An activity that’s an absolute must if you visit Chiang Mai, is to learn about Asian elephants and spend time with them up close. It’s a fantastic experience that you’ll likely never forget.
Tip: Be sure to do your research before booking an elephant experience. Riding on elephants is hugely frowned upon due to the cruelty involved (even though some operators still offer this as an option) so be sure to find a place that doesn’t condone this activity.
BMP Elephant Farm
We fed four adult elephants with cane sugar and bananas, took a walk with a group of them, including a sweet and cheeky baby, and then jumped in the lake took a bath with the adults, giving their grey wrinkly skin a good ol’ scrub.
Their snuffly trunks were super curious, sniffing and snorting around your face and hands while trying to wrangle any food you’re hiding. When we got into the lake and they were in the water, they flopped onto their sides so we could brush their back, and ears. It was so incredible to be so close to these enormous creatures.
After drying off and enjoying a hard-earned meal, we lit paper lanterns that are believed to take away bad luck. They gently floated up into the sky, towards a colourful double rainbow. How’s that for good luck!
Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital
The hospital is solely funded by donations so any owner can send their beloved elephant here for treatment and care, free of charge. Many of the elephants at the hospital have been injured by land mines and are fitted with prosthetic limbs.
While it was heartbreaking to see animals who have been hurt and are suffering great pain, it’s heartwarming to know how much good is being done, to ensure these beautiful creatures get the treatment they need.
If there was ever a cause worthy of a donation, this is the place. Take all my damn money you beautiful, kind people.
Elephants are such incredible creatures. I really enjoy being around these gentle giants. It’s my dream to spend a few weeks volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in this area.
What elephant encounters have you experienced? Share your story in the comments below.
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