Elephants At Home, Chiang Mai

4.9
#27 of 128 in Wildlife in Chiang Mai
An innovative way to enjoy an up-close experience with these beautiful creatures, aimed at improving the living conditions of domestic Asian Elephants by providing economic sustainability for their ‘owners’ through responsible tourism.

Introduction

Thailand is a truly magical place with so much to see and do, but to really appreciate it, you have to go outside the usual tourist areas and experience the real Thailand.

At Discover Real Thailand we invite you into our homeland and our village where we have lived for hundreds of years, alongside our elephants, in the mountains of Chiang Mai. We are proud of our heritage and would like to share with you what we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy as an everyday part of life.

We truly respect and really love our elephants, they are our family. We are a sanctuary for these beautiful creatures and have rescued many elephants from a less fortunate life.

Elephants@Home

We would be delighted to welcome you in our village, to spend the day with our elephants to learn about and get to know them. We'll begin the day by making our way into the forest where the elephants are free to roam. Here you'll spend the day caring for them, washing them and feeding them. You'll also learn how to communicate with the elephants and get to walk with them along the river, stopping to enjoy a traditional Thai lunch before heading back to the village at the end of the day. There will of course be plenty of time to play with them throughout the day too!

Your Day Out with Elephants@Home

An ethical, up-close experience with elephants is a wonderful experience and a fantastic day out, but best of all it will leave you with a parting gift of lasting memories that you will treasure forever.

7.30am - 8am: Pick up from your accommodation (if in Chiang Mai City)

9am: Pick up from Doi Nok Strawberry Resort, Samoeng, Chiang Mai

You will have an opportunity to buy food and refreshments if you wish whilst you complete the details on the insurance form

9.30am: Arrive at Elephants@Home

On arrival, there will be a welcome drink for everyone whilst everyone gets to know each other and of course your hosts for the day - our elephants. There are no other tourists so you are their sole guests of honour for the day.

Learning About Elephants and the Karen Hill Tribe

To begin the day, everyone gets to put on some traditional Karen Tribe clothing (to put on over your own clothes), this helps to keep your own clothes clean and of course, adds to the fun! Once everyone is dressed, we gather together to learn about elephants, from our guide, who has lived amongst elephants all his life. He will give you some fascinating facts and information as well as teach you how to communicate and interact with the elephants with basic verbal commands. You will also learn about the Karen Hill Tribe, an ethnic minority group of people whose origins can be traced back to the twelfth century, originally from Tibet, moving through China, into Burma (Myanmar) and then to Thailand.

Your Elephant Partner

After the introduction to elephants and the Karen Hill Tribe, you will be introduced to your elephant partner for the day, so you can get to know each other. One of the first things you will get to do is to feed your elephant with a bucket full of bananas! But don't worry; each elephant also has a mahout (or friend) who will be there to help you both throughout the day!

Elephant Washing

Next, we all walk, with our elephant partner, down into the river for the washing and brushing of their skin. It's a very important part of caring for an elephant, but it's also very enjoyable and great fun too for both you and your elephant!

Walking With Elephants

Once the elephants are all clean and sparkling, we will walk together with our elephant partner and friend along the river and through the forest a clearing where a table has been set for your lunch, (the elephants will help themselves in the forest!) Along the walk, there are some beautiful views and scenery to take in and enjoy. The walk is an easy walk of about 30 mins.

After Lunch Play Time

Following lunch its playtime in the river and pool, with the elephants! After playtime in the pool it's time to bid a fond farewell to your elephant friend.

Fond Farewell

After all the fun together, you'll be able to say goodbye to watch and wave farewell as the elephants are released, leaving them to return into the jungle to roam free for the rest of the day and the night. They will probably never forget their day with you and neither will you! You'll have lots of special memories to treasure too, but just to make sure, we'll have plenty of photos we'll have been taken throughout your day and will have a parting gift for you to take away with you when it's time to leave. But! it's not time to leave just yet!

