The 5 Best Elephant Sanctuaries and Centers worth visiting in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand.
The Thai elephant (ช้างไทย, Chang Thai) is the official name of the national animal of Thailand, so elephants represent strength, loyalty and longevity, and Thais believe that walking under an elephant brings good luck. There are already several popular stories about elephants in Thai and Buddhist literature. Elephants in Thailand contribute greatly to Thai society and have a significant impact on Thai culture. Elephant tourism in Thailand is very popular, but sometimes not good for the atmosphere of the elephants. Indian elephants are a subspecies of the Asian elephant. In the 1900s, there were about 100,000 captive elephants in Thailand, but by mid-2007 there were an estimated 3,456 captive elephants and about a thousand wild elephants. The number of captive elephants increased to an estimated 3,783 in 2017.The elephant was declared an endangered species in Thailand in 1986.
Now it is a good achievement in tourism of elephant activities called elephant sanctuaries. There are many elephant rescue centers where elephants live a happy life, but also too old for conventional business. Most elephant rescue centers are run on a donation basis and the entrance fees are spent directly on the welfare of the elephants. Tourists are welcome to see the elephants in the mountains of Chiang Mai in their natural environment. You can interact with the elephants by feeding, washing and bathing them, but you must not force them too much, because then the elephants may prefer to live alone and retreat into the jungle for some time. Here are the 5 best elephant sanctuaries and centers around Chiang Mai that are worth visiting.
1- Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary and rescue center for elephants in the Mae Taeng district of Chiang Mai province, 60 kilometers away. The park was founded by the famous elephant rights activist Saengduean Chailert, known as Lek, and is the first elephant sanctuary in Asia. Many of the elephants currently living in the park have been rescued from elephant riding, street begging and circus shows, and have suffered both physical and psychological injuries. The park’s herds include blind, crippled, orphaned and elderly elephants who can now live a natural, peaceful life with respect and love. Elephant Nature Park offers educational programs to help visitors understand the Asian elephant and the challenges it faces as a keystone species. In addition to being an elephant sanctuary, the park is home to hundreds of other rescued animals, including cows, buffalo, horses, goats, dogs, cats, pigs, birds and many more.
The park has provided sanctuary to dozens of distressed rescued elephants from across the country. It is a project where tourists can pay to visit and help care for the animals, as well as stay for extended periods of time. The Thai government made efforts to promote ecotourism in Chiang Mai province in the late 1990s. Plans for ecotourism were controversial among the local community, but represent the largest source of revenue for the province.
For more information visit the official website: www.elephantnaturepark.org
2- Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is a sustainable ecotourism and ethical project in the four provinces of Thailand. The sanctuary was established in July 2014 as a joint initiative between Karen hill tribes and Chiang Mai residents concerned about the welfare of elephants in Thailand. The goal is to provide the elephants with the highest level of health, freedom and happiness they truly deserve. The sanctuary also offers overnight accommodations, activities such as feeding, bathing and jungle walks. The sanctuary is a progressive and ethically responsible approach to elephant ecotourism to raise awareness and educate people about the care and plight of elephants in Thailand and around the world.
For more information: https://elephantjunglesanctuary.com
3- Mae Sa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai, Thailand
At Mae Sa Elephant Camp, you can spend the entire day with one of 70 cute, giant mammals amidst the natural environment. With more than 30 years of experience as an elephant keeper, Mae Sa offers a range of activities for you to experience, including shows with talented elephants, an elephant parade, and a glimpse of how the mahouts (elephant keepers) care for their giant friends.
Hours: 08:00 – 17:00, More information: Website: www.maesaelephantcamp.com
4- Chiang Mai Elephant Land, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai Land is another alternative sustainable elephant sanctuary that promotes sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly ecotourism that ensures the elephant experience does not harm the animals or the environment. The management aims to provide a good life for the elephants by providing them with land to roam, rich forests to enjoy, beautiful waterfalls and rivers to bathe and relax in, and organic and natural food.
Chiang Mai Elephant Land offers the opportunity to feed, wash, bathe, hug and hold elephants, making it a special place for elephants and people. The sanctuary specializes in taking in older elephants who have worked in traditional activities such as various festivals and circuses and can now enjoy a happy life in their sanctuary.
For more information: http://www.chiangmaielephantland.com/
5- Elephant Rescue Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Elephant Rescue Park is a bigger name in Chiang Mai and focuses on elephants that have already worked in the fields or have been abandoned by festivals, circuses, etc. There are elephants of all ages, from older animals that have lived most of their lives in logging camps or conventional farms, to small elephants that are even born in the elephant sanctuary.
There is a special overnight package that makes the amazing this elephant sanctuary where visitors can stay in the elephant sanctuary for two days as well as can sleep in their wooden houses. This best opportunity for elephant lovers can be learn more about the life of elephants.
For more information: www.elephantrescuepark.com