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“Amazing Day”

Elephant Nature Park
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: 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
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Stroller parking
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Amazing Day”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 21, 2013

Absolutely one of, if not my favorite day, in my 3 1/2 weeks in Thailand. Our guide, Zaa, was awesome. He had lots to tell us about all the elephants and answered any questions we had about them.

We started the day off by walking around the park and getting to know some of the elephants. Each one had their own unique story. We then got to feed them, get pictures with them and give them lots of hugs! We also got to visit with the little 2 month old.

We then were fed a delicious buffet lunch...some of the best food I have eaten on my travels. We then headed down to the water where we got to bath the elephants after they had covered themselves in mud. One of the younger elephants was so fun to watch. He would roll around in the mud while some volunteers threw mud on him with buckets. He really seemed to be enjoying himself!

We got to meet Lek, the owner...also known as the 'elephant whisperer'. She has dedicated her life to rescuing elephants in Thailand who are abused and neglected. She is also trying to educate elephant camps etc. about how to care for and treat elephants.

If you want to be able to ride elephants or see them do shows, this is not the place for you. If you want to get up close to these amazing animals in a more natural way then I would recommend Elephant Nature Park. I can't think of a better way to spend a day in Chiang Mai.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Lea W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Chiang Mai, Thailand
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Don't visit any other elephant 'attractions' ENP is the best”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2013

Being up close and interacting with the elephant was an incredibly moving experience. We fed and washed the elephants and as they roam free they come up to you. It was truly amazing to see these elephants being cared for.
A harrowing (but very important) part of the day is watching a film about the park's work but also about the terrible 'pajan' ritual used throughout the region to break the spirit of the elephants in order to make them suitable for work with tourists. Young elephants are essentially tied up and tortured. BUT NOT AT ENP. Here they save elephants and care for them in a truly magical environment. I will never forget this day.

Rest assured that anywhere you can 'ride' elephants they have been put through this dreadful ritual. Please visit ENP and don't be tempted to ride elephants. Go and see these magnificent animals roam in their 'elephant heaven'.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank R K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
89 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“up close and personal!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2013

Like the other reviewers here, I chose ENP because of the way elephants are trained when they are domesticated to give rides. This is a fantastic facility where you really get an opportunity to get right up next to a number of retired elephants and hear their stories.

Elephant parks that offer rides are still helping to solve the problem of domesticated elephants left jobless by the ban on the logging industry. One of the reasons why this park does not offer rides is that many of their elephants are older or have some kind of injury.

ENP has done a great job in ensuring you get enough contact with the elephants without taking you on a typical elephant ride. I went on the one day visit with my husband and in-laws and we all had a great time. The buffet lunch is vegetarian and delicious while the guides are all knowledgeable. This is a great alternative for anyone who may be wary of taking a ride due to back/knee problems and who want to find out more about the plight of the elephants.

A few things to note:
1) ENP is also a dog sanctuary and they have about 350 dogs they have rescued. Most are kept in a separate area but about 80 are allowed to roam freely. They were all well behaved when were were they are they are an attraction in themselves. One thing to be careful of though is that many are simply happy to here there and want to be left alone to sun bathe, etc. I made a few friends but also noted that some wanted more alone time!

2) The river you bath the elephants in is quite shallow (at least it was when we went). you really don't need to bring a bathing suit unless you plan on falling or getting in the path of a bucketful of water. Shorts or rolled up pants along with water shoes or sport sandals (the river bed is rocky) are fine.

3) During the last 15 minutes of the educational movie, there is one black dog who provides a show in itself. It seems to know the movie timings and will launch itself at the screen multiple times when a dog or chicken appears! Hilarious!!

If you choose to book a trip to ENP, you will not be disappointed. They are doing great work and your money is going directly to help save elephants and a number of other dogs and cats. The facility also employs a number of people from the surrounding village so you are really helping the local area.

You will not be disappointed!!

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Joanne L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunshine Beach, Australia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Absolutely amazing!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2013

I reckon this was the best day we've had in Chiang Mai. The park gives a home to domesticated elephants who have been rescued after a life of abuse in logging operations or street begging. As our guide told us, they are not pretty elephants, but are now well loved and cared for. Some are blind in one or both eyes, one has a broken hip, many have scars from handlers' hooks used to control them.

I couldn't believe how much contact we had with the elephants, walking in amongst them in their area. The day was spent feeding, washing, scratching and patting these huge but gentle, sensitive animals. This was a really memorable day that I'd do again as a couple of day's visit when I come to Chiang Mai again.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank KarenAA_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California, United States
Level Contributor
700 reviews
273 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 327 helpful votes
“Amazing experience. ECO-Tourism at its best”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2013

A close friend has been recommending elephant nature park to me for years and we were delighted to spend a couple of days there. We knew we were going to an elephant sanctuary and weren't expecting to ride elephants or see elephant shows but to see and interact with domesticated elephants in a natural environment. We got to feed elephants, bathe the elephants and even pet and touch a 2.5 month old baby boy elephant. The huts are rustic but have private bathrooms, and are comfortable. The food is excellent and the environment picturesque and serene. There are also a lot of rescued dogs on the property and as a bonus to got to play with some of the 70 puppies currently there. We had a great experience and were glad to support such a worthwhile cause and rescue domesticated elephants.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank AshishGuptasfo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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