We had arranged to spend the day at the Elephant Nature Park, the coach picked us up from our hotel at 830am. The drive to the park takes an hour. It is quite far from the city, in a rural area north west of Chiang Mai, near Chang Mae Ping Village.
Elephant Nature Park is an Asian elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand where you can volunteer and visit to help. They have been involved in dozens of rescues to create their thriving elephant herd. They use a philosophy of positive reinforcement and elephants are never punished. The park provides a natural environment for abused, injured and retired working elephants and other animals (they have 350 dogs wandering about the park!) under their care. Volunteers and visitors contribute to the healing while learning about their lives past and present. The park was set up by a lady called Lek who is well known because of the amazing work she has done in this field and she has won many awards.
On the way
This is an amazing experience and one should not miss. This park does not let you ride the elephants, it does not train them to do tricks. Which in our opinion is great and is one of the reasons we chose this park over others. We want to see elephants in their natural state. They actually let the elephants roam free and the visitors are only allowed in designated areas.
Elephant Nature Park
1 Ratmakka Road, Muang district
Chiang Mai 50100
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2.5 month baby elephant
We fed a number of the elephants and bathed them. The centre provides you with an amazing vegetarian buffet (a couple of the items contain egg). Our group of ten ate together. There was a couple from Nottingham, one from Germany, another couple from Quebec and one from Amsterdam, a nice group. We all chatted over lunch and got to know each other.
We also saw a 10 week old baby elephant and a naughty teenager, Hope, who keeps everyone at the Park on their toes. he was born at the park. We had fun watching him bath in the river.
The park also shows you a documentary about Elephants and their mistreatment in South East Asia including details of the pajaan, a cruel ceremony used to break the spirit if wild elephants. As we were watching this rather serious documentary, one of the park dogs came in and jumped at the screen as it seemed to recognise one of the dogs in the documentary. We were all in stitches! Apparently, the dog does this every day at exactly the same time, maybe he thinks one of these days it will actually work and he will get in to the screen!! The days ends around 16:30 you are then coached back to your hotels.
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The evening was spent relaxing at Baan Chonpakorn and making arrangements for a return to Bangkok for some Muay Thai!