Leave the city behind and take on the 4WD journey deep into the valleys. Visit the Elephant Village Sanctuary located in rural hill tribe village, home of a family that looks after the elephants. The Karen people have been looking after the elephants for centuries. As a result, they are renown as the "Caretaker of Elephants." With them for half a day, you will take care of the elephants and learn more about them, and relax at the natural waterfall inside the lush green forest.
Traveling for one and a half hours from Chiang Mai.
As you go higher, the road gets smaller. Then from afar, you see small villages popping up here and there, and one of them is where Elephant Village Sanctuary lies. Hop out from the truck, carry what you can, and walk down the hill to have a little rest. If you are getting tired here, you will be surprised that you need to hike a bit more to your first encounter with the elephants. Here you will be provided with fruits to feed the elephants.
Then we will part with the elephants for a while, and trek to find the waterfall. A little pathway leads into the lush green forest. And before you know it, the waterfall is now in sight. Get change, bring out the swimsuits, and enjoy swimming with natural waterfall slider.
We are probably crisp and fresh, but our day is far from over. Trek back to the village. The elephants will march down from the hill to have the mud spa. Get in and join the elephant, splashing the mud on them, they love it. Continue to the bath in the running stream. Grab your bucket and get to work. Wash the elephants while waving for photos for your experience of a lifetime. Enjoy eating lunch provided by the chef of the village, nothing fancy but sure to fill. We have had a great time, but it is now time for the good-bye.
Trek back to the truck and depart for Chiang Mai.
Beautiful setting for a sanctuary up in the mountains, the elephants and surrounding community made this an incredible experience. Friendly and knowledgeable guides help you interact with the elephants and lead you on an tour through to a quaint waterfall. After the playful mud bath, the lunch was both plentiful and tasty, and the perfect way to end of the day.Read on TripAdvisor
TRES RESPECTUEUX / A FAIRE
Un havre de paix à plus d’une cinquantaine de km de Chiang Mai.
Nous avons été pris en charge par un des habitants du village dans lequel prend lieu l’excursion. Un village autosuffisant vivant en harmonie avec la nature.
Après quelques explications, nous nous sommes changés avec des vêtements traditionnels pour approcher les éléphants. Aucun n’était enchaîné, ni utilisé pour transporter des gens. Tous étaient heureux et extrêmement affectueux ! Leur donner à manger et un bain a été une vraie expérience. Des animaux très nobles et intelligents, demandant beaucoup d’affection et d’une compassion stupéfiante.
Ça a été un soulagement de voir que ce lieu prend aussi bien soin des éléphants. Les habitants du village sont d’une amabilité rare, et le repas était à tomber par terre, tout provient du village !
Je ne saurais recommander plus, foncez-y !
Read on TripAdvisor
it's about a 1.5 hour trip to the mountains which is very enjoyable, too. it's so much pleasure to see how the whole village is taking care of these elephants and how nicely they're treaded. it was a unique experience feeding the baby and the grown-ups, mud bathing them and washing them. impressive how these gentle giants interact with humans. and the cool-off underneath the waterfall was great after a walk through the jungle. not to forget the great lunch we were served by the locals. thank you for making this trip so wonderful!Read on TripAdvisor
We enjoyed our trip!
Positives - My partner and myself really enjoyed this trip. We specifically wanted a half-day trip, so we chose this activity. We also wanted to visit a no-riding elephant sanctuary and this was just that. The hosts really cared about the elephants and made sure they were being kept well and calm while our group was there. It was heartwarming to see the love between the hosts and elephants. The baby elephant was so cute! The waterfall was also a great addition. They served us great lunch too!
Negatives - We were given uniforms - only tops, not pants although the photos on here show otherwise...I wish the shirts were washed because they reeked. The communication was also not so great - we were told to be outside our place at 7AM, but the driver didn't arrive to pick us up until close to 8AM. The drive up there is really tricky with many windy roads and my entire group was pretty much nauseated - something to prepare for!Read on TripAdvisor
Amazing time with the elephants
You can really see how much the elephants love their caretakers! One of the highlights of my Chiang Mai trip. The guide seemed a little reserve, but answered all my questions the best he can.Read on TripAdvisor
Great day in an Elephant Sanctuary
My wife and I decided to book this excursion just the afternoon before and luckily they were able to accommodate us. Here are a few things to note for those that would like to join. Overall, it was a really fun day and we are so glad that we booked it.
