If you are really into adventurous journey in Thailand, don’t miss out the chance to visit one of elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai. Here is my very first-time experience on one day tour at Chang Chill Elephant Sanctuary, which is definitely worth trying through the natural habitat of wild animals.
In Thailand, the growth of tourism at elephant sanctuaries has been promoted in recent years. In my imagination, the use of elephants for tourism damages their natural environment and overall well-being when the elephants are forced to perform tricks. However, I have changed my point of view when I take a one-day tour to an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, where the elephants were rescued from abusive owners and freed in their natural habitat without hooks and chains.
All the elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai offer a true home for these elephants and dedicate a lot of efforts to take care of them. These places have attracted many tourists to experience a day with the wild animals.
There are many ethical elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai
I found several ethical elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai, which offers both full day and half day tours including meeting the elephants, feeding them, having a mudbath and a traditional lunch. It was a great experience to spend one day in ChangChill Elephant Observation and get to learn about the elephants’ history.
In the morning, we were picked up at our hotels and moved to the elephant sanctuary in around 2 hours. We were so excited to see the surroundings when driving up the mountains on the way. That wasn’t the most luxurious drive but totally worth the adventure into the nature.
We arrived at 10:30 am and started the day trip with a brief introduction about the sanctuary and its history. We followed tour guide into the forest and observed the elephants grazing, socializing from a safe distance. Also, it was time to learn about ChangChill’s six resident elephants, including their lifespan, behaviors, interests, diet and some facts about Asian Elephants.
Feeding the elephants is the first step to get familiar with them
After that, we had the chance to meet the elephants and interact with them. We prepared breakfast like bananas and sugar canes for the elephants then carried these in a burlap bag to feed them. The elephants seemed to be genuinely happy and reached out with their trunks to sniff and grab the food. It was joyful to see the elephants interested as they were allowed to what they want instead of being forced to perform for the tourists.
We spent more time playing with the elephants and walking in the jungle. There was a river for the elephants to swim and play together. All the elephants were so friendly but sometimes I was afraid that they could accidentally collide with me.
The elephant bathing was the highlight of this one day at elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. One interesting fact is that the elephants like to bathe in mud to protect their skins from the sun. How adorable the elephants rolled over their huge bodies and rubbed against mud. If you intend to join the mudbath, make sure to bring bathing clothes and a towel.
Enjoy elephant bathing at the sanctuary
At 11:30 am, we took a short rest for traditional Thai refreshments at the rest station right above a mud pit. So, just try to avoid getting sprayed with mud from the playing elephants down below. Til 12:00 pm, we moved down to the riverside sala, where we heard about enrichment and helped fill feeding tubes with corn, sugar cane, grass, bananas and any other supplementary food on hand.
After half day at the elephant sanctuary, we had Thai vegetarian food for lunch. It was plentiful choices for vegetarians such as pad Thai and fresh fruits. At the end of the trip, we had a short discuss about what the guests know about elephants and how to continue to help elephants even after leaving Thailand.
One day at ChangChill elephant sanctuary was the best experience in Chiang Mai
Despite only a half day at the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, I captured lots of valuable moments as well as memories of this place. It was one of the best experiences on my Thailand trip. I wish I would come back here in my next vacation in Thailand.
Apparently, I highly recommended anyone who is seeking a truly authentic experience in Thailand should visit an ethical elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. You can find a day tour to the elephant sanctuary. I have booked through BestPrice Travel, a travel agent offering reliable services and variety of Chiang Mai tours at reasonable prices.
Hope you enjoy your experience at elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai as I did.
(Image source: Internet)