Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries - Chiang Mai
Asian Elephant Projects offers day trips to 8 ethical elephant sanctuary projects near Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand. Visit one of our ethical elephant sanctuaries as part of a small group for an unforgettable, intimate adventure with elephants in nature. Observe elephants living in beautiful natural surroundings – foraging in the forest, interacting with each other, playing in the mud and swimming in the river – freed from elephant riding, performances, and other unnatural behavior. We support independent ethical elephant projects that are now providing a better life for these gentle giants.
- Choose from a variety of ethical elephant tours suitable for all ages and fitness levels, from challenging mountain jungle hikes with the elephants and white-water rafting to scenic forest walks at a relaxed pace, watching the elephants forage along the way.
- Our Saddle Off projects provide a caring home for between 2 to 5 elephants and limit guests to 3 people per elephant.
- We offer full day visits as well as one-week programs volunteering with elephants. Our trips include local transportation, meals, qualified tour guides, and rafting where available.
- All of our Saddle Off projects share a commitment to the well-being of the elephants and provide visitors with a safe and rewarding experience.
Ethical Elephant Tours
Be Part of the Solution
By visiting one of our ethical elephant sanctuaries you are supporting a kinder form of elephant tourism, where the focus is on observing the elephants doing what comes naturally. Elephants are intelligent, social, empathic beings deserving of our respect, care, and admiration. Our Saddle Off projects are home to over 30 elephants, now enjoying a healthier, happier, more natural life, thanks to responsible, eco-conscious travelers choosing Asian Elephant Projects. Check Availability and Search Projects to find the right adventure for you.
The elephants at the projects we support are not ridden and do not perform in shows.
Watch elephants interacting, foraging, communicating, and playing together.
Support ethical elephant tourism and help to provide a better life for Asian elephants.
Our model is based on ensuring the well-being of the elephants. All projects undergo an approval process and follow guidelines designed to improve the quality of the lives of the elephants, which includes freeing them from the burden of elephant riding. Read more…
Walk with Elephants in Nature
Walk with elephants along scenic jungle, forest, and mountain trails at a relaxed pace, stopping while they forage on native plants. Observing elephants in their natural habitat is a fascinating experience – seeing how at home they are navigating the jungle slopes while carefully selecting plants to eat and using their remarkably strong and dexterous trunks to uproot tubers and clean off the dirt, snap branches, and communicate with each other.
Prepare Treats & Feed the Elephants
Asian elephants can easily eat more than 200 kilograms of food a day. A healthy diet includes grasses, shrubs, bamboo, jungle leaves, tree bark, sugarcane, pumpkin, and of course bananas. A good way to get acquainted with the elephants is to offer them fruit and vegetables as well as health balls containing medicinal herbs. It’s quite a thrill to have an elephant pluck food from your hand with their trunk.
Elephants are very much at home in the water and are excellent swimmers. Surprisingly, their large bodies float easily and they love to relax together in rivers, streams, and pools. Watch the elephants dunk each other, use their trunks as snorkels while submerged, and create fountains. Young elephants love to play in the water and can sometimes be seen clambering onto the backs of older elephants and then sliding back into the river.
Watch the Elephants Play in the Mud
Mud baths are one of the all-time favorite activities of elephants. They love to roll around in the mud giving themselves and each other a full body mask as it cools and nourishes their skin, protecting it from insects and the sun. Their antics in the mud pools provides some great photo opportunities as they fling mud high into the air in giant swirls with their trunks.