Arriving in Mae Taeng about an hour and a half from Chiang Mai city, your group will transfer to a 4WD and continue on to the project to meet the elephants, accompanied by a qualified tour guide. After changing into traditional Lanna clothing, get acquainted with the elephants while feeding them fruit and vegetables, and then join them on a one hour trek through the forested mountain trails, feeding them along the way. The pace is relaxed, as the elephants will occasionally stop to forage on tree bark and other native foliage as they amble along. In the rainy season, the jungle paths may become too muddy and slippery, so instead, the walk will follow nearby grassy trails.
Upon returning from your walk, a vegetarian buffet lunch will be laid out for the group, after which you will be shown how to make healthy snacks consisting of a medicinal vine, sticky rice, tamarind, and salt to be set aside for later. Next, it’s time for the elephant’s spa treatment, where they will enjoy being scrubbed with a traditional Northern Thai vine that has been specially prepared. The vine helps to keep their skin healthy and protect it from insects. The tour ends with one more feeding session, and when the last of the tamarind-rice balls disappear into the appreciative elephant’s giant maws, it’s time to say goodbye and head back to Chiang Mai.
By joining this project you are helping to support ethical elephant tourism and provide a better life for elephants. The activities offered are sympathetic to natural elephant behavior, giving them the freedom to socialize and forage, while at the same time offering guests a meaningful and educational encounter with these remarkable animals.
Give the elephants a spa bath in a fresh water pond by scrubbing them with a specially prepared medicinal jungle vine
Walk with Elephants
Number of Guests: 12
Number of Elephants: 3
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Moderate
Age Suitability: Adults & Children 7+
Adults & Children 12+: 2,500 Thai Baht
Children Aged 7-12: 1,250 Thai Baht
Adults & Children 7+
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 en route to project).
Additional Details: Transfer from air-con minivan to 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, 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 7 – guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Fitness Level: Moderate – walking along forest trails with some steep sections, including steps.
Topography: Forest, grassland, mountains & pond.
Location: Mae Taeng, North 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 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 must be paid at our office in Chiang Mai no later than 5pm on the day before your tour.
The owner of this project, Tak, grew up around elephants on the family property. His parents owned elephants and he was endlessly fascinated by watching them. He felt sad when he saw elephants performing in circuses and was uncomfortable with how unnatural it was for elephants to be performing tricks for people’s amusement. Tak was drawn to the ‘Saddle Off’ concept when he heard about it and Elephant Wellness was opened in December 2017 on his ancestral land. There are currently three elephants at the project enjoying their retirement from logging and elephant riding and Tak enjoys seeing their spirits awaken in their newfound freedom. At the project, they grow medicinal plants to treat the elephants to ensure a healthy digestive system and to protect their skin from insects. To provide for the elephants they also grow grass and bananas on their land using the elephant dung as fertilizer and buy fruit and vegetables from neighboring farmers. The elephants here have plenty of time to forage in the jungle, eating native bamboo, leaves, tree bark, and wild root vegetables.