A sanctuary for former ill-treated, working Asian elephants, Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park encourages visitors to learn about the plight of these mammals and their habitat through activities such as feeding and helping to care for the resident herd.
Day-long visits include the chance to observe the animals in the forest, feed them fruit from a viewing platform under staff supervision, and assist with bathing elephants in a nearby river. Overnight experiences include on-site accommodations and allow for more time to view and learn from the herd at your leisure, while longer visits can last up to a week and offer more opportunities to walk with and care for the animals, as well as to learn from the local Karen hill tribe about how its people interact with elephants.
Elephant rides are not offered at the Elephant Nature Park, and the protected facility also encourages other elephant attractions to adopt the same policy. Funds raised here support efforts to reforest habitats for wild elephants, and the park also houses a menagerie of other rescued animals including dogs, cats, and birds. Food for the elephants is purchased locally to support area farmers.
The Elephant Nature Park is located just under 50 miles (80 km) north of Chiang Mai at 1 Ratmakka Road, Phra Sing. All guides speak fluent English and Thai, and while WiFi can be found in common areas, it should be noted that service can be intermittent. Bookings for full-day, overnight, and multi-day visits include round-trip transit from Chiang Mai proper, with basic single-day experiences starting at 2,500 Thai Baht ($70 USD).