Elephant cools of by a waterfall in Northern Thailand

KAREN ELEPHANT RETIREMENT

Join a small group accompanied by an English speaking tour guide and experience the wonder of elephants in a beautiful natural setting, south of Chiang Mai city. The project is run by a Karen family who has lived and worked with elephants for generations and are now offering ethical elephant tours under our ‘Saddle Off’ program. The three elephants here are now enjoying a better life, freed from elephant riding or performing in shows, with time to forage, roam, and interact with each other.

Enjoy the rare opportunity of spending time with elephants in nature – feed them fruit and pumpkin, walk with the elephants in the forested hills while handing them bananas, and stop at a hut to watch them forage on wild vegetation. After a vegetarian buffet lunch,  prepare healthy treats for the elephants made from rice husks, tamarind, bananas, and salt. Afterwards, watch the elephants play together in the mud and cool off in a beautiful waterfall shaded by the forest canopy (December – May), or in a nearby stream during the rainy season.

The family grows rice in the rainy season and has a small banana plantation to provide food for the elephants, which is supplemented by buying food from village farmers, helping to support the local community. 

Spend time with elephants as part of a small group in a beautiful natural setting, including a cascading stream under the jungle canopy

Karen Elephant Retirement by Elephant Nature Park

Walk with Elephants

Feed_Elephants

Feed Elephants

Observe Elephants

Elephant_Bathing

Elephant Bathing

Activities

  • Dress in traditional Karen clothing
  • Feed the elephants bananas, corn, and sugar cane
  • Walk with the elephant along hillside jungle trails
  • Enjoy a vegetarian buffet lunch
  • Prepare healthy treats for the elephants
  • Watch the elephants play in the mud
  • Bathe the elephants by a waterfall or in the stream
  • Offer the healthy treats you prepared earlier to the elephants

Tour Details

Number of Guests: 12
Number of Elephants: 3
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Moderate
Age Suitability: Adults & Children 7+

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 7-12: 1,250 Thai Baht

Adults & Children 7+

Moderate

Moderate

Lunch_Provided

Buffet Lunch

Transportation

Transportation

About Your Trip

Start: 8:00am – 8:30am 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 1 hour 45 minutes (educational video about Asian elephants / safety video en route to project).
Travel Details: Transfer from an air-con minivan to a 4WD vehicle 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 for about an hour, with some steep sections.
Topography: Grassland, hills, forest & cascading stream.
Location: Mae Wang, South 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 / 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.

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 at karen elephant retirement chiang mai

Project Background

The owner of this project, Gae, is from a Karen family whose involvement with elephants spans several generations. The adult elephants owned by the family used to work in elephant riding. Gae witnessed how much stress this placed them under and the adverse effect it had on their physical and mental health. Since transitioning to our ‘Saddle Off’ model in late 2017, she has witnessed a rejuvenation in the spirit of the elephants and an improvement in their overall health. At this project there are three elephants, including a mother elephant, Mae Keow, and her son, Jack, born in 2013. On their land, the family grows rice, elephant grass, and strawberries. They also buy fruit and vegetables from local farmers for the elephants and give them plenty of time to forage in the nearby jungle where they have access to wild bamboo as well as native plants that are important for their health. Gae hopes that growing numbers of people will visit her project to help secure a better life for her elephants.

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