Thailand, Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park

04/10/16

I booked this online and cost a hefty 2500B! I had received recommendations from friends to go to this specific park as it was not cruel to the elephants.

I was picked up at 8am and on the journey in we watched a video, one was how we were to behave at the park with none other than Lou from Neighbours presenting, and then another video about the park and the work they do. It’s shocking to see the torture the elephants go through so they can be used by humans, and how the humans control them with weapons so they can perform tricks and conduct rides.

On the way to the park was passed many other elephant camps where they had chains on, were performing tricks and carrying 3 tons of weight on their back. It’s so heartbreaking and I’m glad to have had the knowledge beforehand not to take part in these activites.
At this park they have saved some tortured elephants and are giving them a new lease of life. Most, if not all, have been through horrendous ordeals at the hands of humans, and are injured, blind and hateful towards people. There are some which you can get close to and touch and feed but most you cannot go near as they are aggressive.

We spent a lovely amount of time elephant watching and being shown the area where they sleep and roam. My favourite part was watching them bathe in the river. One of the elephants had trodden on a land mine so she was not enjoying walking, but in the river she was rolling around, floating down the river with feet up in the air. It was so wonderful seeing her enjoying herself.

Lunch was a buffet, and was only vegan which was quite nice. Afterwards we went to wash an elephant, or realistically splash river water while she ate as she certainly wasn’t getting any cleaner.

I totally recommend visiting this park, it was really incredible getting up close and personal with them. My main issue is that in order for this park to rescue the elephants, they have to pay a significant amount of money in the range of £15,000. I can’t help but think they will never solve the issue of the elephant abuse as the locals will always be happy to torture the elephant so it can perform tricks or complete rides which is big money, or have rescuers buy them for a lot of money. The cycle could continue forever.

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