elephant sanctuary in Chiang mai – unbelievable experience

The best elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai Thailand – Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary 

Are you ready for one of the best experiences in your life? Thailand is a popular destination for tourists looking to see, ride or learn about the Chiang Mai elephants. However, riding elephants in Chiang Mai and the rest of Thailand is becoming a big issue against the welfare of the elephants. As a result, elephant sanctuary’s are being developed around Thailand to help care for neglected working elephants. I have been lucky enough to visit the best elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai to discover how these precious elephants are being cared for.

The elephant jungle sanctuary is an ethical elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai only a 1.5 hour drive away, don’t worry about transport the elephant jungle sanctuary, they will arrange everything for you including pick up from your accommodation in Chaing Mai and also drop-off back to your accommodation. From the moment they pick you up to the end of your adventure at the Chiang Mai elephant sanctuary, you will be treated as an honoured guest. The customer service is amazing and the elephant guides make you feel totally welcome throughout the day.

elephant sanctuary Chiang mai


elephant sanctuary Chiang mai

Your elephant trip in Chaing Mai also includes a mega buffet lunch, plenty of drinking water and lots of food for feeding the elephants in the camp. Also, the guides at the Chaing Mai elephant sanctuary speak very good English and this allows you to ask all the questions you want about the amazing elephants in Thailand. All the Chaing Mai elephant jungle ask is that you bring your own towel and change of clothes. They will provide hot shower, food, drink and of course an incredibale day at the best elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. In addition to this, take sun screen, it’s crazy how quick you catch the sun when you’re with the elephants.

elephant sanctuary Chiang mai

The Chaing Mai elephant sanctuary will make sure you have an unforgettable day at the epic Chiang Mai elephant camp. The elephant guides want you to learn about the Karen people and understand the hard work that is being done to save the Chiang Mai elephants. You will get involved with everything it takes to look after these amazing elephants in Chiang Mai. 

This includes feeding the elephants, washing the elephants, making medicine for the elephants and transporting their food around the elephant nature park. What I find truly warming is knowing our money is going towards welfare for the elephants in the Chaing Mai elephant camp and the environment they live in.

We are paying to make a difference to these elephant’s lifes which makes the day a whole lot more amazing!


  • Bathing suit for getting in the water with the elephants
  • Sunscreen, it gets hot out there
  • Towel for after you shower
  • Insect repellent for the mosquitoes in the elephant camp (they can be a bit of a. pain)
  • Change of clothes, but I just had a shower when I got back to my accommodation in Chiang Mai

For more information in what clothes for travelling you need, see backpacking essential item list for Asia


  • Pick up/Drop off to your stay in Chiang Mai
  • Food for you and the elephants
  • Free water
  • Friendly English speaking guide
  • Free pictures upload to Facebook

Best elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai

There are numerous elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai for you to visit. But you must do a little background research for information on the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai that you want to visit! Why? Elephants in Thailand are still being miss treated, underfed and used as circus acts.  It’s not fair on the elephants and as a human race we shouldn’t be supporting this.

Fortunately, there are elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai that provide good homes for these amazing gentle giants. The one we visited was our first choice and the elephant jungle sanctuary in my honest opinion I believe this to be the best elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai.

You will have an unforgettable elephant experience provided by the elephant jungle Sanctuary.

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elephant sanctuary Chiang mai

We chose the slow boat picturesque journey from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai, to eventually arrive at amazing elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. The slow boat is a popular route for backpackers looking to cross the border from Laos to Thailand.

We chose Chiang Mai as our first place to visit in Thailand, because we was mega eager to see the elephant jungle sanctuary of Chiang Mai. 

We did have the opportunity to see elephants in Laos. However, we discovered the elephant sanctuary’s in Thailand provide a more caring environment for the Thai elephants. And tourists can have a more pleasurable experience in being part of these amazing sanctuary’s for the elephants. 

Visiting the amazing elephant jungle sanctuary in Chiang mai and my experience 

Morning – Upon arrival to the elephant Sanctuary, we were greeted by a few friendly faces with a box of quirky Thai jumpers. Me and the other cool guys I met on the journey to the elephant jungle sanctuary, tried on the funky jumpers, they’re actually sweet but the sizes are a bit of a nightmare sorting out.

Then, after the fitting we received a debrief about the day, the guide will make you smile with his English language learned banter. 


elephant sanctuary Chiang mai national park

After debrief all the visitors excitedly ran down to the elephant’s field with a pocket full of free food for the elephants. Here you will wait for a couple of minutes for the huge Chiang Mai elephants to make there way over to you and then it’s all crazy fun from here.  

You feed them fruit, touch them and take selfies with the massive and baby elephants (the baby elephants are mega cute). Best of all its not controlled by a guide with a whip like you might see at other elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai.

