Trip Planner:   Asia  /  Thailand  /  Chiang Mai Province  /  Chiang Mai  /  Wildlife Areas  /  Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai
(4.4/5 based on 1,600+ reviews on the web)
A visit to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary provides you with a chance to feed, bathe, and play with elephants. The sanctuary is home to nearly 20 animals, which do not perform tricks or put on shows. Visitors come here to watch the elephants going about their normal daily routines and enjoying their freedom. The friendly staff can provide photos of your experience, free of charge. Use our Chiang Mai tour planner to visit Elephant Jungle Sanctuary on your trip to Chiang Mai, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We loved this excursion with elephants, we chose the option of all-day approx 60 euros and consisted of a brief explanation, feed them and finally to bathe them, apart from this entered final coffee and food. We liked the experience and respect that caregivers showed by these animals, hopefully over time all the excursions with elephants are of this type.
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  • This place is the best. The elephants are so happy and gentle. They are loved and looked after so well. We arrived to a warm welcome and general info about the elephants and the sanctuary. We then met...  more »
  • Let me start with a plea to you, tripadvisor users: please be aware of the elephant facility you book. Many "elephant ride" places are cruel to their animals. Some places even still use 4" nails in or...  more »
Google
  • This was amazing! Such a cool experience to spend time with these happy elephants. Would definitely suggest it and you are supporting a good cause to help rescued elephants. The staff were great, we booked on late notice and was accomodated no problem. The half day group was about 20 people for 10 elephants and a big group of staff so perfect ratio. Lunch was included and delicious. You have to do this if you are in Chiang Mai!!
  • Very different from other elephant trips, where anilmals are foreced to carry people on their backs. Nice experience to feed them with bananas and cane. I liked when our guide asked us to stop playing with elephants because they were hungry. I think that's the way it should look like - elephants are our hosts and we follow their demands. I can confirm that the meal at the and was tasty ;-) Also the journey to elephant site takes 1,5 hours by songtaew from chiang mai and is not very convenient but it's worth to see those big animals in their natural habitat.
  • Absolutely amazing experience; I don't understand some of these complaints. Julien's review beneath me appropriately responds to the complaints, so I will only second everything he said. Regarding our experience: the website says the trip will take ~1.5 hours each way, and it does. It's not like you're driving through Ohio cornfields though--the last leg of the ride takes you into the jungle and the views of the mountains are absolutely spectacular. The ride didn't feel long. My boyfriend and I did the One-Day Walk with the Elephants as his birthday present, and it was better than I could have imagined. Truly and amazing experience. We arrived at camp 4 at the same time as the morning half-day group and spent a good amount of time learning about the elephants before giving them a mud bath and playing around in a little waterfall with them. We ate lunch and the half-day group went on their way, leaving just six of us for the walk. The smaller group was nice, because you could actually get to know everyone and have fun : ) We spent ~2-3 hours walking through the jungle with three elephants, watching them snack and learning SO much more about how they're cared for, their history, etc. The guides were awesome! They made these little ivy crowns for the girls and a Peter Pan-like hat for the teenage guy in our group. We were all laughing at each other and playing around. After the walk, we walked to a bigger waterfall a little further in the jungle and jumped in for a bit. The current was strong and the water a little cold, but it was fun and refreshing after the sticky jungle walk. We then went to two more camps, and at the last camp saw a little baby who was only 7 days old! Later, looking over our GoPro video, we both remarked that neither of us could stop laughing the whole day. This was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I can't thank EJS enough.
  • An Honest Experience: So, I've gone through and I've looked at some of the criticisms and reviews that others have had, and I thought I should also explain my experience. 1. It's not okay if the Mahouts (Elephant Caretakers) were hitting on you or touching you just to cop-a-feel. That sucks and it's not okay. Definitely write the company about it. 2. Someone mentioned that it's a lot of money for THAI PEOPLE to make per-day, but please consider this. Elephant Food. 400kg's per day. Vehicle fuel, vehicle maintenance, drivers, and the VEHICLE. EXPENSIVE. A good, living wage for the workers, mahouts, and the local villages. That's important. Also, the owner is THAI, and every single elephant is rescued or born at the sanctuary. The money is spread very well among all of the locals and this is a very honest and sustainable business for these people. It deserves support. 3. Dangerous Road and Bad Driving are inexcusable. That's horrible and you definitely should have been compensated for the accident. 4. Elephants are still TRAINED. Yes. This is for the protection of the visitors, the local farmers, and the ecological resources in the surrounding area. These elephants are domesticated and have always lived with humans. They are rewarded for good behaviour and go to a local school to be taught certain skills at the age of 4. This company strictly DOES NOT support physically harming elephants (emotionally or physically) to make the elephants perform for humans. Never did I see an elephant attacked or intimidated. My story? I did the 7 Day Volunteer experience and spent the majority of my time at camp 6. I learned tons of things and spent a good deal of my time asking tough questions and sneaking around trying to find the negative side of this industry. I made strong connections with the local people, and with my incredible guides Bee and Chai. There was nothing hidden from us and we were welcome to ask, talk, visit, and interact with whomever we chose. I can honestly say that 90% of the Mahouts (Elephant Caretakers) were deeply connected to their elephants and loved them as part of the family. Pulling of the ears doesn't hurt them, and it about the same as pulling on the leash of your dog. It's simply a reminder to listen as they have poor hearing and poor eyesight. I connected personally with some of these elephants and it was the most profound and intimate feeling. I visited all of the 7 camps and can tell you that these elephants are HAPPY! They eat, swim, bathe, and scratch all day every day. In the evenings they are tethered on a long lead ( to prevent them from destroying local vegetation and farms ) and they continue being cared for. Sure it might be 1.5 hours away, and sure you might get a bit dirty, and SURE it might cost a bit of money. But honestly, after doing all my research and scratching my head for days about where to go....I'm so glad I decided on EJS. You have to look at it from a broad view, but this is PROGRESS! And these people know and love what they do.
  • The elephants are still trained and commanded to do things for your "entertainment." The guides at our camp were hitting on the girls rather aggressively. One of them came up behind me and started rubbing mud all over my back while I was looking the other way. This was totally unsolicited and made me very uncomfortable. Not really what I wanted on my honeymoon... They did this to several of the other girls (only the girls) and at the end of the visit were trying to get them to meet at such and such bar later in the evening. As if that weren't enough, the drive from Chiang Mai is long and uncomfortable. Positives (why I gave it two stars instead of one): it was nice to see the elephants, the food for lunch was good (fried eggs and fried rice) and the guides took photos for us.