At the end of our trip through Thailand there was one thing left what we haven’t done so far. We saw them on Koh Chang, we smelled them on Koh Phangan and we became sad when we drove by a riding farm on Phuket. I am talking about elephants.
One of the most majestic creatures we’ve encountered on our world trip.
We’ve heard a lot of the unwell treatment of elephants in Thailand and I have to consider that we were scared of the day we’ll visit them. You never know how they are treated after the tourists leave and who and what you’re supporting with the money you spent. We heard positive things about some sanctuaries in the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai. So we saved this experience to the end of our trip until we arrived in one of the most beautiful cities in this country. After we researched for a while to find a sanctuary with no bad rating and we finally found a few. The decision was made an a half day tour in the afternoon (We love to sleep 🙂 ) booked . We paid 1600 Baht per Person, that’s around 40 euros. They gave us a ride from our accommodation at around 3pm and together we started our 45 Minutes way to the Maerim Elephant Sanctuary. Finally arrived we got a warm welcome from the 4 elephants that were rescued by the sanctuary. One big and old one and three smaller younger ones. We’ve started with a small feeding session to get in touch with the grey creatures and to experience how they feel and how they react if you have bananas in your hand. After that short time the guides gathered our group of 15 people together and we took a seat to watch two short movies. The movies handled from the bad history of the elephants in Thailand. They were used for towing huge trunks out of the jungle and transport other materials from one to another place. Since this is forbidden in Thailand the riding tourism doesn’t do it better.
We humans achieved that the population in 1850 with 100.000 elephants went down to just 3-4000 today. Just 20% of those are living in the northern province Chiang Mai in natural reserves or sanctuaries.
The big elephant was rescued from a riding farm and the smaller ones from a circus. It was rough to see the pictures they showed us but we have to change something, otherwise we only can show our children elephants on YouTube.
So, after those really interesting facts we changed our clothes and started a walk into the bush. It was purely overwhelming to see this animals walking, playing and eating. After the walk, a lot of sugar canes and bananas we went into a mud pool for a swim. Totally awesome to see them diving and playing with the water. It was such a great experience for us that we recommend it to everybody else. If you ever travel to Thailand, support the sanctuaries of what their doing and collect this wonderful adventure. After almost 2 hours with the elephants we sadly said good-bye to them and joined a short cooking class to prepare our Thai soup. Really delicious!
We want to thank all the guides and Maerim Elephant Sanctuary for this great experience!