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Elephant Nature Park

Features Animals
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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About Elephant Nature Park
Elephant Nature Park, a unique conservation project set in Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand has been in operation since in the 1990's with a goal to provide a sanctuary and elephant rescue center. We have been involved in dozens of rescues and sustain a natural home for this endangered species. Mission: To protect and conserve elephants in a natural environment and to provide a healthy and fruitful life for all those creatures under our care
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Lindsay A wrote a review Sep 13
Manchester, United Kingdom34 contributions9 helpful votes
Really enjoyable day out! Got close to elephants, even feeding one. Watched them bathing and wandering freely on the grounds. Our host was knowledgeable and very friendly. Excellent lunch also provided.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Mateo wrote a review Aug 2020
Dubrovnik, Croatia9 contributions2 helpful votes
This is probably the best daily excursions for me on Thailand. To see and feed elephant is so nice experience and I recommend everyone who like animals!
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Date of experience: August 2020
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Fabiana F wrote a review Aug 2020
Adelaide, Australia6 contributions
the place its just magic...when you stop yourself to see the nature as they are... i went to the Elephant Nature Park in the end of february to do a volunteer work i decide to do that after i have a hard moment in my life...i was searching for some kind of retreat and them i though that instead to focus on my sufering ...i should put myself beside and do something good for anothers and them i found this park...for sure was the best idea ever i spent one week on this place and was one of the best time in my life...cause i could understand so much things and learn about love and care...the elephants are the most beautiful creatures in the world...inteligents and emotional like us or better saying...more than the most of us i had the oportunity to meet really kind people,lhad learn so much about enviroments, learn that its completely possible to eat healthy food without explore ours friend animals...the vegan food was amazing,everyday we had a beautiful buffet full of energy and for the first time in my life i felt proud of myself to be faithful with my thoughs the owners do a beautiful work there...everyone should see how grateful the elephants are with them...undeniable love anyway was a beautiful week that i will always safe in my heart thank you guys for an amazing experience hope you can keep this marvelous work and keeping spreading so much love a care with the animals and people
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Date of experience: February 2020
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Jess wrote a review Aug 2020
2 contributions
After months of researching whether to support any organizations associated with Animal Tourism, we decided to visit Elephant Nature Park, as much effort is put into rescuing these animals from abuse/injuries from other fields of work.  My conflict with any of these "sanctuaries' and 'rescues' are the flexibility of these terms. Prior to our visit, I've learned that regardless of which elephant company you use, these are all domesticated animals, even the Sanctuaries are a makeshift area catered to tourists. In Thailand, many elephants are individually owned by villagers, often chained up in solidarity and used for street begging, elephant riding, pets, entertainment at hotels/resorts, and used in circuses. Many of these are the main income for villagers and often the elephants are malnourished (especially since they require 400-600lbs of food daily), suffer from loneliness, abuse, and their life-span is only a few years compared to ~80 years.  ENP has I have also read that other Sanctuaries rent their elephants from villagers to use at their park, to help heal the elephants while supporting villagers, but they do not live there and the elephants just rotate their stay.  ENP Pros: - There are 80 rescued elephants that actually live on the property and retire there after being purchased from their owners after being abused or ill - Tourists can freely walk around the park and openly observe elephants eating/walking - however with every elephant shown, there are still one trainer/"mahout" that follows them and steers them in the direction they want away from tourists. ie. they're still trained - Have a cat sanctuary and dog rescue on site (dog rescue area is in construction so we couldn't go in, but saw dogs with wheelchairs and people tending to them. Was able to go into the cat sanctuary and pet some cats, most cats there undergoing veterinary treatment) - Dogs, cats, water buffalo roam freely on site - Recently stopped doing 'mud baths' with tourists as I read many complaints how how elephants were forced to do it, and tourists splash water in their eyes just for a good photo.  - Their money goes to expanding land for the elephants, providing veterinary care, food- They have many outside projects with villagers who own elephants to help improve the life and treatment of their elephants (usually difficult to afford to care for them properly) - Hand feeding is limited to about 10 minutes in the morning - I was afraid that in order for elephants to be hand fed in the morning, they were not fed at night time and locked up. I am unsure if this is true but was glad to see the elephants shown were mostly grazing from their own pile of food on their own - NO elephant riding! (or chains...that we can see) - No breeding (except for one baby elephant- which was an accident as told by our guide) - The elephants are provided with veterinary care - which is very expensive and hard to come by for individual owners outside of the park  - LOTS of vegetarian food options at the buffet - was also very clean and always encouraged tourists to wash our hands frequently with large washrooms/open sinks- They have a cafe on site (soy milk used - Thai Iced Tea tasted so good with it) - Beautiful mountain views  - Air-conditioned vans that pick up/drop off at your hotel/Airbnb ENP Cons: - Some of their projects are having volunteers stay for longer periods to help with the maintenance/construction of new infrastructure, thus they are building rooms/accommodations for them on site (so some money is going into tourist-focused projects) but I can see that this is to help their projects long-term as they have so many projects going on that require longer stays - By being able to walk freely in the park, elephants need to be tamed/trained, some with a square on the ground of where the elephant should stand within - Our guide was very thorough to answer all our questions, but when asked how exactly are the elephants trained, she just said 'with love and food' and walked away. I find this very suspicious as elephants seem to be afraid when mahouts walk towards them - mahouts are also seem to use threatening gestures and elephants abruptly turn away especially the baby elephants  - Only 7/80 elephants are males, and the males are separated in small quarantine areas away from everyone (to prevent mating and aggressive behaviour) - which questions what happens to all the male elephants in Thailand?  - They took out the video about how baby elephants are brutally trained during the ride there (I assume people complained it was too graphic)
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Hugh_Cornelius wrote a review Jul 2020
3 contributions
First, a quick note that Elephant Nature Park acts as a central coordinator for numerous different projects, so I would suggest not to take negative reviews of one as representative of the whole. We had a wonderful time at the Karen Serenity project and would wholeheartedly recommend it to others. The elephants were well treated and not made to do anything against their will. Our two-year-old discovered that elephants are much more intimidating in real life than in cartoons, but she has talked about it excitedly for days afterwards anyway. Our guide, Bancha, was a great source of information and shared a lot of details about Karen culture. Do bear in mind that the full day may be a bit much for very little ones (and also for parents on carrying duty!).The eating area is a good shady place to have a nap though, should that be necessary.
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Date of experience: July 2020
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