Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Elephants – my all time favourite animal! I’ve always wanted to go to an elephant sanctuary and meet the beauties up-close. First things first, lets be clear that it’s a sanctuary that I wanted to visit, not a camp, or a day spent riding elephants. But a sanctuary.
Whilst in Chiang Mai I done a lot of research about elephant sanctuaries in order to find the best place. The main points I was looking for in a sanctuary were…
- places with no elephant riding
- places that do not harm/beat the elephants
- places where the elephants were not chained
- places where the elephants were not under any drugs
All of the above, were very important factors for me when deciding which sanctuary to visit, as I am 100% against animal cruelty, and absolutely hate the way that many elephants (and other animals) are treated in Thailand. (And unfortunately in many other countries in the world)
I finally found The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and decided I was happy with the welfare of their animals and what they had to offer. So, what did they have to offer? Well, a lot! To be honest, I was a bit strapped for cash by this point but I was so keen on going! I decided on a half day tour in the end. This half day tour was in the morning and involved being picked up from the hostel we were staying at and driving all the way to the Sanctuary (around 60km from the City). Once we arrived we were sent off to our camp with a group of roughly 25 people and sat down for an overview and talk about the Sanctuary and how the day would go.
To start with we were all given the traditional Karen clothing to put on before being given bananas, sugar canes and pumpkins for the elephants! Down we went to meet the elephants and use the special techniques we had been taught to use when feeding them. This was such an incredible experiences hand feeding elephants, including a baby elephant! (FYI -SO cute!). We had plenty of time to feed & cuddle the elephants as well as getting plenty of snaps on our cameras. I was even lucky enough to get a big kiss right across my face from one cheeky fella! Unfortunately this was an elephant…
After feeding the elephants it was time for a mud bath! A few minutes walk away and we were at the biggest, muddiest, puddle I have ever seen. There was no way to look pretty here, falling around and sinking in the mud whilst trying to throw mud at and massage the elephants. However I must say, the tour guides were very good at ensuring we were all safe and having a great time, without being squashed by the elephants rolling around getting muddy!
Time to wash off the mud! Down to the river we went. After plenty of splashing from humans and elephants and a few more photos it was time to head back for lunch. A full buffet was served with noodles, rice, veg, fruit, teas, coffees and biscuits! The whole group sat together eating our lunch surrounded by elephants walking past us, minding their own business. An unreal feeling. We did however have to mind our food from the many stray dogs who wanted a bite to eat!
All in all, it was such a brilliant day, and there was no elephant harming in sight. I would be more than happy to recommend The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary to anyone in the Chiang Mai area looking for a memorable day out. So a big thank you to the whole team for making this such an incredible experience and one I will treasure forever!
P.S. Bring plenty of water, suncream, a hat, and a spare pair of clothes!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, if you have any questions about my day at the Sanctuary, feel free to send a message!