Hill Tribe Village

Once the elephants have left and returned into the jungle, we will make our way into Maetoh, our Karen Hill Tribe village. Whilst your SD cards are being prepared with all the photos we have taken through out the day for you to take away, you will have an opportunity to see our Karen village and to see some of our traditional crafts, some of which you'll have an opportunity to purchase if you wish. There will be jewellery, basket ware and wood-carvings to see and buy, all made by hand, in our village.

Final Farewell

At the end of your day with us, we will make our way back to your accommodation. We will stop off at Doi Nok Strawberry Resort first. Those of you staying at this luxury mountain resort will be back in plenty of time for dinner! For those of you that are returning to Chiang Mai city accommodation, you will still have an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful views and to perhaps enjoy some refreshments in the restaurant if you wish, before we set off again for the city.

Approx: 3.30pm: Arrival back at Doi Nok Strawberry Resort Samoeng

5 - 5.30pm: Arrival back in Chiang Mai City

What To Bring With You

Bathing costume

Towel

Camera (although we take photos throughout the day and will have a complimentary SD card for you to take away with you at the end of the day, so don't worry if you forget to bring it!

Hat & Sunscreen

Where To Stay?

We are proud to be working in association with Doi Nok Strawberry Resort & Restaurant; affordable, luxury mountain lodge accommodation situated only 20km from our village.

The accommodation is fully air-conditioned lodges that are built in traditional Thai style, but to western standards with all the modern conveniences to make your stay extremely comfortable.

The journey from Doi Nok Strawberry Resort is only 20 minutes away from our village and offers our visitors a place to stay in the beautiful mountains surrounding our home. Guests will be picked up from Doi Nok Strawberry Resort and driven back at the end of the day whether you are on an Elephants@Home day out, a Scenic trek or both!

For prices and to book your accommodation

visit www.doinokresort.com

or telephone: +66 (0) 53-487289

Training Elephants

Training elephants using positive reinforcement such as food rewards (bananas), touch, as well as voice commands means the elephants learn in a humane way, from the beginning. Elephants respond well to these methods and the bonding between human and elephant is further enhanced. It also means, understandably, that the elephants do not act aggressively.

Elephants are just simply amazing, wonderful creatures. One cannot help being in awe of them. They are complex, intelligent beings that are playful, affectionate, responsive, gentle and curious.

Our people and our village have lived in harmony alongside these beautiful mammals, as family, for hundreds of years. We look after and care for our elephants and have a mutual respect with them. This is their home, roaming free amongst us, free to wander in the forest and the jungle.

Elephants remain a vital part of the economy and culture of Thailand and are an integral part in both cultural and religious ceremonies. Working with elephants is not so different from working with horses; both are very intelligent animals that respond well to positive reinforcement and learn very quickly. Elephants touch more overtly and affectionately than horses, elephants are more like the family pet dog with their open affection.

Where Your Money Goes

It has been said, that the kindest thing that an ethical, elephant-loving tourist can do is to go and enjoy an up-close encounter with elephants. Without visitors, elephant rescue homes have little means to care and provide for the elephants.

Elephant Conservation

At Elephants@Home, the majority proportion of the money from our visitors goes towards looking after the elephants and in rescuing other elephants.

Maetoh Karen Village

Another portion goes towards providing healthcare for the village

Victory Childrens Home Orphanage

A monthly payment is given to the orphanage in the village that takes care of children that are in need, regardless of which village or hill tribe they are from.

For a responsible, up-close elephant experience; no hooks, no chains, no heavy seats, no cruelty - but instead allowed to live where and how they were born to live; At Home! That's where the beauty really lies.
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  • Just can’t say enough wonderful things about this experience. It was truly fantastic to be here for the day helping with the elephant feeding and bathing. Just loved it!  more »
  • Elephants at home is an incredible experience! My boyfriend and I booked this trip and were the only two people on the tour! The tour guide picks you up in Chiang Mai and it’s about a 2.5 Hour drive i...  more »
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