We were the first to be picked up, ten minutes before the scheduled time which worked well in the morning but were also the last to be dropped in the afternoon. We drove in the back of a tuk tuk style truck; bring sweaters! It was pretty cold on the drive up, but we were prepared with sweatshirts. The drive is actually 2 hours not 1 hour, though we did stop for a coffee/toilet break. Also, beware if you get motion sick! The roads there are very windy and it really feels a bit like a roller coaster.
On arrival, you must walk up some very steep and muddy trails so definitely would recommend wearing proper shoes. People did wear sandals, but it made things difficult. Once we were given the details about how to behave with the Elephants we went directly to them. And really, we thought the Elephants were in great care. They are able to walk around themselves for the most part though, for tourists, the villagers do coerce them with food to join the group. As long as they are being fed they stick around. Was such a cool experience being so close and being able to feed them. Watch out though, they turn their massive bodies very fast and you might get knocked over!
The one part we didn't love was the washing of the Elephants. It didn't seem they enjoyed it and it was just a big push for tourists. They weren't being mistreated, but if they had the choice I don't think they would have been in the water.
Oh and we also walked to a water fall nearby for swimming but it was a bit too cold. Very beautiful though!
Lunch was really nice, a savoury meal of curried vegetables, rice, and fresh fruit. Nothing too spicy and they provide water. Beers and sodas can be purchased there as well as beaded jewellery that they sell.
I would definitely recommend this excursion for an up close look at village life and of an Elephant sanctuary.Read on TripAdvisor
Real Happy Elephants!
Es war ein wundervoller Halbtagesausflug zum Elephant Village Sanctuary. Man wird relativ zeitig vom Hotel oder seiner Unterkunft abgeholt und fährt ca. 90 Minuten zum Village. Den restlichen Vor-, Mittag, und Nachmittag verbringt man mit den Elefanten. Beginnend mit der Fütterung, folgen ein gemeinsames Schlammbad und die anschließende Reinigung der Elefanten. Zwischendurch wird ein Wasserfall begutachtet und am Ende gibt es ein gemeinsames Mittagessen. Es ist ein rundum gelungener und sehr gut organisierter Ausflug und stellt im Gegensatz zum immer noch weit verbreiteten Elefantenreiten eine tierfreundliche Alternative dar. Ist sein Geld definitiv wert! Read on TripAdvisor
Sehr gute Organisation. Wir hatten das Glück neben vier großen auch einen Babyelefanten zu füttern und zu baden. Den Tieren scheint es gut zu gehen. Das Mittagessen war sehr ausgezeichnet. Es war ein rundum gelungener Ausflug. Read on TripAdvisor
Families Beware This Tour is Tough
Let me start by saying it was nice to see the elephants and they seemed to treat them well. All the other stuff was awful. The ride to the sanctuary was twice as long as expected, in a packed red truck (think sardine can only hotter) no air, no comfortable seats, no water. There was so much uphill hiking my kids were to exhausted to enjoy the elephants. The guide told me I couldn't let my kids into the waterfall area. The tour guy called me fat twice (not wrong just rude) he said he was surprised I made it through the tour. Lunch was at 5pm and consisted of some fruit a little bit of rice and fried egg. You could buy soda or beer. It wasn't awful but it wasn't good.Read on TripAdvisor
Rencontre avec les éléphants A NE PAS LOUPER!!!
Ken,le guide est d'une grande sympathie, très ouvert au dialogue. C'est un habitant du village des Karen, il nous a accueilli gracieusement au milieu de la forêt, avec les éléphants.
Expérience riche aussi bien au niveau culturel qu'avec les animaux. Ils sont bien traités et très attachants. Ken nous a aidé à les approcher, un bon moment d'émotions.
Pour clôturer cette demi-journée, Ken nous a offert un petit repas typique, concocté par un proche de son village (présente au moment du repas). A découvrir, c'était excellent!! Read on TripAdvisor