Asian elephants are one of the planet’s amazing, gentle creatures; While in Thailand, I had the opportunity to visit the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary outside of Chaing Mai to spend some time with these gentle giants.
The tours start in the city and an open-air van company vehicle drives you and a group of people 2-hours deep into the mountains where a half dozen of the friendliest Asian elephants and looking forward to meeting you.
The activities include feeding them lots of bananas, playing in the mud and washing off the leathery pachyderms in the nearby stream. Overall, this project has excellent intentions to protect the dwindling population of Asian elephants.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Uncensored
The company has multiple camps, with locations in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya. All sanctuaries provide ethical and sustainable eco-tourism, which I REALLY liked. I visited the Chiang Mai sanctuary in the mountains of northern Thailand.
Upon arrival at the elephant jungle sanctuary, they give you a briefing on their efforts, and the elephants you’ll meet that day. Oddly, they give you a burlap cover to put on, which has scents that the elephants recognize, which helps to calm them with the throngs of visitors.
While playing the gentle giants, prepare to get dirty! Even though humans don’t resemble elephants, they think we like the mud as much as they do! The elephants will sling that shit all over everyone! Thanksfully, the end of the day includes a bath in to clean everyone up for the long drive back to the city.
The popularity with this destination is very high, however the tour operator limits the number of people per group. You should expect to make reservations in advance. The likelihood of same-day reservations at any of the elephant jungle sanctuaries is low.