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Feeding elephants in chiang mai

Majestic Asian elephants are synonymous with Thailand. These wonderful animals form family groups, are fiercely loyal and experience love and loss. Unfortunately, the treatment of these animals is often cruel and unethical. Owners have followed the practice of Phajaan, which is a process of breaking an elephant’s spirit, something which over time has begun to raise questions given the suffering of the animals.

To challenge this practice, a number of sanctuaries have appeared in Chiang Mai over the years, with the sole purpose of rescuing mistreated elephants from industries such as the tourist trade. Visiting one of these parks is a humbling experience, although be aware that some of the elephants stories can be quite upsetting.

Interested in visiting an elephant sanctuary? Contact us now. 

Elephant Nature Park, located 60km from Chiang Mai, is the most popular elephant sanctuary in the region. It opened in the 1990s under founder Lek Chailert, who is widely known for her conservation work with elephants. In addition to the main park, Elephant Nature Park also runs projects such as Elephant Freedom Project In Chiang Mai and Karen Elephant Retreat. Other organisations include Happy Elephant Home and Into The Wild Elephant Camp.

Sanctuaries offer similar packages, from half day visits to overnight stays. Depending on the park you choose, you can watch and learn about the elephants, feed them, and in some locations bathe them. Riding elephants is an unethical practice so this is not possible in any of the parks. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on offer at the Elephant Nature Park is to volunteer for a week. If you opt to do this you stay on site, clean the elephants stables, stock the elephant kitchen and go into nature to collect their food, amongst other jobs. You will learn about the individual elephants in a relaxed environment after the tour groups have left for the day. The experience is nothing less than inspiring.

We highly recommend visiting an elephant rescue sanctuary as part of your Thailand adventure. Contact Destination Seekers now for more information.

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