Today I am going to be talking about something a little different!
I recently came across some photos from my trip to Thailand back in March 2016, and thought I should share with you all my experience at Chang Mai’s Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. You can check out their website by clicking here.
I LOVE Elephants, they are my favourite animal. I first visited Thailand when I was younger, around 10. I rode an elephant and visited them at the zoo. Now that i am older i have been made aware of the cruelty some elephants face in captivity, and what they have to go through for people to ride them. Elephants spines are not the same as horses. They cannot support weight from above, therefore riding causes long-term harm (this has come direct from their website). Some are taken away from their mums straight from birth which is really traumatic for them. They can be kept in chains and even beaten. It’s just awful.
I still really wanted to visit elephants when I returned to Thailand last year, so i did my research and came across The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.
The introduction on their website quotes:
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is an ethical and sustainable eco-tourism project located approximately 60km from the city of Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Founded in July 2014, it is a joint initiative between members of the Karen hill-tribes and Chiang Mai locals who were concerned about the welfare of elephants in Thailand.
You get to visit the Elephants in the Jungle, their natural habitat. They are looked after by the hill tribes, who live there with them. They have a strict NO RIDE Policy. If you go along to their website you can find out more about the elephants. it’s really interesting! take a look here.
Me and my sister visited and did the half day visit – the itinerary for this can be viewed here. they also have others such as full days and overnight visits.
We got picked up from where we were staying, and stopped along the way to visit a market and get refreshments. i must warn you! – its not luxury, its a small truck with lots of people and is VERY bumpy.. take sickness pills – but its all part of the fun!
Once we arrived at the sanctuary we were given special throw overs to wear – these are worn by the tribes themselves so they get you to wear them so the elephants familiarise themselves with you.
my favourite ever selfie.
They Had a photographer there which i thought was really cool. they upload the photos they take to their facebook page! the two below were taken by them.
There was a new family of elephants who had recently joined them in the jungle, and they bad a new-born baby! he was so adorable. His family protected him so much it was so lovely to see.
After we had time to play with the elephants in the jungle, the tribe walked the elephants down to the watering hole for them to bathe in, and we got to go in too! it was so scary because it was muddy water and I was worried the elephants would stand o my feet, but they are pretty clever and aware of their surroundings!
the tribes had them filling their trunks up and spraying us, it was so lovely to see how much the elephants loved the tribe people and how friendly they were towards them.
once we had played with them in the water we headed back up to the jungle and had some food, provided by them. There were noodles, fruit and drinks. They were so friendly and happy to answer any questions we had about the elephants, their english was pretty good.
It was one of the most amazing and unforgettable experiences of my life. Even better that you know the elephants are well looked after.
If you are going travelling and want to encounter elephants, or any animal for that matter.. PLEASE do your research and be careful you are not funding organisations that hold animals captive and treat them cruelly.
I hope you enjoyed reading, feel free to leave any comments about your thoughts on my trip, or the tourist industry and animal encounters in general!