THAILAND | Cuddling elephants in Chiang Mai

THAILAND | Cuddling elephants in Chiang Mai

I think cuddling elephants is the one thing that’s on almost everybody’s list when traveling to Southeast Asia. Chiang Mai is a great place to check this activity of your bucket list. For me it was an experience I’ll never forget. I’ve definitely formed a new love and respect for these beautiful animals.

I did the full day tour at ‘Into The Wild Elephants Camp’. We were picked up from our hostel at around 8AM and drove up into the mountains/forest for about 1,5 hours, with a little stop at a local market on the way. Once we’d arrived it was only a little walk down the hill to the elephant camp. The camp were I went had 5 elephants, 3 adults and 2 babies (they were the cutest thing ever!!).

At this camp they have rescued elephants. Unfortunately, there are still many places in Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia where you can ride the elephants. Please don’t do this! It’s not good for the elephant’s back to carry around tourists all day and at most of the places where this is allowed the animals are treated very badly. They are usually chained and bossed around using iron hooks. So, please research where you go, so you’ll support a place that focusses on creating a good life for these beautiful animals.

At the Into the Wild elephant camp the elephants are free to walk around wherever they want. This was something I found very important, as I don’t want to force myself on them. After arriving at the camp we got to meet the sweet, but very impressive elephants. I was a little hesitant at first, but started to feel more comfortable as the day went on. We got to feed the elephants bananas and then we went with them into the forest, so they could get some more food. It was great to see them do their thing in their natural habitat.

After lunch it was time for a mud bath. It was so much fun rubbing the mud on the elephants and they really seemed to enjoy it, using their trunks to get even more mud on them. Just a little warning, be prepared to get muddy yourself too! The baby elephants weren’t that into taking a mud bath, so they hopped out pretty quickly and were left alone. After the mud bath we went to rinse off all the mud in the river. It was such a surreal experience to swim with the elephants!

Overall it was just an amazing day. When we left they put some food on the other side of the river so the elephants would cross it. It was so cool to see how they protected the little one. The current was pretty strong so the adult elephant made sure to walk on the correct side of the baby so the baby wouldn’t get swooped off it’s feet. So sweet and so smart, right!

There are dozens of elephant camps and sanctuaries in Chiang Mai (and other places in Thailand and Southeast Asia), but as I mentioned beforehand please do some research before you decide where to go. Unfortunately, it’s quite expansive to spend a day with the elephants, I paid around 60 euros for a full day. There are also cheaper half day options, but keep in mind these are usually more crowded. One thing that made me really happy was to know that the money I spend went to a good place and they use it to rescue more elephants and create a better life for them. You can watch my video of the elephants and all the other things we did in Chiang Mai here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *