A Life-Changing Experience at the Elephant Nature Park

A Life-Changing Experience at the Elephant Nature Park

If you are heading to #ChiangMai, please skip the popular (and cruel) elephant riding and head over to the #Elephant Nature Park instead. Here you can truly bond with these #animals in a humane way. It was a life-changing experience for me, one in which I learned much about the elephants and about the #culture of the area.


As we drove up the windy road on the side of the rolling mountains, up a dirt road and past the dog pen filled with hundreds of rescue dogs from across Thailand, I already had a feeling I'd fall in love with this place. 

I already had a feeling I'd fall in love with this place

When we got out of the van and headed towards the main entrance of the park, we got our first glimpse of the giant, wrinkly animals-yep, I was definitely falling in love with this place.

The park has an amazing size
The park has an amazing size

The Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand was one of the most life-changing experiences I've had in my travels so far. I've had the chance to do and see quite a few amazing things in my lifetime, but nothing really comes close to comparing to The Elephant Nature Park. It was something about getting to get up close and personal with these amazing animals in a safe, and gorgeous environment, mixed with feeling like my eyes were being opened up to a whole world that I just didn't even know really existed.

Tourists flock to Thailand every single year, often with one of their to-do list items being riding elephants, but there is very little information out there about the harm this actually is causing these animals. The Elephant Nature Park not only educated me, but showed me how human-like these animals actually are. In each of their elephants eyes, you see a past, one that is quite haunting in most cases, but you also see happiness, freedom and relief. 

In each of their elephants eyes, you see a past, one that is quite haunting in most cases, but you also see happiness, freedom and relief

These elephants were now truly living out the rest of their lives the way they deserved to from the beginning.

Cute baby elephant
Cute baby elephant

As we walked through the park with our guide, Apple, we learned about elephants, the stories behind each of the elephants in this park, and what the founder, Lek, and The Elephant Nature Park are doing to help change the way this country (and tourists) think about elephants.

Feeding the elephants
Feeding the elephants

My sister and I stayed in the Park for two days, one night. The extra day really gave us the chance to get even more up close and personal with these animals by walking with them, observing them in their day-to-day activities, and even preparing food for the elderly elephants so they could eat despite their lack of teeth. 

walking with them, observing them in their day-to-day activities, and even preparing food for the elderly elephants so they could eat despite their lack of teeth

Most tourists opt for the one day experience which is definitely an amazing, empowering day trip too, but if you have the time, definitely opt for the two day experience.

if you have the time, definitely opt for the two day experience
from  $71

Elephant Nature Park Visit

AffordableAspirationalCulture
 1 Ratmakka Road Phra Sing Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
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Outside of everything the Park and organization are doing to curve animal cruelty in Thailand, they also support and help the community around them. 

they also support and help the community around them

They strongly believe in giving back to those surrounding the land of their Park and they do this by donating things like school supplies and clothes to local families and schools, employing locals to work at the Park, and providing benefits to their staff that includes supporting their entire family. The Elephant Nature Park also has an agreement with local farmers that if they grow their vegetables and fruit organically, the Park will buy all their crops off of them to feed their animals; and believe me, they eat a lot!

Mature elephant in the park
Mature elephant in the park

Many people think that one person can't make an impact on things like animal cruelty, and I have to admit, I can be one of those apprehensive people, but when you see someone like Lek work so hard to fight for these animals that she's gained such a huge following behind her, you'll realize that one person can make a difference and can impact change.

As I left The Elephant Nature Park to head back to our hotel in Chiang Mai, I felt like I was a changed person. 

from  $33.88

Hotel De Wiang Kum Kam

 171/1 Moo 1, Tawangtal, Saraphee, Chiang Mai, Thailand
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I know it sounds cheesy, but when you're traveling and opening your eyes to what really goes on in the world, you begin to look at your own life, and the things around you differently. So to anyone heading to Chiang Mai, skip out on the elephant riding, and head to The Elephant Nature Park instead. 

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