Join this ethical 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 Hope for Elephants, you will encounter a herd of elephants doing what comes naturally — walking in the forest and grassland, 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. The elephants at this project are all females retired from elephant riding and performing. 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.
This project was renamed from Elephant Refuge Project to its original name, Hope for Elephants, to more clearly represent the intention of the project. The owner, Pin, has been involved in elephant tourism for over 20 years, and in the past, her elephants used to do riding and performances in trekking camps. Several years ago, she decided to change from the old way of doing things to give hope to her elephants and allow them to live better life where they are well cared for. In recognition of this transformation, supported by a growing number of people concerned with animal welfare, the elephants at Hope for Elephants spend their days foraging in the grassy fields and forest, playing in the mud and the stream, and interacting with each other in nature.
Observe a relaxed herd of elephants interacting, playing together and expressing their natural instincts as social animals
Walk with Elephants
Number of Guests: 10-12
Number of Elephants: 4
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Easy
Age Suitability: Adults & Children 2+
* Minimum of 4 people required for this tour to proceed
Adults & Children 12 +: 2,500 Thai Baht
Children Aged 2-11 years old: 1,250 Thai Baht
Adults & Children 2+
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 talk en route to the project).
Travel Details: Transfer from an air-con minivan to a 4WD pickup for the last 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 dispenser.
Items Provided: Traditional Karen shirts, hats, towels, boots, ponchos & umbrellas in the rainy season.
Age Suitability: Adults and children over 2 – 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 4pm (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 5pm on the day before your tour or by cash to the tour guide when they collect you from your hotel.
Hope for Elephants Reviews
Read reviews left by visitors to Hope for Elephants on Tripadvisor
Read reviews left by visitors to Hope for Elephants on Facebook
Thank You for Supporting the Herd at Hope for Elephants
The Covid-19 crisis caused severe challenges around the world and placed extreme limitations on travel. As a result, Hope for Elephants closed in March 2020 and only reopened to visitors again in early 2022. Thank you to Save Elephant Foundation and Gentle Giants for their ongoing support of the elephants at Hope for Elephants during the Covid crisis and beyond.
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. There are 4 female elephants at this project, Ta Bae, Kham Moon, Jenny and Fah Sai, who used to do elephant riding and performing. 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.