elephant friends


Situated high on a grassy hill surrounded by forest in Northern Thailand, this project is home to three elephants now enjoying a life free of the saddle or other unnatural activities. The owner has welcomed the opportunity to drop elephant riding and embrace a more ethical form of elephant tourism where the elephants can enjoy their lives with time to interact, and roam the grassy fields, foraging as they go. By joining this project as part of a small group you are directly helping to make this transition possible and sustainable, thereby protecting the well-being of the elephants.

The elephant-friendly activities at this project start with dressing in colorful traditional Karen clothing, then cutting sugarcane and feeding it to the appreciative elephants along with their favorite food – bananas. After the feeding session, join the elephants for an easy stroll through the tall grasses and along the forest edge, stopping to watch them graze and take photos from the shade of a hut. On returning from your walk, a vegetarian buffet lunch is served overlooking the valley, after which you will learn to make healthy treats for the elephants by combining a medicinal vine, rice, tamarind, salt, and bananas. Next, head to the stream to bathe the elephants and then watch them play in the mud. The tour ends with feeding the elephants the medicinal tamarind-rice balls prepared earlier, as a parting gift.

This elephant tour is suitable for all ages and provides a fascinating insight into the lives of elephants. Karen Elephant Serenity only began early in 2018, but already the owners have noticed an elevation in the elephant’s spirits and their general health. The project also helps support the local villages which include Karen, Hmong, and Lanna Thai communities.

Feed the elephants sugarcane and fruit and then take a hillside walk with the elephants, stopping to watch them forage in the forest

elephant sanctuary thailand

Walk with Elephants


Feed Elephants

Observe Elephants


Elephant Bathing


  • Dress in traditional Karen clothing
  • Cut sugar cane and feed the elephants
  • Take a leisurely walk with the elephants
  • Enjoy a vegetarian buffet lunch
  • Prepare medicinal health balls for the elephants
  • Bathe the elephants
  • Watch the elephants take a mud bath
  • Feed the tamarind-rice balls to the elephants

Tour Details

Number of Guests: 12
Number of Elephants: 3
Tour Type: Full Day Visit
Fitness Level: Easy
Age Suitability: All Ages

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 2-12: 1,250 Thai Baht

Family Friendly-All Ages



Lunch Provided



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 90 minutes (a safety video and elephant documentary will be shown en route to the project).
Travel Details: Transfer from an air-con minivan to a 4WD vehicle for the last 5-10 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: All ages – guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Fitness Level: Easy – leisurely walk.
Topography: Grasslands,  forest, hills & 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.

Owners Karen Elephant Serenity ethical elephant tour Chiang Mai Thailand

Project Background

This project is owned by Nikorn, who used to work at Elephant Nature Park for many years and Pa Udon, who inherited a large area of land from his grandfather, and in the past, used to run an elephant trekking camp in the area. They joined the 'Saddle Off' project in February 2018 and Karen Elephant Serenity is now home to three elephants enjoying a better life in their retirement from elephant riding. The herd currently includes Kham Suk, a 40 year old pregnant female, Kham Noy, a 35 year old female and Som Wang, a 32 yr old male. Since joining the project the elephants have the opportunity to interact and forage together and consequently have become more relaxed, healthier, and have put on weight. To provide for the elephants, tall grass is grown at the project and they buy fruit and vegetables from local farmers.

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