Last updated: March 26, 2019
Visiting the Elephant Nature Park is one of the most popular things to do in Chiang Mai.
The park has been renowned as one of the most ethical places for rescuing elephants and giving them a sanctuary where they can spend the rest of their lives in their natural habitat, free from abuse.
I’ve been to the park, and I loved my experience.
In this article, you can read all you need to know before you go to the Elephant Nature Park, including how to get there, more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
More information about Elephant Nature Park
Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary for elephants that have been rescued from tree logging, tourism industry, circuses, and poaching. In 2016, more than 200 elephants had been rescued by Lek Chailert.
- Founder: Lek Chailert
- Founded: 1990s
- Location: Chiang Mai
- Coordinates: 19.2141°N 98.8584°E
- Land area: 250 acres (100 ha)
Volunteer at the Elephant Nature Park
If you wish to stay a little longer and make a difference and help the elephants, you can start with 7 days volunteering in the park. You will have meals and accommodation included as well as Wi-Fi.
You can choose from different rooms and various packages with activities.
Visiting Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai is one of my best travel experiences. I love animals, and I’m fascinated by elephants, so obviously I was in seventh heaven when I got the chance to meet them in person.
In the morning, we were picked up at the meeting point outside the hotel. Then we went in a minibus together with other visitors that would be in the same tour group as ours.
The ride from Chiang Mai to Elephant Nature Park is a little more than 1 hour, so we had plenty of time to get to know the others, which was nice since we were spending the day together.
At the park, we met Lek (the founder). I don’t think every group goes with her, but we were lucky enough to have her as our guide for the day.
She explained some basic rules and told us that the park exists for the well-being of the elephants, and she urged that all visitors should do their best to be mindful to the elephants and always respect them.
Lek taught us a lot about the elephants, and she knew every one of the elephants we met personally. You could tell her love for them easily, and it makes you feel even better when visiting.
This place is genuine, and you will get the chance to meet elephants on their terms. After 2 hours walking around the park and meeting various elephants, it was time for lunch.
We had lunch the whole group together, and afterward, we got to see the elephants bathing in the river. It was magical to experience, and it gave a pleasant end to our single day visit to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear to Elephant Nature Park?
Visitors should dress casually in loose and comfortable clothing. Don’t bring anything fancy because your clothes and shoes will most likely become dirty. There is no dress code here, but please remember that you will be spending time outdoors in nature.
I recommend wearing long pants in linen or other comfy and light material. Shorts is also fine, but don’t forget to put on some insect repellent then.
How can I make a reservation to visit the Elephant Nature Park?
It is recommended that you pre-book your trip to Elephant Nature Park. There is a limited amount of visitors per day, and they generally sell out far in advance.
Can you ride the elephants?
No, it is strictly forbidden to ride elephants in this park as it is very unethical and damaging for the animals. You can read more about Elephant riding here, and why you shouldn’t support it.
Is Elephant bathing allowed?
Since 16 April 2018, there will no longer be an option to bathe with the elephants. In order to allow the elephants to live as natural as possible, the park has decided that visitors can only see elephants bathing from a distance.
Is Elephant Nature Park ethical?
Yes, as ethical it can get is my answer. The most ethical would, of course, be to have the Elephants roaming freely in all of the jungles of Thailand, but that is just not possible due to illegal logging as well as poachers and kidnappings for the tourism industry.
Elephant Nature Park is an ethical park, and it has come a long way since it was founded in the 1990s. If you truly care about the elephants’ well-being, then this is the place you should visit in Thailand.
What organization is behind the sanctuary?
It was originally founded by Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, and it is now a part of the Save Elephant Foundation (SEF), which is a registered charity. Serengeti Foundation (USA) is another charity that supports SEF, which is based in the USA.
Do they have other animals?
Yes, they also rescue cats, dogs, buffaloes, and other rescued species.
Is a single day visit enough for visiting Elephant Nature Park?
It totally depends on what your goal is. If you want to make a difference and help the park, then you should consider volunteering for 7 days. But as for learning about elephants and have a memorable experience where you interact with the beautiful elephants, then it is worth visiting for just a day.
There is also the possibility to stay overnight.
Book your trip to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai
The single-day visits are popular and I recommend that you pre-book this before you go to Chiang Mai.
Have you also visited the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand? Feel free to share your experience in the comment section, and let me know as well if you have any additional questions!