Ethical Elephant Sanctuary Chiang Mai

One of the greatest experiences you can have while staying at Howie’s Homestay, Chiang Mai, Thailand, is to go trekking with elephants. There are a number of tours that are organized through our resort, in order to visit an elephant camp. Our utmost concern is to only suggest camps that ethically treat the elephants as they are truly wonderful animals! We therefore only recommend visits to an ethical Chiang Mai elephant sanctuary.

We tailor our tours to the level of adventure that suits you. Riding on the elephants through the amazing tropical jungle can be an unforgettable experience. It’s a great way to explore the diverse landscape of the country other than on foot or along rivers. However there are growing concerns about riding on the elephants. Many camps now offer more ethical elephant adventures that still let you interact with them. Trekking with elephants is a great adventure. Elephants can lead you down well-worn routes, where the view of the mountain can add a whole new dimension to the scenery around you. On a typical day, the guide will pick you up from the hotel and will drive you to the elephant sanctuary, where you will have an amazing time.

Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary – Riding the Elephants

When you visit an elephant sanctuary, you will find a number of great things to do. For example, you can learn more about them, care and bond with them, especially fun with the babies, you can also feed and bathe them. You can have a number of opportunities to interact with the elephants on a more intimate level.

Rather than ride in a secure bench on top of the elephant you can be trained by professional elephant trainers in the skills of how to ride elephants on their neck. This is done by using a number of different techniques and spoken commands. You will be paired with an elephant and your ride will begin. The elephants can ride you up steep hillsides along time worn routes to a number of amazing and hidden sites in the jungle. You can get the chance to admire ancient temples and visit old villages that still live without electricity.  You will be greeted by villagers who have lived and worked with elephants for centuries.

Elephant Bathing Chiang Mai

Bathing and Swimming with Elephants

The jungle has many waterfalls and during journey with an elephant you may have the chance to stop by one. There you can give your elephant a bath or swim with them. The trainers that accompany you will tell you how to scrub them, while you get the chance to see how much they love the water. You can spend some time there enjoying the bath with your elephant and admiring all the beautiful scenery around you. After a couple of hours you’ll start your trip back to the elephant sanctuary. As with any encounter with these mighty animals you should always remember that they need special attention. A gentle swish of the tail can knock you flying. You must never approach an elephant alone. Always do what their trainers tell you. Remember that the mahout has a very special and personal relationship with their elephant.

Interacting with elephants

Indeed only certain elephants are suitable for human interaction. They must have the right temperament. This is as much due to how they have been treated early in their lives as anything else. At the best Chiang Mai elephant sanctuary the elephants always come first. Most of them are a labor of love. They respect the elephants. understand that they have been used, and sometimes abused, by people. They have been the tractors and haulage trucks for Asia for centuries. Just as horses gave way to machines in the west so elephants are no longer used for work.

Understanding elephants

Eyesight – Elephants may have great memories but their eyesight is pretty poor. You should remember this when you are near them. Sudden movements can spook them easily.

Hearing – On the other hand their hearing is very good. Much better than humans. However sudden loud noises can upset them so be careful.

Smell – It is no wonder with their elephant trunks that their sense of smell is acute. At the end of the trunk is a finger like appendage. Elephants are amazingly capable of picking up and holding even the smallest most delicate sticks. In fact they use sticks to scratch themselves.

Diet – Elephants consume around 10% of their body weight each and every day. That is a whopping 250KG plus. The Asian elephant mostly eats grass. They also love fruit, small shrubs, leaves and roots.

Water – Elephants love water. Indeed they drink around 200 liters per day. They also love to bathe in it to keep cool. Watch out near mud. They love it also.

Take some time to find out more about elephants before you go and visit them at a Chiang Mai elephant sanctuary.

Chiang Mai show with Elephants

Many of the older elephant camps put on shows. Whilst this does attract a lot of tourists many are now looking for more meaningful experiences with them. You can admire their incredible talents. See them work with teak logs as they did in the old days or play a number of sports, like soccer.  You can even see them play musical instruments. After the show you and your friends can take lots of photos with elephants. We feel that there are better ways to admire the wonders of the elephants than watching a show. Just being with them in their natural habitat you will witness all of their remarkable talents.

Visiting an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai is a very popular activity. You can combine this experience with plenty of the other Chiang Mai attractions in the area. Visit the Orchid farms, the Tiger Kingdom, Snake and Monkey shows. There are also craft markets and temple tours to enjoy. When you stay at Howie’s HomeStay you are a short distance from town but very near to many of these attractions. We will always help you to visit the best places and get the most from your stay in Chiang Mai.