Chiang Mai has loads of elephant sanctuaries, that I counted well over 20 in the area. In the past and even today, elephants were trained with use of hooks or hitting the elephants to work mainly in the lumber industry.
And as Chiang Mai grew as a tourist spot, tours offered and still offer elephant riding which involves a cruel process of breaking in baby elephants so tourist can ride them when they become adults.
Now that the elephants have retired or have been rescued are given a better life in the elephant sanctuaries in the northern region of Thailand.
- What Makes An Elephant Sanctuary?
- Best Elephant Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai
- Elephant Nature Park
- Into The Wild Elephant Camp
- Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary & Trekking
- Maerim Elephant Sanctuary
- Happy Elephant Home
- Encourage Responsible Tourism
- What To Pack And Pack?
- Wrapping Up
There is a lot of elephant sanctuaries in Northern Thailand especially around the Chiang Mai area.
Unfortunately, not all camps are equal and some research is required to narrow it down the best elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai.
What Makes An Elephant Sanctuary?
The simply answer is that the elephants have a home where they have the freedom to move around freely with plenty of room to do so in there normal habitat.
And that the elephants are safe, cared for and receive medical care when needed.
Best Elephant Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai
Here are some of the best elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai.
Elephant Nature Park
Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand, around 60 km from Chiang Mai. And is properly the most popular.
It is not only elephants they help here, they also help dogs, buffaloes and many other animals to that adds to the natural environment.
This sanctuary provides the elephants a safe natural habitat where they are free roam the vast forest, play in the river.
The tours, gives your an opportunity to feed them, bath with them and learn about elephants. And there is a overnight packages.
You can read more about Elephant Nature Park from there website here.
Into The Wild Elephant Camp
Into The Wild Elephant Camp is an elephant sanctuary and education center in Northern Thailand.
At the sanctuary the elephants are free to do what they want to which is mostly roam the vast forest, play in the river.
This sanctuary takes in elephants who are no longer able to work basically retirement. The elephants are treated as part of the staffs extended family.
They want to ensure the elephants live a happy life after workings so hard for so many years of their lives.
This sanctuary works for the well being of the elephants and for the local Karen community. They believe in giving back to the community by employing locals and supplying them with clothing.
You can read more about Elephant Nature Park from there Facebook page here.
Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary & Trekking
The Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary & Trekking rescues elephants that have been forced to work in the high density population and traffic area. This can make elephants stressed and frightened.
The Sanctuary returns the elephants back to there natural habitat and provides a safe place the elephants to live out there lives peacefully.
The tours, not only helps support Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary & Trekking but also gives your an opportunity to feed them, bath with them and learn about elephants. And there is a 2 day package that involves trekking.
You can read more about Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary & Trekking from there website here.
Maerim Elephant Sanctuary
The Maerim Elephant Sanctuary helps and resumes bad treated elephants and provides them with a them with a beautiful environment where they are safe, loved and cared for.
Maerim Elephant Sanctuary is 100% against elephant riding, elephants performance tricks and any methods of training where pain is inflicted.
We believe that by sharing our passion with our guests we can all contribute towards providing rescued elephants a beautiful life which they deserve.
In taking a tour, not only helps support Maerim Elephant Sanctuary but also gives your an opportunity to feed them, bath with them and learn about elephants.
You can read more about Maerim Elephant Sanctuary from there website here.
Happy Elephant Home
At the Happy Elephant Home in Chiang Mai they help and rescue mistreated elephants and then provide a natural habitat for the elephants to move around freely.
You will see the elephants not only moving around freely but also go for a swim and taking a mud bath.
In taking a tour, helps support Happy Elephant Home to continue helping the elephants but also gives your an opportunity to feed them, bath with them and learn about elephants.
You can read more about Happy Elephant Home from there website here.
Encourage Responsible Tourism
A lot of elephants in northern Thailand can go through a very cruel process of intensively conditioning to obey there masters and allow people to ride them. This process starts when the elephant is a baby.
Over the last decade tourists have become aware and concerned of the cruel process elephants go through to allow people to ride them.
As a result has created a positive demand for elephant sanctuaries to be created where the elephants are safe and are free to wander around.
This created a more sustainable tourist where tourists can learn about the elephants and join the elephants in swimming with them in the river or mud baths and feeding them.
What To Pack And Pack?
Chiang Mai is generally hot and humid, you should wear comfortable clothing such as cotton short sleeved shirts and shorts.
Wear a pair of shoes that are comfortable for walking and ones that you don’t getting wet if you go for swim and bathe with the elephants.
Don’t forget to pack an extra pair of dry clothes to change into before riding back to your hotel. A small zip lock bag, bottle of sun cream and mosquito repellent also a useful to have.
Finally, a trip to Chiang Mai is not complete until you visit a elephant sanctuary. This provides visitors an amazing opportunity to meet elephants and to interact with them.
There is a lot of Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai and you will need to do a little research before deciding on which sanctuary you are going to visit.
And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on the Best Elephant Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if are other sanctuaries to add.