walking over a bamboo bridged you find yourself in the mountain side. You’ve guessed it, even more elephants are waiting for you here.
Heading back to the main hub you now get to indulge in a massive Thai feast whilst watching the elephants roam free. Lunch is followed by a lesson of making herbal medicine balls for the elephants. Once you’ve got your hands dirty its time for the best part. Strip down to your swimmers and bathe the elephants.
Muddy water had never looked so appealing. You could see that the elephants loved it. After they had been hand fed their medicine balls they were instantly playing in the mud and water. Picking up gloopy mud you use to brush the elephants. They love it. Obviously a massive mug fight starts between the guests and hosts, it’s like being a kid again – only better. Once the elephants have contributed and sprayed you back you all head down to the river. Walking along side the elephants bare foot in the mud and grass. It really is the best experience. Now you join the elephants for a swim and a rinse. Using buckets to rinse them whilst they give you a big spray from their trunk.
It really was the best day with nature. You arrive back at your hotel around 5pm.
Unfortunately my skin decided it didn’t like the mud, leaving me with a spotty rash for 4 days – the perks of sensitive skin! I wouldn’t change a thing tho. What an experience.