Karen Elephant Experience
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Karen Elephant Experience
Book Now
Karen Elephant Experience
Book Now
Karen Elephant Experience
Book Now
Karen Elephant Experience
Book Now
Karen Elephant Experience
Book Now
Karen Elephant Experience
Book Now
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KAREN ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE

This elephant sanctuary is situated deep in the jungle and offers some of the most picturesque scenery found in Northern Thailand. It is home to a small herd of happy elephants now retired from elephant riding thanks to our ‘Saddle Off’ model. The Karen at this project have been able to bring their elephants back home where they can be properly cared for and at the same time generate an income through ethical elephant tourism. Here, the elephants have time to interact with each other, wander in the jungle, and forage.

As part of a small group accompanied by an experienced tour guide, change into traditional Karen clothing and get to know the elephants while feeding them fruit and vegetables. Once the baskets are empty, join the elephants for a trek through the jungle, watching them forage on native plants along the way.

Guests will enjoy a delicious vegetarian buffet lunch overlooking the valley and forested hills, followed by a downhill walk to watch the elephants play in a large mud pool. This tour includes a visit to a stunning stream with a tiered waterfall shaded by the jungle canopy, where visitors can bathe the elephants. On the way back, the elephants like to give themselves a dust bath and rub their bodies up against the trees.

After the 1989 ban on logging in Thailand, the Karen people needed to find an alternative form of employment for their elephants which would provide the means to support their families and meet the high costs of caring for an elephant. Many Karen saw no other option but to lease their elephants to camps that included riding, shows, and often poor living conditions, resulting in a decline in the elephant’s health. Since their retirement from riding, the Karen here have watched their elephants gain weight and become more relaxed. The Karen who are known for their long tradition of living and working with elephants are embracing the chance to provide a better life for the elephants.

Visit elephants retired from riding and shows in the remote mountainous jungles of Northern Thailand where they are now enjoying the respect and freedom they deserve

elephant bathe in the jungle at elephant sanctuary chiang mai

Walk with Elephants

Feed_Elephants

Feed Elephants

Observing Elephants

Observe Elephants

Elephant_Bathing

Elephant Bathing

Activities

  • Get to know the elephants while feeding them
  • Dress in traditional Karen clothing
  • Walk with the elephants through beautiful jungle mountain trails
  • Enjoy a vegetarian buffet lunch overlooking scenic mountain views
  • Watch the elephants take a mud bath
  • Walk down the hillside to visit a scenic waterfall
  • Bathe the elephants in the cascading stream

Tour Details

Number of Guests: 12
Number of Elephants: 4
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Moderate
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+

Moderate

Lunch_Provided

Buffet Lunch

Transportation

Transportation

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About Your Trip

Start: 8:00 am – 8:30 am minivan pick up from your Chiang Mai city hotel or from our office at 7:45 am.
Travel Time: Around 90 minutes (safety video en route to the project).
Travel Details: Transfer from a minivan to a 4WD vehicle for the last 10 minutes of your journey to the project.
Return: Arrive back in Chiang Mai city 4:00 pm – 4.30 pm.
Facilities: Lunch area overlooking the valley, lookout, bathrooms, showers & gift shop, lookout.
Items Provided: Karen shirts, wide brim hats, boots & ponchos in the rainy season, towels, soap & shampoo.
Baggage Allowance: One small day pack per person.
What to Bring: Hat, sunscreen, sandals/flip flops, change of clothing (as you may get muddy or wet), towel, walking shoes, camera & insect repellent. This project can be very muddy so a change of clothing and footwear is essential.
Operational Months: All year round.
Age Suitability: Adults & children over 7 (guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult).
Fitness Level: Moderate – walking on hillside jungle trails in potentially muddy conditions.
Topography: Jungle, mountains, stream & tiered waterfall.
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.

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.

Karen Elephant Experience Owners

Project Background

This project is owned by Sam and Boon Som, whose Karen families have a long history of working with and caring for elephants. In the past it was a struggle to earn a living to provide for the elephants and their family. This often meant leasing their elephants to trekking camps that provided elephant riding and sometimes circus shows. The condition of the elephants deteriorated after being away for several months. When the family heard about our Saddle off model of providing a natural home for elephants by offering ethical elephant tours they realized this was an opportunity to bring their elephants back home to their village. Since opening Karen Elephant Experience in 2015 the Karen family has been encouraged by how happy people are seeing elephants living in their jungle home with the freedom to socialize, forage, and roam. As a result, the elephants have gained weight, their mood has improved, and their skin has taken on a healthy appearance. To provide for the elephants, they grow grass and buy fruit and vegetables from nearby farmers, which also helps to support the local community.

Eco-Friendly

How Karen Elephant Experience is Eco-Friendly & Sustainable

  • At this project grass, bananas and sugarcane are grown for the elephants.
  • They support local farmers by buying extra grass, bananas and corn for the elephants.
  • A variety of organic vegetables & herbs are grown including eggplant, beans, lemongrass, ginger & coffee.
  • All crops are grown organically – no chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used.
  • Trees in the jungle have blessed Buddhist sashes tied around them to protect them from being cut down.
  • Elephant dung is composted and used to fertilize the crops and gardens.
  • Rubbish is recycled, left over food given to the staff, & food scraps are given to the local villagers for their chickens & pigs.
  • Project structures incorporate natural materials including bamboo, wood, and leaf roofing.

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