One of the things I was most looking forward to about Thailand was seeing some elephants. I did a lot of research into the different places that keep elephants as being an animal lover, it had to be somewhere that really cared for the animals and didn't treat them as tourist entertainment, which unfortunately a lot of places do. I found Elephant Nature Park! The reviews were really positive and my friend Trina has visited and confirmed to me how awesome it was.
We set off into the jungle, North of Chiang Mai at 8am and arrived at the sanctuary around 9am. First up was the chance to feed the elephants. All we had to do was hold the food out, the trunks do the rest. They were so gentle at taking food from our hands. Such gentle giants.
All the elephants at ENP are Asian elephants which are smaller than their African cousins. Still huge though! We then had a walk around the park learning about some of the elephants and their heartbreaking back stories of abuse suffered at circuses and logging. Some were unfortunately mentally scared and still can't be around people. They are happy now though and on a path to full recovery :)
After a delicious lunch with every type of noodle in the world, it was time to bath the elephants in the river. On the way down we had to quickly dodge an elephant who wasn't best pleased about people walking through his field. After what they've gone through, I don't blame him.
It was such an incredible experience to be right next to these beautiful creatures throwing water on them whilst they were eating lunch. They probably thought we were nuisances but we loved it. The elephants then went for a swim on their own which was amazing to watch. Such big creatures suddenly weightless in the water and enjoying themselves.
It really was an amazing day and I learnt so much. If you ever visit an elephant sanctuary, please don't ride them. It does permanent damage. How would you feel with a bench strapped to your back every day?
My favourite day so far!!
After we got back to the hotel, we freshened up and headed out to the town with a couple that we met on the elephant trip, Sarah and Cal from Sunderland who were heading back to the UK after 10 months in aus and we got lots of advice off them.
Another lovely day in Chiang Mai.