This elephant sanctuary, located by the Mae Taeng River near Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand, is one of the first projects developed that has seen the traditional activities of elephant camps transformed under our ‘Saddle Off!’ model. Seeking an alternative to offering elephant riding and performances, the owner was happy to change to a mutually beneficial program where the elephants have the freedom to socialize and walk through the jungle foraging on native plants, while a small group of guests experiences a meaningful, intimate encounter with these majestic animals.
This project currently provides a restful home to two elephants, both over 60 years old, now enjoying their retirement from a hard life working in the logging industry and providing rides to tourists. The will of the elephants here is respected and they are not coerced to do things that they don’t want to, for example, bathe in the river when the water is cold. Since joining the project, the elephants have gained weight, and understandably, their mood has greatly improved. The elephants will be happy to see you, since for much of the day you will be offering them food, and above all else, elephants love to eat!
Get acquainted with the elephants in the morning while feeding them watermelon and pumpkin and learn to make medicinal food balls for them, including a native vine and a root vegetable known to aid digestion and improve the condition of their skin. Next, join the elephants on a challenging hike that crosses the river, then follows scenic mountain jungle trails; feeding the elephants bananas along the way. Having ascended the hill, stop for a vegetarian buffet lunch in the forest while the elephants graze close by. After lunch, walk downhill to the river to bathe the elephants, weather permitting, before being transferred by minivan to the starting point for your whitewater rafting adventure, which stops at Elephant Nature Park. Here, you can observe the resident herds socializing in the late afternoon. On rare occasions, rafting can become impractical due to weather conditions, in which case other activities will be extended.
Pamper a Pachyderm is a great example of how progressive ecotourism is catching on. It is hoped that this trend towards empathic, ethical elephant tourism will continue to evolve and grow throughout Asia so that more elephants can be freed from a life of toil and enjoy a more natural existence.
Experience a touching encounter with elderly elephants in beautiful surroundings, and later, whitewater raft your way to Elephant Nature Park to meet the herds
Walk with Elephants
Feed the Elephants
Observe the Elephants
Visit Elephant Nature Park
Number of Guests: 8
Number of Elephants: 2
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Challenging
Age Suitability: Adults & Children 12+
Adults & Children 12+: 6,000 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).
Return: Arrive back in Chiang Mai city 5:00pm – 5.30pm.
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.
Operational Months: All year round.
Age Suitability: Adults & children over 12 – guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Fitness Level: Challenging – capable of walking for an hour or more across a river & on hilly terrain with steep sections, which can become muddy in the rainy season, as well as whitewater rafting depending on conditions.
Topography: Valley, hills, forest & river.
Extra Activities: Whitewater rafting / visit to Elephant Nature Park.
Location: Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
Nearest Airport: Chiang Mai (CNX) – we recommend that 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 can be paid at our Chiang Mai office or at Elephant Nature Park on the day of your tour.
When the owner of this project, Muoy Khamwichia, became disenchanted with the way her elephant camp operated, which included elephant riding and performances, she reached out to her neighbor, Lek Chailert, to learn more about the ways of Elephant Nature Park. Mouy was inspired by the freedom that the elephants at the Park enjoy and the fact that enthusiastic visitors were coming daily to see elephants living in herds, free to roam and socialize. Pamper a Pachyderm was established in January 2014, making it the first camp to transition to the ‘Saddle Off’ model. The project now provides a home to two elderly elephants, Sa Ard (born 1958) and Happy (born 1942) - both females rescued from elephant riding in Pattaya. Muoy is sensitive to the health and mood of the two old lady elephants in her care and is dedicated to their well-being.