Support the Herd at Karen Elephant Habitat
The Covid-19 coronavirus has caused severe challenges around the world and has placed extreme limitations on travel. As a result, Karen Elephant Habitat has been closed since March 2019. We are doing the best that we can to care for the elephants, but need your support. We understand that this is a difficult time for many people around the world and offer our heartfelt sympathy. If you are in a position to help buy food for our elephants, any gift would be greatly appreciated.
Update on Herd from Karen Elephant Habitat
The herd from Karen Elephant Habitat including baby Lanna and her mother, Mae Kaew returned to live near the remote Karen village of Baan Huay Bong in Mae Chaem in Northern Thailand in April 2019. Here the elephants have joined with other elephants and live in a larger herd where they have the chance to interact, forage in the forest and swim in the river.
Tragically, on 11 October 2021, Mae Kaew, Lanna’s mother passed away quite suddenly, leaving Lanna and her sister, Lychee, without a mother. The owner decided to move Lanna and her sister away from the previous village where they were staying to another village several kilometers away. Lek has offered all kinds of assistance to the owner, wanting to help ensure the life of these young elephants. We pray that these elephants will be ok.
Karen Elephant Habitat - Closed Since March 2020
Spend time in a remote jungle location where you can observe elephants foraging and playing in the cascading stream
This ethical elephant tour south of Chiang Mai is situated in a remote forested region accessible by 4WD and offers an eco-friendly experience with elephants in a small group, accompanied by a qualified tour guide. The project is run by Karen people, renowned for their centuries-old tradition of living and working with elephants. In the past, the elephants used to work giving rides and performing in shows, but are now appreciating their new life, spending much of the day eating, playing in the mud together, and bathing in the stream.
After dressing in traditional Karen clothing, get to know the elephants while feeding them seasonal fruit and vegetables, followed by an uphill walk together along mountainside jungle trails. A highlight of this tour is quietly observing the elephants foraging on the native plants in their jungle habitat. When you return from your trek, a delicious vegetarian buffet lunch made using organic vegetables grown on site will be waiting for you; served overlooking the valley and the cascading stream below. Afterwards, guests take a short stroll to a cascading stream where you can bathe the elephants and later watch them take a mud bath.
The program for this elephant tour is designed to create a non-stressful environment for the elephants with an emphasis on letting them have time to forage, interact, and relax while guests have an experience they will never forget.
Walk with Elephants
Number of Guests: 12
Number of Elephants: 4
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Moderate
Age Suitability: Adults & Children 7+
Adults & Children 12+: 2,500 Thai Baht
Children Aged 7-12: 1,250 Thai Baht
Adults & Children 7+
About Your Trip
Start: 8:00am – 8:45am minivan 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 (educational video about Asian elephants / safety video en route to project).
Travel Details: Transfer from an air-con minivan to a 4WD pickup for the last 10-15 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. 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 in mountainous jungle terrain, with muddy slopes in the rainy season for about 1.5-2 hours.
Topography: Jungle, mountains, river & 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.
When the owner, Toey, heard about the ‘Saddle Off’ program he became interested and decided to join in October 2017 to provide a better life for his elephants. Toey grew up around elephants and understands their nature well. The female elephants at this project are enjoying their new lives with time to forage in the jungle and play in the mud pit and bathe in the stream. In November 2019, Mae Kaew gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, named Lanna. Toey is happy to see the elephants under his care living in their jungle home - freed from riding and shows. Since their retirement, the elephants now have time to interact freely with each other, recover their natural instincts and have developed close bonds. They are more relaxed, have gained weight, and the condition of their skin has noticeably improved. Toey has been inspired by the ecotourism movement with travellers choosing to observe elephants in their jungle habitat. The Karen family farms pumpkins, elephant grass, and bananas, in addition to purchasing corn stalks and other food from local farmers to make sure that the elephants are well provided for.