- The lunch offered at the sanctuary featured a nice selection of rice, chicken, curry, noodles, fruit and biscuits
- Learning about the worthwhile mission of elephant rescue
- Given a colorful traditional Karon shirt to wear for the day
- Bathing with the elephants
- Feeling the elephant’s trunk
Prepare in advance
We booked tickets for the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary the day before, however I would recommend booking sooner if possible.
Good to know
The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is about an hour and 40 minutes’ drive from Chiang Mai. Half- or full-day trips are available.
About This Day
The whole family will enjoy this jungle elephant experience. The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary near Chiang Mai is one of many elephant sanctuaries in Thailand are now devoted to giving the animals a happy and safe life, where they can eat, sleep, swim and roll in mud to their hearts’ content. In this itinerary, the whole family gets to spend a memorable day with elephants. Learn about elephants’ habits while gathering food (bananas, sugar cane) to hand-feed them, then enjoy a supervised swim with the pachyderms in a waterfall setting. The fun-filled day ends back in Chiang Mai with dinner at Ginger & Kafe, just steps away from the Eurana Boutique Hotel.
The sanctuary, which leases land from local Karon people for 200,000 Thai baht per year, has grown in three years from three elephants to 26. It provides all their food and care, while paying the villagers a percentage of its income as well as the rent from the land the sanctuary is on. It employs local people which contribute to even more money back to the villages. Given a colorful traditional Karon shirt to wear for the day, visitors get many opportunities to feed the elephants (each eats about 300 kilos, or 660 pounds, a day). There is a chance to give the elephants a mud bath and, then wash them off under a waterfall. The guides spend time familiarizing the pachyderms with the visitors, which is particularly important for fearful children. Our kids were nervous around the big animals first, but when they saw the elephants play in the water they started giggling. It’s a wonderful experience for animal lover - large and small. Photos are welcome.
DIRECTIONS Transportation is through in the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary package. We set off in a little open-air truck, which is a common mode of transportation for Chiang Mai) at 8 a.m. that already held two women; ultimately, there were about 25 people on the tour, arriving in three trucks.
TIP If you are concerned about your nuggets riding in the open-air truck, you can request the truck cab. The last 20 or so minutes of the trip is very bumpy and steep in some locations. While there’s a lot of supervision from the guides, you may want to set some ground rules for the kids how to behave around the elephants. The Sanctuary supplies the visitors’ lunch, which is a nice selection of rice,
After a day of adventure, you can relax with dinner at Ginger & Kafe. The restaurant has traditional Thai fare: fresh spring rolls with a mango dipping sauce, a salad with pomelo and pork and a crabmeat curry with rice. Our kids got buttered noodles upon request. There is an outside garden area for dining, as well as a little gift shop.
DIRECTIONS Once you are back in town you can walk from the hotel to this restaurant. There are also lots of inexpensive public transportation options, including tuk tuks.
WE LOVEDIt had an outdoor pool! And, it was located in a nice part of the City that was central to many attractions. Also, free wi-fi.
WE DIDN'T LIKEThere are about three large wooden tables (see photo) where we could sit at for lunch or dinner if we grabbed street food or take out. There are also four lounge chairs outside of the 1st floor rooms where we would sit and read while the girls were napping in our room.
STAYED24 January, 2017 with 1 year old, 3 year old