The Elephant Nature Foundation is a non-profit organisation that advocates and acts on behalf of rights for elephants in Thailand. The park offers visitors a rare experience to get involved with the elephants from an educational perspective. Visitors are not there to observe the elephants performing tricks, or to ride the elephants, but are there to observe elephants grazing, playing, interacting, and behaving as they would in the wild.
All of the elephants at the park have been rescued from gruelling work days, abuse and neglect by uneducated elephant mahouts. Each elephant has documentation listing all that the foundation knows about their past so that visitors can learn about specific cases.
The owner, Lek, has received many awards for the excellent work she has done over the years. The elephants are left to roam as if in the wild, but do need constant care due to the neglect they have suffered in the past.
The organisation also runs an outreach programme, 'Jumbo Express', where they go out to various areas of Thailand, providing emergency medical treatment to elephants working in remote areas, and building vital ties with communities working with elephants. They are then able to gain the trust of the local people and educate them, with the goal of improving the life of working elephants. Your visit to the organisation will help ensure that the organisation continues for years to come.
You will be picked up from your hotel in Chiang Mai and visit a local fruit market en route to the Elephant Nature Park to collect supplies for all the elephants in the park. You then have a full day spent getting to know the assembled herd of elephants who are lucky enough to live here.
You have an opportunity to listen to tales from the park specialists on the biology, psychology and behaviour of the elephants.
If you would like to spend longer here the park offers simple accommodation for overnight visitors.