When you go on holiday to Chiang Mai, no visit is complete without experiencing a trip to see the majestic elephants at an ethical park. There are various parks and sanctuaries you can visit to get up close and personal with the national animal of Thailand. If this sounds appealing to you and you want to know what to expect when you visit an elephant nature park in Chiang Mai, below is a summary of what happens with most elephant parks and sanctuaries.
Book In Advance
The parks and sanctuaries need to control the number of people who visit daily, so you will need to book your visit in advance. There are various parks in and around Chiang Mai you can visit, and you can use websites such as Trip Advisor to see which parks you can visit. You can often book online or book through one of the many tour operators throughout the city.
An Early Start
You will most likely have an early start on the day of your visit to the park, so you will need to be up and dressed and eat your breakfast early. It is common to be collected from your hotel at around 8 am, so you will need to be up and ready early. You will travel to the park in a minibus, often watching a video about the park on the way. You sometimes stop off at one of the local markets and collect food to feed the elephants later.
Arriving At The Park
Once you arrive at the park, your guide will walk you to the visitor centre, and you will see the elephants know you are coming and are ready to greet you. You will start by learning some facts about the elephants and feeding them plenty of fruits and vegetables that they love.
Watching Them Play
After you have fed the elephants, they will wander off in their family groups, and you can observe them while your guide teaches you more about these majestic pachyderms. You will then usually grab some food provided by the park before spending more time with the animals.
Playing With The Elephants
You then get to spend more time with the elephants watching them play before walking them down to the water and letting them enjoy a colling and relaxing bath. You can join them in the water and use the brushes provided to give them a wash, which they love.
Before you know it, it is time to get changed again and head back to the minibus and head back to your hotel. You will usually get back between 4 and 5 pm and will be left feeling tired, but with plenty of beautiful memories to take home with you.