We’d done our due diligence and researched the different elephant sanctuaries Chiang Mai had to offer (and believe me there are a lot!) but this one seemed to be one of few true sanctuaries. I’m so glad we chose to go here.
I wasn’t expecting the complete awe and wonder this place evoked in me. These majestic creatures, and they truly are, are well looked after here with not a hook in sight.
Their new home is like something straight out of Jurrasic Park, complete with tremendous roaring in the distance. At one point I really had to remind myself we weren’t about to get chased by a pack of velociraptors!
First port of call was feeding the elephants and boy do they sure love to eat.
After going on our first walk around the park to see the elephants, I noticed that they appeared to be in set places and started to worry. Why were they in certain areas and not roaming around where they wanted? As the day went on, I came to the realisation that all these elephants want to do is eat and chill the day away and will happily follow anyone with food and stay anywhere where food is given to them. Creatures after my own heart ❤️😉
Next it was time for a longer walk around the park to see more of the elephants. As we walked it became apparent that the elephants each had their own personality. Some we weren’t allowed to touch as they were less sociable creatures and there was one cheeky young lad who had to be kept separate with his number 1 nanny as he was known for pinching people’s cameras!
Fun fact: Each baby elephant has its mother and a few nanny elephants. The baby elephant chooses his favourite nanny who then becomes known as number 1 nanny. Girl elephants stay with their mother and nanny their entire life. Boy elephants however, at the age of 5, have to leave their mother and join the other male elephants. Male elephants also separate themselves from the females in the wild.
On our second walk, it was an absolute pleasure to watch the elephants go about their daily life. Eating, wandering and spraying themselves with their own special brand of suncream.
This truly was the best day of my life so far. Once I was happy that the elephants were truly looked after here, I spent the rest of the day with a permenant beam attached to my face. Well, apart from the moments where the elephants’ past stories were shared. The majority of these magnificent animals had injuries from their previous lives: broken backs and legs from logging and severe scars and gouges from elephant riding. I would deeply urge anyone who ever visits Thailand, or anywhere with elephants, to please not ride these gorgeous creatures. The seats they use are made of heavy iron, and though these animals are big and strong, who are we to put them through so much pain and agony for the quick pleasure of a ride.
So remember, please choose a sanctuary worth your support and get ready to enjoy an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.