Most Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries You Must Visit in Chiang Mai


It’s really a great opportunity for tourists to see elephants up close. More and more tourists are looking for ethical elephant sanctuaries where the elephants can live their lives in peace without any mistreatment. These parks operate by training elephants to carry the tourists on their backs for the sake of photographs. Nothing more than that!

Let’s check the list of tried and tested ethical elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai where you can see the elephants treated with love and respect that they deserve.

As we know Chiang Mai is famous for elephant riding in Thailand, there are many opportunities to see these giant animals and interact with them. Your experience will be magical and enchanting as you will get an opportunity to feed, hug, and even bathe the elephants; of course with proper guidance and instruction from the sanctuary officials.

  • Elephant Nature Park:

Elephant Nature Park is known as the first ethical sanctuary in Thailand. Established in 1990 by the conservationist Lek Chailert in Chiang Mai, it is known as the safe haven for rescued elephants.

You can see that the park has provided a loving home for lots of ill-treated elephants from all over Thailand. This place also includes rescued animals like cats, buffalo, dogs, and many other animals apart from elephants. This is an animal lover’s paradise.

Enjoy a full day trip at this park during your visit. You can also stay overnight and learn about the elephant’s regular habits.

If you take a package, a delicious vegetarian buffet lunch is included. Meanwhile, at the end of the day, you will also get a chance to know how elephants are trained to work and perform in shows in Thailand.

Price: 2,500 Baht for adults and 1250 Baht for children

Location: Approximately 60 kilometers from Chiang Mai

Start from Chiang Mai in the morning and return in the evening.

  • Chang Chill:

Chang means ‘Elephant’ in Thai and Chill means ‘Relax’.  As the name suggests, it’s a place for the elephants to relax. Chang chill was earlier known as Happy Elephant Valley. It has moved away from interactive activities like riding, bathing, and feeding the elephants. The travelers can’t interact with the elephants but just can observe them from far. They are left in their own space to relax and continue on their daily routine without any disturbance.

Here, you will also get a chance to learn about the tribal people and their traditions.

Chang Chill Program:

You will be given an introduction about Chang Chill with the program schedule. Then follow your guide into the forest to see the elephants grazing and interacting with each other, from a distance.

You can also take this opportunity to take part in a cooking class where you will be taught to prepare food and supplements for the elephants of the sanctuary. During your visit, you can learn about the diet and health care of the elephants and also about some interesting facts about Asian elephants and their mahouts.

Lunch is included in the package with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Price: 2,500 baht for an adult

Location: 65 kilometers from Chiang Mai

Time to travel: 1.5 hours

  • Burm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary:

Burm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary is a community-based elephant rescue center in Maechaem. It is located 2.5 hours from Chiang Mai.

There are only three permanently retired elephants there and they receive a lot of care, love, and affection that they deserve.

Strictly no riding, no bathing, and certainly no tricks at BEES; which make it an ultimate happy place for elephants.

Their program highlights on allowing elephants their freedom to just be an elephant. This helps the elephants to live a happy and natural life. This ethical program allows elephants to spend their lives just like humans.

There is no stay for a day trip or half a day trip to this sanctuary. You have to stay overnight. The price includes four meals and free drinking water.

Price: 6,000 baht for an overnight stay for adults (Per adult)

Price: 1,250 baht for children (Per child)

Location: 65 kilometers from Chiang Mai (2½ hours)

What to take during doing Elephant Adventure:

  • Comfortable clothes
  • Hiking shoes and some flip-flops or sandals
  • A hat, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent
  • Drinking water
  • Some snacks to eat between meals

Final Thoughts:

Experiencing elephants at their natural habitat is a must-do activity during your trip to Thailand. Prepare your itinerary for better accommodations before your trip to these amazing sanctuaries. We, Dimaak are always there to help you plan a hassle-free trip and create your own customized package.