Located about an hour’s drive north of Chiang Mai, Elephant Nature Park is founded and run by Time Magazine’s Asian Hero 2005, Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert. The park’s 30+ elephants can be easily seen roaming and socializing in the vast open grounds. After pick-up and transport from your hotel, you will be guided through your day. It will include feeding the elephants from a platform, bathing them in the river, watching a documentary, eating an amazing lunch, and hearing many touching stories about the elephants’ individual backgrounds, injuries, and rescues. The elephants do not work at the park. Those elephants interacting with visitors are gently guided through the day’s schedule, without the use of hooks, by their personal mahout.
Depending on the season, the average number of guests per day is around 40. Most visitors leave the park having had fallen in love with a favorite elephant and having learned more about the Thai elephant’s situation. Day, overnight, and volunteer experiences are possible. Elephant Nature Park also runs three other programs; Jumbo Express, Surin, and Journey to Freedom.
Read Elemotion Foundation’s interview with Khun Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park.