Elephant Refuge Project
Book Now
Elephant Refuge Project
Book Now
Elephant Refuge Project
Book Now
Elephant Refuge Project
Book Now
Elephant Refuge Project
Book Now
Elephant Refuge Project
Book Now
Elephant Refuge Project
Book Now
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ELEPHANT REFUGE PROJECT

Join this elephant tour near Chiang Mai for an unforgettable experience with elephants living in sanctuary amid stunning natural surroundings.  This family run project is a great example of elephants experiencing happier, healthier lives thanks to the evolution of elephant tourism, supported by growing numbers of people choosing to see elephants living a more natural existence.

When you visit this project, you will encounter a herd of elephants doing what comes naturally  — walking in the forest, foraging, playing in the mud and river, and socializing — a rewarding experience that takes into account the well-being of elephants. Between activities, a delicious vegetarian buffet lunch is served overlooking the valley with a panorama that takes in a stream, farmland, and surrounding jungle. There are currently four elephants at this project – all females retired from elephant riding. They have formed strong friendships thanks to being able to relax and socialize as a herd. Guests to this sanctuary will spend time with a happy herd of elephants who are relishing their life free of the saddle.

Observe relaxed elephants playing together and expressing their natural instincts as social animals

Elephant_Refuge_Project_elephant_sanctuary

Walk with Elephants

Feed_Elephants

Feed Elephants

Observe Elephants

Elephant_Bathing

Elephant Bathing

Activities

  • Dress in traditional Karen clothing
  • Prepare food for the elephants & feed them
  • Walk in nature along paths through tall grass with the elephants
  • Freshly prepared vegetarian buffet lunch
  • Make rice, tamarind & banana balls for the elephants
  • Watch the elephants take a mud bath
  • Bathe the elephants in the river

Tour Details

Number of Guests: 12
Number of Elephants: 4
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Easy
Age Suitability: Adults & Children 7+

What's Included

  • Transportation from Chiang Mai city to and from project
  • Freshly prepared vegetarian buffet lunch
  • Admission fee
  • Qualified English speaking tour guide

Tour Price

Adults & Children 12+: 2,500 Thai Baht
Children Aged 7-12: 1,250 Thai Baht

Adults & Children 7+

Easy

Lunch_Provided

Buffet Lunch

Transportation

Transportation

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Ethical Elephant Tours
This is a small ‘Saddle Off’ project with a limited number of guests. Our model is based on ensuring the well-being of the elephants, which means no riding or other unnatural activities.

About Your Trip

Start: 8:00am – 8:30am pick up from your Chiang Mai city hotel, or from our office at 7:45am. If staying out of town (outside the middle ring-road) additional charges apply. Please advise on your reservation form.
Travel Time: Around 90 minutes (a safety video and elephant documentary will be shown en route to the project).
Travel Details: Transfer from an air-con minivan to a 4WD pickup for the last 5-10 minutes of your journey to the project.
Return: Arrive back in Chiang Mai city 4:00pm – 4.30pm.
Baggage Allowance: One small day pack per person.
What to Bring: Hat, sunscreen, sandals/flip flops, walking shoes, change of clothing (as you may get muddy or wet), towel, camera, insect repellent, refillable water bottle.
Facilities: lunch area, bathrooms, open air showers, water dispensers.
Items Provided: Traditional Karen shirts, hats, towels, boots, ponchos & umbrellas in the rainy season.
Age Suitability: Adults and children over 7 – guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Fitness Level: Easy – walk through orchards, grassy fields, forested areas, and by a picturesque stream with the elephants.
Topography: Forest, hills, grassy fields, orchards and river.
Location: Mae Wang, South of Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
Nearest Airport: Chiang Mai (CNX) – we recommend you stay in Chiang Mai city the night before your visit. Please note that we cannot collect you from Chiang Mai Airport – only from your Chiang Mai city hotel / guesthouse.
Booking Details: Bookings close at 5pm (GMT+7) on the day before the date of your tour if made in person at our office or 24 hours in advance if booking online. A 30% non-refundable deposit is required to secure your booking. The balance should be paid at our Chiang Mai office by 8pm on the day before your tour.

Elephant Refuge Owner

Project Background

The owner of this project, Pin, became involved in elephant tourism almost 20 years ago, starting with one elephant. When Pin heard about the ‘Saddle Off’ initiative a couple of years ago she decided to drop elephant riding and embrace this alternative approach based on kindness. Since then, the elephants at the project have relaxed into their new life and are enjoying being able to socialize freely and forage in nature. The herd is led by the matriarch, Ta Be, born in 1962. The rest of the herd is made up of Faa Sai, who was born in 2010, her sister Jenny, born in 2006 and Faa Sai’s best friend, Kham Moon, born in 1991. Faa Sai and Kham Moon love to play in the mud together. Bananas and grass are grown at the project and additional food is bought from local farmers to whom they supply elephant dung to be used as organic fertilizer. Pin is supported by her family in the running of the project, including her daughter, Jang, and her sister, Tham, who cooks delicious Thai food for the guests.

Eco-Friendly

How Elephant Refuge Project is Eco Friendly & Sustainable

  • Family grows food for the elephants including tall grass and bananas as well as manage a longan (lam yai) and tamarind orchard.
  • They buy sugarcane, bananas, pumpkins, and rice husks from village farmers, which helps support the local community as well as vegetables and fruit for the guests.
  • Built an efficient irrigation system to keep the grassy pastures and gardens green throughout the year. The source of the stream that flows through the project is Doi Inthanon so it contains clean mountain water.
  • Elephant dung is used to fertilize the trees and gardens at the project and supplied to local farmers.
  • Rubbish is recycled and the project kept very clean.
  • Leftover food is given to the mahouts or animals – nothing is wasted.
  • Structures such as the lunch area, showers, and bridge were built using natural materials, including bamboo and reclaimed wood.
  • Efforts are made to reduce plastic use by providing guests with only one plastic bottle (higher quality water bottles are available for purchase), which can be refilled at two water dispensers, one with ice & one without.
  • This project uses only organic fertilizers and pesticides and the soap / shampoo provided are made from natural ingredients.

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