They say elephants never forget, well I’ll never forget the afternoon I spent with these beautiful animals in Thailand!
Until now the only time I had seen an elephant in real life was at the zoo back home in England. Although, I must admit I’ve grown to dislike zoos. I’m not a fan of seeing animals confined to small spaces that aren’t their natural habitat. But let’s not get caught up on that because I could be here talking about it for hours!
Back to the long-nosed, big-eared, grey beauties.
Whilst I was in Chiang Mai in Thailand I visited the Elephant Jungle Camp Sanctuary. The organisation have 8 camp sites, with around 60 elephants across all sites. Some are baby elephants while others are much older – but mostly all have been rescued. There’s no riding elephants allowed on this tour – the focus is all about caring for the animals.
I didn’t really know what to expect on the half day tour, and to say I had a good time would be quite the understatement of the year. I was completely blown away by the whole experience.
We were picked up from our hostel and taken to the sanctuary camp 8 which was around an hour outside of Chiang Mai city centre. At the camp site we were all given traditional Karen tribe shirts to get changed into. The tour leader then gave us an introduction into the camp – how it started, where the elephants came from and how they spend their days.
We were then given hundreds of bananas, sugar canes and leaves to feed the elephants.
Did you know elephants eat up t0 300 pounds of food every day!
After their feed we headed to a mud pool where we all had a chance to give the elephants a scrub down.
It was great fun – we even got a little dirty ourselves!
The day finished with bathing the elephants in the river.
It was an amazing day and I’d definitely do a day at an elephant sanctuary again. It probably doesn’t sound like the best of activities to do, but it’s honestly one of my travel highlights so far. Just the simple thing of feeding and washing the big grey beauties was an incredible experience that I think anyone would enjoy. We sure did!
There are numerous organisations you can do the sanctuary with, but just make sure the one you choose doesn’t allow elephant riding.
Getting on the back of an elephant is a) not fun and b) it’s incredibly bad for their health. So please please please make sure you do your research beforehand and choose the right sanctuary that puts the grey bodied beauties first!
Find out more about the sanctuary I visited click here.
*Pictures from Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Current location: Blogging from the Mekong River on the way to Laos