Elephant Nature Park

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209/2 Sridornchai Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai Reviews

samberr2010 samberr2…
1 reviews
ENP love! Nov 11, 2015
ENP is incredible! I had the amazing opportunity to be at ENP from November 16th, 2015 to November 22nd, 2015. Lek is an amazing woman who is so very passionate about elephants and fair treatment of all animals! If you are able to stay for a week or more of volunteering, i highky recommened it. You can take day trios or even stay a night or two, but yiu will wish you had stayed longer, i guarantee. I stayed in Chiang Mai first, and stayed at an adorable hotel less than a 30 minute walk from headquarters. The name of my hotel was Yi's Garden Villa.

After checking in at headquarters, we bused out in small vans to the park (about 1 hour drive).

Then we were here! Elephant Nature Park! Yeah yeah!! Now here is where I may lose some readers, but I need to discuss why ENP exists to begin with. After logging was banned in 1989, domesticated elephants lost their main "job." Many of the elephants were severely injured and deformed from years of hard work. Many were given amphetamines to keep them working for days without sleep. All have been abused and tortured beyond our comprehension. In order to make them submissive, they have their "spirits broken" by killing their mothers and weeks of torture for the very young, often still milk-dependent, calves. Horrible stuff. If you want to cry, watch some videos. So back to domesticated elephants. When they were out of work, they began being used in begging on the street and for trekking camps where tourists ride them. While begging and being around tourists whether for riding, or shows, or painting, or whatever, they are still being beaten and deprived of sleep and water. You can see their jagged ears from being torn and ripped with hooks and scars on their foreheads. Many are blinded to make them more submissive. Please, please, I beg you, do not support this. Please don't ride them, or give money when you see them on streets, or buy pictures, or go to shows, or for the love of God don't buy the ivory!

But now back to good, happy thoughts! Work at ENP is not too grueling. We clean habitats or prepare food or cut grass/corn/banana trees for only 2-3 hours after breakfast. Then lunch was 11:30, then free time until 1pm, then afternoon job for a couple more hours, then dinner! Three square meals a day (vegetarian) and the option of a nightly massage from local villagers coming to the park after dinner. I had a perfect birthday at ENP. They even have a bar there, but don't get too rowdy, as elephants sleep from 9pm to 1am, then they wake. And when they wake, they make noise that will keep you up if you're a light sleeper. Dont let that deter you, it was still wonderful. There were, at the time I went, 65 elephants, 350 dogs, hundred or so water buffalo, hourses, a cat kingdom, and other animals that I cannot even think of right now. You can also volunteer with the puppies! Don't pet the ones with red ribbons/collars. I was so sad to leave ENP. There were so many amazing things there and I will go back for sure!
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
tombom07 says:
Congrats on your featured review! Brings back some nice memories for me, although I only spent one day at ENP =)
Posted on: Jan 06, 2016
Zagnut66 says:
Congrats on being featured!
Posted on: Jan 05, 2016
Paulovic says:
Congrats on the featured review!
Posted on: Jan 05, 2016
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danielojost danieloj…
1 reviews
A day in Heaven (or as close as you can get)... Dec 11, 2014
Originally I had wanted to stay@ENP for the maximum of two nights non-volunteers are allowed, as I was unfortunately on a tight schedule. But the overnights were sold out long in advance, and so I ended up spending the BEST day with the Pamper a Pachyderm program. Muoy Khamwichai is another one of those conservation heroes. After a long career in the abusive Thai captive elephant industry, she was running into financial difficulties and wanted a better life for her four beautiful elephants. She approached the world-famous Lek Chailert and together the two of them developed this unique new program.

After pickup at your accommodation, you get shown an introductory video on ENP during the 1 1/2 hours it takes the minibus to leave the busy city-centre and suburbs of Thailand's 2nd-largest city, and head toward the lush mountains in the North, a stone's throw away from the Burmese border. The start of the walk is on the land of the cheerful Muoy, where you deposit your valuables, meet her elephants and their mahouts and get a briefing before heading out to the stunningly beautiful valley with its meandering river. All along you get to feed the eles their favourite treats from your very own mahout bag. Observe them as they indulge in wild-growing food as well, cross the river and walk through streams with them, watch them bathe and be what they were meant to be: HAPPY elephants...

For lunch you are taken to a little pavilion overlooking the gorgeous valley, where you sit bare-foot on a beautiful flooring made of straw, and it is now your turn to indulge in the most sumptuous vegetarian dishes, all presented on banana leaves. Some chillout, discussion and perhaps nap time later, and you're off to continue the trek, this time stopping in the river to shower the majestic giants with buckets of water to their greatest delight:-) Then it is time to say bye to Muoy's four elephants, hop into several rubber dinghies and white-water raft your way (after a briefing;-) down to Elephant Nature Park.

