Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the ethical elephant tours offered by the Saddle Off projects that we support, located near Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. If you have a question that is not covered here please email us at:

  • The travel time to the projects that are situated to the north and south of Chiang Mai city is about 1.5 hours.
  • Most of the Saddle Off projects located around Chiang Mai are home to between 2 – 3 elephants. Our volunteer project, Journey to Freedom is home to 5 elephants.
  • The group size for single day tours at our Saddle Off projects is limited to between 6-9 guests per day, depending on the number of elephants at each project. We aim for there to be no more than 3-4 people per elephant. At Journey to Freedom where there are more elephants, there may be 15 volunteers per week.

  • We need a minimum of 4 people to be booked in order to operate each of the single days tours around Chiang Mai, with the exception of Majestic Elephant Project, Care for Elephants and Elephant Highlands, which will open with 2 guests only. For our volunteer project, Journey to Freedom, we need at least 3-4 volunteers in order to open the 1 week program.

  • Yes, as long as you are staying relatively close to Chiang Mai city we will pick you up in an air-con minivan from your hotel or guesthouse and transport you back there at the end of your tour. If you are staying out of town (outside the middle ring-road) additional charges may apply. Please advise us on your reservation form.  For volunteer projects, please see details specific to your project.
  • The projects with day tours that are suitable for families with children under the age of 12 are Sunshine for Elephants, Karen Elephant Home and Karen Elephant Serenity.
  • Adults and children aged 12 years and older pay full price. Children aged 2-11 years old are charged at half price. Infants under the age of 2 are free for projects that are suitable for all ages, provided that they do not occupy a seat in the minivan. This is covered under the Booking Policy.
  • No, we ask that you pay the balance by cash in Thai baht or by credit card (+3%) at our office in Chiang Mai by 5pm on the day before the date of your tour. If it is not possible to come to our office you can also pay the balance in cash to the tour guide when they collect you from your hotel on the day of your tour. If you are volunteering at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary you can pay the balance in US dollars on arrival at the project.
  • Generally, singe day Saddle Off projects allow guests to bring one day pack, and volunteer projects allow one standard check-in sized backpack / suitcase  & one day pack per person. Please see individual project descriptions for further details. 
  • All of our ethical elephant tours will still go ahead if it is raining. Elephants love the rain and ponchos, umbrellas and rubber boots will be provided in the event that it is raining on the day of your tour.
  • All projects provide freshly prepared vegetarian buffet style food. If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us when making your booking.
  • The Saddle Off project tours are small independent operations working in cooperation with Asian Elephant Projects which is run by the team from Save Elephant Foundation & Elephant Nature Park. At the projects there are usually between 2-5 elephants and most allow only single day visits, with a few offering one week volunteering. At Elephant Nature Park there are over 100 rescued elephants living in different herds, including several elephants who were born at the Park. ENP offers day visits, overnight stays and one week volunteering, and is often booked out in advance.
  • All visitors and volunteers are covered by our accident insurance, however we recommend that you have individual travel insurance. Guests volunteering at projects for a week or more are required to have travel insurance.
  • We suggest that you consult your doctor or a travel vaccination centre prior to travel for advice.
  • Yes, provided there is availability. A fee will be incurred if you change your booking less than four days before the start date of your tour.
  • Yes it is possible to change your visit to a different project providing you contact us at least 4 days before the date of your tour and there are spaces available at the ethical elephant project that you would like to change to and visit on that day.
  • You can cancel your booking to one of our ethical elephant tours but the 30% deposit paid is non-refundable. Please see our Terms and Conditions. This is covered under the Booking Policy.
  • Unfortunately, if you leave a project early you are not entitled to a partial refund for unused time as we have already committed to the allocation of resources for your stay.
  • The use of any details you provide us are for contact or booking purposes only. We will never sell or share your personal information with a third party unless required by law.
  • The use of drones at projects is strictly prohibited. It is illegal and scares the elephants.
Sunshine for Elephants Sanctuary
Majestic Elephant Project Ethical Elephant Tour
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