The elephants are free to wander and you are free to wander around them and you get the vibe that the Jungle Sanctuary elephants are happy. Epic. 

elephant sanctuary Chiang mai Tour

After the first feed we all made our way over to another camp (you visit a few camps throughout the day), it’s just a 5 minute walk. Here you get to see and learn more about the Chiang Mai elephants. You may also get chance to see a pregnant elephant.

This camp was surrounded by stunning scenery and a mega waterfall that ran by the side of this elephant camp. Then, after 15 minutes here we took a walk to another camp, there’s so many happy elephants for you to see and learn about. 

This is another great location for the Jungle sanctuary elephants and here you will get more chances to feed them and be as close as you want. I was stunned all the way through the day of how close you can get to the elephants, it really is a surreal elephant sanctuary experience.

After a busy morning we made our way to the elephant jungle sanctuary camp house for a much needed buffet lunch. I took full advantage of the all-you-can-eat.

Furthermore, here you get an hour to chill out and get to know the other elephant sanctuary visitors. We got contact details from a few of the guys and went out for tea that same night. Your day is a great way to meet other people from around the world.

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elephant sanctuary Chiang mai Thailand

Afternoon (the best part of the day) – This is when we got to bathe with the elephants, it was one of the craziest and best things I’ve ever done, if not the craziest. Here you get to Cool the elephant down by washing them with water and mud. This is actually something the elephants do by themselves to stay cool, because elephants only sweat through their toes and in the hot sun they need a way of cooling down. 

elephant sanctuary Chiang mai Camp

elephant sanctuary Chiang mai Elephant tour Thailand

I’ve seen posts on the internet saying bathing with elephants is a terrible thing and the Chiang Mai elephant sanctuaries should be closed. Yeah I understand elephants should be free and I totally wish they roamed in the wild. However, elephants are being mistreated all over Southeast Asia, but this camp is a safe sanctuary for the elephants. 

After the elephant bathing, we all headed to the elephant sanctuary waterfall and this is hands down the best part of the elephant jungle sanctuary experience.

To be able to play and wash a happy Thai elephant in a waterfall is once in a lifetime experience. Both us and the elephants enjoyed cooling down underneath the epic flowing waterfall.

This was an unbelievable end to the day and it was just and incredible wow factor. The whole day was an unbelievable experience and I doubt there is many more best things to do in Thialand

History of the Karen Tribe and Chiang mai elephant in Thailand 

The elephant in Thailand  have played a massive role through Thailand’s history. The elephant is an iconic symbol in Thailand and are a big part of the Buddhist spiritual beliefs in Thailand.

Throughout time the Thailand elephants have been a crucial part the power of the kings of Thailand. The more elephants a king had the more powerful he was to his enemy.

Furthermore, in the early 1900’s the amount of elephants in Thailand was around 100,000 and over a century later that number has upsetting been reduced to around 3000 and most of these living in elephant nature parks.

elephant sanctuary Chiang mai 

So how have Thailand elephants become something of slavery and labour work? The Karen people have been working hard to protect the elephants in Thialand and their belief is that humans and animals should respect, love and understand one another.

The Karen people are now the primary carers of elephants in Chiang Mai and the rest of Thailand, they have the best interset of the elephants at heart.

This is why when you visit the Chiang Mai elephant santctuary, you will feel like you are in a naturual elephant sanctuary and not like you’re in some money grabbing elephant business. As a result, you will become part of the Karen tribe for one day in caring, protecting and learning about the elephants of Thailand.

The elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai have to purchase the ex-worker elephants or the actively mistreated elephants, this is why they actively seek support to help care for these majestic animals. However, unfortunately the elephants are not cheap to rescue. For example, we discovered an ex-worker elephant in Thailand can cost around $60,000, this is why they need our support in rescuing the elephants.

elephant sanctuary Chiang mai Elephants

How does the Thailand elephant sanctuaries know if an elephant needs rescuing?

The sanctuary gets asked frequently about when an elderly elephant needs to be put under special care.

Determining key factors are: – The elephant is 50-60 years old +

– Looking at their skin, nails and hair
– Digestive problems, examining urine and feces
– How well they digest their food, how much they’re chewing
– How many times they excrete waste

You can actively follow the amazing journey of the Chiang Mai elephant Jungle Sanctuary through social media and see how they’re making a difference to the lifes of elephants in Thailand. Remember it may cost you to go and see these amazing elephants, but every penny you spend goes towards looking after these breath-taking icons of Thailand

Follow on Instagram: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Follow on Facebook: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Follow on TripAdvisor: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

The conclusion of the best elephant sanctuary in Thailand

I had an unbelievable time here and it is an experience I will remember for ever. I hope you have an experience like I did, send me a message and tell me about your experience.

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