There you get shown the premises, meet the different herds, watch them take a mud-bath, have time at the souvenir shop and if you're lucky, meet the awe-inspiring Lek Chailert... As we approached the last herd, Muoy told me "There she is your Lek!". In the distance I could make out several people, and one lady sitting on the ground. It was Lek Sangduen Chailert, one of the world's foremost experts on the Asian elephant and a celebrity around Chiang Mai, humbly sitting on the ground observing her heard. Time seemed to stand still as I watched Lek document her heard, and then this super-charismatic lady greeted and welcomed us in the usual friendly Thai manner, before we started to talk and she took loads of pictures of us interacting with the elephants. Feeling the charisma and aura emanate from this living legend, all the while feeding bananas onto the tongue of an elephant who had given birth to and lost her baby while being slave-driven in the logging industry, then going on strike in her grief before being blinded by her mahout in retaliation, was certainly one of the most intense experiences I've ever had...

Dearest Lek, I can't wait to give you another bear-hug, this time with a dry t-shirt! :-D In the meantime I miss these majestic gods of the animal kingdom, and my next vacation will again be in the company of happy elephants...
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
halilee says:
I went to ENP both times I went to Thailand.. loved it there! Like ellechic I saw Lek sing lullaby snuggled up to one of the baby ellies.. it was so sweet! One of the most amazing places ever! Congrats on a well deserved feature. :)
Posted on: Dec 22, 2014
Zagnut66 says:
Congrats on being featured!
Posted on: Dec 22, 2014
Chokk says:
Congrats on your feature :D
Posted on: Dec 22, 2014
applewoman applewom…
76 reviews
A lot of love at this place! Jul 15, 2012
This is a must-do if you love animals, especially elephants.

If you come here keep in mind that these elephants are old or abused or orphaned ones. You cannot ride them!

It’s about an hour drive from the city centre. You get to see a documentary about the park. If you see it, you really understand what a special place this is! Therefor the founder, Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert, called it Elephant’s Heaven.

When you arrive you can feed them. We fed them three times during our day trip.

Then you take a walk around and see the animals who walk freely in the park. Sick ones stay in the stables.

We had a lovely lunch there with lot’s of food to choose from.

In the afternoon you can bath the elephants in the river. Lot’s of fun and laughter!

Afterwards you can sit on the platform and enjoy the view of the elephants walking and playing in the mud. Loved it!

You finish with another documentary. Really need to see this to experience what Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert and Elephant Nature Park did/do for the elephants.

I only can say: come and visit the park. By visiting you support this great cause!
Feeding the elephants.
Bathing the elephants.
Pet the elephants.
Scared ones bath by themselves.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
applewoman says:
Thx for you comment, Yara. Yes, you are so right! Indeed, unfortunately volunteering is soooo expensive...
Posted on: Feb 02, 2013
yarayarinha7 says:
Great info!

If there's something I don't understand if why people pay to go on elephant rides or this silly shows where elephants have to paint things??!!!

It shocks me how people don't question the tremendous amount of violence used against these extremely inteligent creatures..

I loved your review and even considered volunteering for a week, but I just realized volunteers have to pay tons of money.

Anyway, I'm planing on visiting this haven :)
Posted on: Jan 29, 2013
tmalbracht tmalbrac…
3 reviews
Elephant Nature Park Jun 01, 2011
Spending a day at Elephant Nature Park was hands down, the best experience I had during my stay in Chiang Mai. So many people are throwing tour packages at you to ride the elephants during the treks. I'm sure it seems fun...I originally was planning on taking part. But people don't realize how mistreated these elephants are. At this elephant sanctuary you can spend a day with these gentle giants, feeding them, watching them, and even bathe them! The price is a bit higher than what you would pay for a normal trekking tour, but it's all going to this great cause. DO IT!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
tmalbracht says:
I'm not sure if they offer half days? I guess I would have to check the website again. I did the full day, and that included the feeding, bathing, observing, etc. You also get a full (and delicious!) lunch. If you can only do a half day for whatever reason, and they do offer one, then yes I say you should do it. Like I said in the review, visiting the park was the highlight of my visit in Chiang Mai.
Posted on: Mar 14, 2013
preety says:
Would you recommend 1/2 days?
Posted on: Mar 14, 2013
seeUaroundtheWorld seeUarou…
7 reviews
True caring for Elephants Jun 14, 2010
Most of those who like elephants shows, or elephant treks have no ideas how the elephants where trained to obtain this kind of obedient domestication.

Tradionnal methods of elephants training in Thailand include great psychological and physical abuse of the animals. (sensitive peop;e should avoid this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVimSPdbByo)

Elephant nature park gave itself a mission to rescue domesticated elephants who were abused, orphaned, abandoned, handicaped. As well as to educated people Each elephants on site has its own sad story. They also try to educate mahouts on more humane ways.

