The Elephant Nature Park
Chang Mai, Thailand
The Elephant Nature Park Chang Mai Reviews
What a beautiful place Mar 29, 2015
If you are thinking about volunteering with elephants when you go to Thailand, this place is amazing and I would highly recommend it. It does cost a bit initially but the food, help/advice and experience you get is literally 100% worth it!
So you can chose to stay here for the day, overnight or a week+, if you stay for a day you can feed the elephants and bathe them in the river, I think you must get fed as well!
If you stay overnight you do all the above but you also do a walking tour and meet all the herds of elephants, meet the vet and learn all about the medical conditions of the elephants, you get amaaaazing food, it is incredible!! and the overnight accommodation is ok, it's very very basic, but what do you expect I guess!
If you stay for a week, you do get to do all of the above but as well as feeding/bathing the elephants you will be helping out with other things, ie, going to the field and chopping the sweetcorn - this is TOUGH in the heat, so if you chose to stay over a week, maybe go at a time of year that is less hot!! You might also be on missions for helping sick elephants, transporting new elephants, helping the monks save the surrounding trees from logging, putting out fires, helping with deliveries, preparing the elephants food, helping out with the cats and dogs - they do all sorts in this week!!!
My best memory of Thailand was at the Elephant Nature Park. We had worked with the elephants all day, feeding, bathing, walking around etc, it was pretty tiring, they told us to come upstairs for dinner and there was this huge banquet of food on all the tables, it was amazing, then the school children came and did a dance for us, we sat in the chairs watching the elephants having a beer until nightfall, then when it was pitch black we saw fire flys glowing bottoms everywhere and could hear the elephants trumpiting, we went back to our hut and in the morning looked out of our door to see the elephants bathing in the river. If you love elephants this place is for you!
You are not allowed to ride the elephants, these elephants have all been rescued from logging, and horrible mahouts who have blinded their elephants, the majority of them have been mistreated and many do die despite the care Lek (who opened the park) gives them. There are like over 300 cats and 100 dogs there too who roam free. There are some baby elephants that have been born at the Nature Park. Lek goes to other elephant camps and gives them medicine and food to help look after there elephants. It's very sad as many are blind, have dislocated limbs and partial blown off feet due to land mines, but they get such good care.
When we left the park we saw the "nature park" next door, the elephants ribs were showing, it was such a horrible site, they had great big seats on there backs and people were riding them, it brought tears to all of our eyes seeing how skinny these elephants were, when I got home to England, Lek posted on the elephant nature park facebook page that one of them collapsed and had died despite her trying to help. If you are going to support elephants, please do it by visiting here!
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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