Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai
If you are planning on visiting Thailand and going to an Elephant Sanctuary, then you will come across many elephant parks which claim to be a ‘sanctuary’. However, you have to be extremely cautious when choosing the right one to go to to ensure you are ethically travelling. This is because most of these so-called ‘sanctuaries’ are places thfat overwork their elephants, keep them in small and contained places and make them perform tricks to the audience. Yet a very reputable and amazing sanctuary who actually take elephants away from these types of environments is the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai! This was my favourite day on our trip to Thailand, not even in Thailand, but in life.
We decided to go for the full day visit and would recommend anyone to do the same. On arrival, you are given bananas and sugar canes to feed the elephants! It was surreal and hilarious when we first set eyes on them, there was the cutest yet craziest baby elephant along with some of the adult ones. Watching Becky panic and run away as the elephants try and steal the bananas right out of your hands, was one of the funniest moments ever. We had no idea they could be so mischievous. Even though you know elephants are absolutely huge creatures, to actually see and touch one up close is something else entirely. You can watch their behaviour and you get to discover the different personalities of each of them. There are so many great photo opportunities too!
We then got to take a short break and eat traditional Thai food while overlooking the river and jungle which was very satisfying after running around with the elephants. It was then clothes off and bikinis on. We got to take all the elephants into a mud (and god knows what else) spa. This was my favourite part. Everyone was completely covered in mud, throwing it at each other and over the elephants. Even the guides really got into it and managed to cover Leigh in the mud.
We then got to take the elephants into the nearby river to wash them and ourselves off. We were given buckets to fill up and wash the elephants and of course, it just ended in a massive water fight. Even the baby elephants were climbing on top of each other and play fighting in the water.
I would recommend this to anyone visiting Thailand! The north of Thailand has so much to offer and was probably my favourite part of the trip. Also if you book online you get to keep the traditional Karen clothing they give you. We were the only ones who booked online in the group who did book online so it was a very nice surprise for us!
For more information and to book online visit the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary website here.