Elephants have the uncanny ability to look right through you. If you get close enough to look into their eyes, you’ll be met with unmistakable animal wisdom, even a sense of humour. Located outside Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, the Elephant Nature Park rescues Asian elephants from unscrupulous logging and tourist operations. Visit for a day or week to volunteer with elephants, washing, walking or feeding these gentle giants.
Length of Trip : Full day, or longer if you wish to volunteer at the park. Visitors can also spend the night at on-site accommodation.
Best time to go : The park is open year-round. Cool/dry season is mid-October to mid-February.
Wheelchair friendly : Contact the park to arrange your visit.
Family friendly : Yes
Where to eat :
A buffet-style lunch is served for visiting guests each day, including delicious Thai dishes, vegetarian and western options.
Official Site :
Visit the official site of Elephant Nature Park
Where to Stay :
Overnight guests to Elephant Nature Park stay in private huts, with mosquito net bedding and attached bathrooms. Volunteers stay in shared twin rooms, with mosquito net bedding and shared bathrooms.
On a budget in Chiang Mai? I enjoyed my stay at the Bow Chiangmai House, which was clean and basic.
Splurging? There's quite a few five-star hotels in the city, including the Shangri-La and Four Seasons.
Getting There :
Transportation from Chiang Mai is included in your package. It takes about 90 minutes to drive the 65km to the park.
Note from Robin :
The stories behind the elephants are incredible, so its worth reading about them at the camp or online before your visit. Some were rescued on the streets, others from abusive logging or tourist camps. There are elephant camps catering to tourists throughout the region, some of them more responsible and ethical than others. As a day-tripper, you won't ride these elephants, but your visit (and dollars) will be far more meaningful. The park also has a successful dog rescue program.