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Elephant Nature Park

Spend A Day With A Rescued Elephant
Learn about the history of elephants in Thailand, feed the elephants by hand, learn commands for controlling an elephant, ride bareback through the countryside, and finally spend some time in a small pond bathing your elephant. Baan Chang Elephant Park has 33 elephants on its grounds. Look into the eyes of your elephant and you'll be touched by years of hardship and wisdom. This experience is not one you'll easily forget.
An Elephant Never Forgets
They say the eyes are the "window to the soul." What kinds of stories do these eyes tell you? The Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand is a truly wonderful place that takes in elephants that have been injured and abused. They are well taken care of and allowed to roam about the large property on a daily basis. Guests can visit for the day or overnight to participate in the feedings and bath time. You can also volunteer for a week of more to take care of these wonderful creatures.
An Elephant Never Forgets Chiang Mai  Thailand

Sleeping with Elephants
During my trip to Thailand this past summer, I spent a night in the mountains of Chiang Mai at an elephant sanctuary.

This experience was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done while traveling abroad. Between the one-on-one time spent with elephants and their mahouts to the incredible vegetarian feast of sticky rice and pumpkin curry...this was a fantastic trip.
Sleeping with Elephants Chiang Mai  Thailand

Watching Giants Bathe
This was by far one of the most incredible experiences of my 3 weeks in Asia. Our group (consisting of just me, two other travelers, and 5 mahouts) were allowed to walk down to the bank of the river to watch this "family" of elephants bathe.

Watching them in such a natural habitat was truly breathtaking.
Watching Giants Bathe Chiang Mai  Thailand

Vegetarian Feast in the Hills of Northern Thailand
It's no secret that Thai food is one of the most loved cuisines in the world. In fact, some people travel to this country just to sample its fare. But if you have never dined on a vegetarian feast while enjoying the scenery of lush mountains and elephants in their natural habitat, you're truly missing out.

This was the best meal I had during my trip. We had everything from sweet sticky rice to pumpkin curry.
Vegetarian Feast in the Hills of Northern Thailand Chiang Mai  Thailand

Volunteer at the Elephant Sanctuary
Get ready to learn about elephants if you volunteer with these rescued elephants. You will feed them, bathe them in the river and help with chores around the sanctuary PLUS eat some of the best Thai food around. It is an amazing experience and helps support Lek's dream of helping injured elephants. The 2 week stay is $800, which includes delicious meals and staying in a bamboo hut with mosquito net, mattress pad on floor. Meet in Chiang Mai and get driven as a group to the sanctuary about 1 hour away. This sanctuary is very popular. She has started another one as well on the other side of Thailand. These elephants need our support!
Volunteer at the Elephant Sanctuary Chiang Mai  Thailand

Feeding Rescued Elephants
Elephant Nature Park has been established by a Thai woman who grew up with elephants and aims to improve the training and living conditions for them in Thailand. There are more than 30 elephants living in the park, each living closely with a trainer or mahout. Visitors spend the day with the elephants and get to feed and bath them. They are beautiful, amazing creatures and the park is a lovely oasis for them. We even got to visit with a 23 day old baby boy!
Feeding Rescued Elephants Chiang Mai  Thailand

Bathing with elephants
After a lengthy and dusty road trip north of Chiang Mai, we learned about this National Geographic recognized elephant sanctuary. Sanguduen Chailert (Lek) founded the Elephant Nature Park in the 90's to better appreciate the creatures that surrounded her remote mountain village. Visitors can participate in feedings and for those more adventurous, bathing the gentle giants in the local river. Baby elephants certainly splash around much more than infants and it is a great time! Participants can apply for varying lengths of programs in the main office located in central Chiang Mai.
Bathing with elephants Chiang Mai  Thailand

The End(s)
Elephant Nature Park. Go there, go there, go there! We "splurged" on a two day stint here at the park and we are so glad we did. ENP is a wonderful organization and a peek into the secret lives of elephants in Thailand.
The End(s) Chiang Mai  Thailand

Elephant in the Sun
An elephant emerges from the river after taking a late afternoon bath. Photographed by Joel Collins at the Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Elephant in the Sun Chiang Mai  Thailand

Helping to bathe an elephant in Northern Thailand
The Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand is a magical place for more than a few reasons. The Founder, Lek Chailert, has created a sanctuary where elephants can live free from (abusive) work and people can experience these creatures in close proximity, in ways that aren't harmful for the elephants. The fact that elephants are roaming freely doing what they want to do means travelers get to see elephants behaving as they would if they were out on their own. This is a much different, and much more exciting, experience than seeing elephants with packs strapped to their backs, carrying tourists in a single file line… down a beaten path. This is an invigorating once in a lifetime experience, and visiting here supports Lek's efforts toward elephant and habitat conservation.
Helping to bathe an elephant in Northern Thailand Chiang Mai  Thailand

The best food in Thailand (and yes, I realize this is a strong statement).
In case you need more reasons to visit the Elephant Nature Park, which, trust me, you dont ;); the food is absolutely delicious. Served buffet style, lunch includes about 20-30 different dishes whipped up by the local people who live in the area (about an hour north of Chiang Mai). The food is all vegetarian, and it is in no way lacking for flavor or variety. Even better than that, its made with love. And you can taste it. As you watch elephants roam the hills.
The best food in Thailand (and yes, I realize this is a strong statement). Chiang Mai  Thailand

209/2 Sridom Chai Road, ตำบล กื้ดช้าง อำเภอ แม่แตง เชียงใหม่ 50100, Thailand
+66 53 272 855
Mon - Sat 9am - 5pm