Visiting an elephant sanctuary is a very popular bucket list item when travelling Thailand but it is essential that you make 100% sure that the company you choose is legitimately ethical and takes care of the elephants they look after.
I took the opportunity to spend the day with these amazing creatures in Chiang Mai – arguably the best place to visit a sanctuary as there are a number of companies to choose from that all take deep in to the jungle.
The sanctuary was family ran and the responsibility to look after the elephants had been passed down for generations. It was very underdeveloped – with only a raised deck to feed the elephants and a little area for making the elephant medicine. Other than that, there was a load of room for them to run around, a pool for bathing in and the freedom to clamber up to the jungle as they please.
Price: 1,800 baht (£48) – this is a good price, most are more like £60/70 for the day
Also included in the price – you are given lunch, taken on a hike to a huge waterfall and get to try out white water rafting.
At the sanctuary I visited, they come and pick you up in the morning in the back of a 4×4 and drive you and the rest of the group to the jungle (this took about 2 hours).
We then got introduced to the elephants and briefed about their background and how they ended up in the care of these people – most were rescued.
After that, we were given time to feed them – a load of bananas – and wonder around the site with them and up to the jungle where they go to fetch food and play.
It was then time to hop in the murky pool with them to give them a scrub.
Let me know in the comments…