Elephants have long played an important role in Thai history, and the animal is a treasured national symbol. However, they have not always fared well in a tourism context, and there remain numerous operations where these majestic animals are not treated with the respect they deserve. Happily, Elephant Nature Park is most decidedly not one of those. By far the best place to get up close and personal with pachyderms, the sanctuary has led the movement to abandon rides and shows and put elephant welfare at the top of the agenda. Visits are focused on interaction. Guests spend their day either observing the elephants, wandering with them and their mahouts, or even helping to feed and wash the animals.