Karen Elephant Retreat
Karen Elephant Retreat
Karen Elephant Retreat
Karen Elephant Retreat
Karen Elephant Retreat
Karen Elephant Retreat


Join this elephant elephant tour near Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand for an unforgettable experience  with elephants. The project is run by a Karen family who has lived and worked with elephants for two generations. They are happy to see their elephants freed from riding, with time to forage, socialize, and play.

Karen Elephant Retreat is home to a small herd of elephants, including a mother elephant and her young. Since their retirement from riding, the elephants are enjoying being able to interact as a herd, and are healthier and more relaxed. 

As part of a small group, accompanied by a tour guide, enjoy elephant-friendly activities. Dress in traditional Karen clothing and feed the elephants rice-tamarind balls that you have prepared for them and then take a walk with the elephants and watch them play in the mud pit. In between activities, a delicious vegetarian buffet lunch will be served overlooking the the mango orchard and mountains in the distance.


Spend time with a small herd of elephants including a mother and her young with stunning mountain views

elephants foraging thailand

Walk with Elephants


Feed Elephants

Observe Elephants


Elephant Bathing


  • Dress in traditional Karen clothing
  • Feed the elephants fruit and vegetables
  • Take a walk with the elephants and watch them forage
  • Enjoy a vegetarian buffet lunch with great views of the mountains
  • Help give the elephants a mud bath
  • Prepare rice-tamarind balls and feed the elephants

Tour Details

Number of Guests: 12
Number of Elephants: 5
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Moderate
Age Suitability: All Ages

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 2-12: 1,250 Thai Baht

Family Friendly-All Ages



Buffet Lunch



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 video & talk en route to 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), towel, camera & insect repellent.
Operational Months: All year round.
Age Suitability: All ages – guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Fitness Level: Moderate – walk down the hillside, past the orchard to the bamboo grove and then back up to the project along a paved path.
Topography: Hills, orchards, bamboo grove
Location: Mae Taeng, 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 or 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.

Owner of Karen Elephant Retreat ethical elephant tour Chiang Mai Thailand

Project Background

Karen Elephant Retreat is owned by Khun Dee, whose family has been involved with elephants for two generations. The family is Karen, an ethnic group found throughout Southeast Asia, with a long tradition of working with elephants. By adopting the ‘Saddle Off’ model, the owner feels that he can finally do what is best for the elephants. Khun Dee has witnessed the transition from working with elephants in the dangerous logging industry during his father’s life, followed by elephant tourism based on riding and shows, and now to a model that allows visitors to observe elephants living a more dignified, natural life. The project is quite new and they are currently planting elephant food on their land to help sustain the needs of their elephants. They buy much of the food for the elephants from local farmers and the elephants can also forage on natural vegetation from the surrounding forest, including medicinal plants that help resolve digestive problems common in elephants. Khun Dee has acquired a lot of knowledge about elephants and their ways during his life and is dedicated to their well-being.

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