Excellent site to visit. Elephants seem happy and playful, tourists learn much about these animals while helping a good cause.

Receiving no goverment funds, Volunteers and Tourists who visit the park contribute to pay for the daily food and medical care for the 32 elephants rescued so far as well as to fund projects.

When visiting, please sign the petition to ban elephant begging in cities (a lucrative activity which is very dammaging for an animal)

Learn more at http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/
Lek the founder of the park obviou…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
LMTaylor LMTaylor
3 reviews
Unique Elephant experience Jan 26, 2009
Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary for Asian elephants situated in Northern Thailand. Established in 1995, the park is situated in the beautiful Mae Taeng Valley, 1 1/2 hours drive from Chiang Mai.

Elephant Nature park is the result of tireless work from Sangduen 'Lek' Chailert, who has been passionately championing the rights of the Asian Elephant for decades. Lek has received international accolades including being named one of Time Magazine's Asia Heroes of the Year in 2005 for her work with elephants.

The park offers an eco-tourism experience of conservation and education for tourists and local people. Tours of 1,2 & 3 days are available, as well as 1, 2, 3 & 4 week volunteer opportunities.

My fiancee and I went for a 3 day tour and have had the best experience of our lives. Our tour started at the market, picking up fruit to feed the elephants later then on the ride to there we were shown a film about the park. As soon as we arrived we were lead on to the feeding platform where all the elephants were. We got to feed the elephants, then were fed a lovely Thai buffet, prepared by the resident cooks.

After lunch we all went down to the river where we were allowed to get into the water and wash the elephants, an unforgettable experience! Our guide then gave us some more background information on the park, and let us watch another video, warning us in advance that there were some distressing scenes involving the brutal 'training' of all working elephants. The video was very hard to watch, we have heard of others that have left the room because it was too difficult to watch but it makes you appreciate the park and Lek's hard work all over again.

Volunteers are set tasks in the morning and afternoon, people on the tours can choose whether to help out or just relax in the park. There are women working at this park that have given up their 'ordinary' lives in Australia & the States to dedicated themselves to this mammoth (no pun intended!) task. Michelle even took us out into the park to meet the elephants, telling us a bit about their background and let us stroke them.

We had an amazing time and are already planning to go back and volunteer for two weeks. It is an experience not to be missed!
Meeting the elephants
Meeting Lek, the founder of the pa…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
yukimonkey yukimonk…
1 reviews
Freedom Park for the gentle giants Sep 17, 2008
Elephant Nature Park is a beautiful natural Animal Haven by forested mountain-sides of Northern Thailand!

If you hate the idea of riding a elephant then this place is perfect for you! It's free admission if you are Thai but a little donation would be great.

We did a full day trip package which involved picking you up from your hotel, going to pick up some truck load of bananas and watermelons at the market and driving up the hilly green mountain overlooking at amazing view. Once we reach the park you could see elephants just walking around minding their own business.

Our guide was a lovely British volunteer worker who knew every single elephant's name and story. We all learned things about the park and their elephants i.e. abused elephants, street beggar, etc. Lunch was included serving up some delicious Thai cuisine.

The highlight of this day trip is feeding and bathing the gentle giants! So i recommend it! Trust me you will feel good for yourself not riding them :)
showing affections~ just like huma…
lunch time!
bath time!
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
yukimonkey says:
Thank you! :)
Posted on: Aug 06, 2009
tvillingmarit says:
Great review
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008
vosking vosking
12 reviews
Elephant Nature Parc Sep 08, 2007
Save the Elephant.

Elephant Nature Foundation is a non-profit organization which advocates and acts on behalf of the rights of Asian elephants in Thailand.

Our mission is to increase awareness about the plight of the endangered Asian elephant, educate locals on the humane treatment of their elephants, and provide sanctuary for rescued elephants at our nature park.

Elephant Nature Park, provides a safe home to rescued elephants who were previously abused and neglected. Perfect for day trips, overnight visits, and long-term volunteer opportunities, Elephant Nature Park offers a unique experience for visitors of all ages.

Located on a remote mountaintop, Elephant Haven is a jungle retreat regularly visited by our elephants. Far from human encroachment, a visit to the Haven allows our elephants to relax in their natural environment.

Jumbo Express provides emergency medical care to elephants who would otherwise receive none. It also works to build ties with local populations and helps to improve human-elephant relationships.

Working together we can all make a difference in the lives of Asian elephants not only in Thailand, but throughout the world.
Elephant with founder and director…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
jmatyczuk says:
Wow.... I would love to visit there some day... How many elephants do u have? Do they live free and hopefully not chanined up... Love to hear more about this place...

Canadian jay
Posted on: Apr 14, 2008
vulindlela says:
I like that!
Posted on: Mar 24, 2008

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