Enjoy an intimate experience with Thai elephants at this elephant sanctuary, located in a beautiful jungle setting, 1.5 hours from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The project was established in August 2018 and is operated by a Karen family who welcomed the transition to our ‘Saddle Off’ model to provide a better life for their elephants.
The project is home to two beautiful female elephants who were previously employed to do bareback riding. The Karen family has cared for and worked with elephants for generations and since returning their elephants to their jungle home have observed a marked improvement in their overall health and mood.
Guests to Karen Elephant Oasis will be treated to an intimate experience with elephants in spectacular surroundings that include a beautiful stream and jungle that forms an impressive canopy over the landscape. As part of a small group, visitors become acquainted with the elephants while hand feeding them bananas and sugarcane. An experienced English speaking tour guide will be on hand to provide you with interesting facts about the elephants and the plight of this endangered keystone species. A highlight of this tour is taking a hike with the elephants along hilly jungle trails, stopping to observe the elephants in their natural habitat – foraging on carefully selected native plants and deftly navigating the slopes.
After your hike, a vegetarian buffet lunch is served overlooking the river, valley, and jungle hills. Next, guests learn to make healthy treats for the elephants using traditional Karen methods, which are later fed to the appreciative elephants. Other activities include a mud bath which protects the elephant’s skin and bathing the elephants in a beautiful cascading stream.
By choosing Karen Elephant Oasis, you are helping to make it possible for a Karen family to provide a non-stressful, healthy, caring environment for their elephants where they are free to interact, forage in their natural habitat, and play. The family values their Karen heritage and traditions and takes very good care of their guests as well as their elephants
Experience a close encounter with elephants under the jungle canopy and observe them foraging in their natural habitat
Walk with Elephants
Guest Limit: 8
Number of Elephants: 2
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Challenging
Age Suitability: Adults & Children 12+
Adults & Children 12+: 2,500 Thai Baht
Adults & Children 12+
About Your Trip
Start: 8:00am – 8:30am 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 talk en route to 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.
Operational Months: All year round.
Age Suitability: Adults and children over 12 years old – guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Fitness Level: Challenging – walk through the jungle for about 1 1/2 hours along mountain paths with some steep sections which can be muddy & slippery in the rainy season.
Topography: Jungle, hills, river & valley.
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.
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.
Project owner, Khun Tee, grew up around elephants in the Karen tradition and learned a lot about elephants from family members. His grandfather worked with elephants in the logging industry, which came to an abrupt end with the 1989 ban and his father carried on the tradition of working with elephants in the tourism industry. After leaving home to study in the city and work, Tee spent a few years working at Elephant Highlands where he learned to cook. When Tee heard of the ‘Saddle Off’ program, he decided to stop renting his elephants and bring them home to live close to their natural habitat and be visited by guests who respected them. The project spans 20 acres and is a family run affair with traditional Karen values. Khun Tee says that the two female elephants at the project – Mae Bubae, born 1988 and Mae Por, born 1998 – have greatly benefited from being able to live a more natural life in their jungle home. They are now more relaxed and their overall physical health has also improved. Mae Bubae likes her personal space when it comes to people, however, Mae Por doesn’t mind being touched lovingly. Khun Tee prefers people to respect the space of the elephants and not crowd around them to avoid causing them undue stress. Food for the elephants is bought from local farmers and the family grows an abundance of tall grass on their land to supplement their diet.