Elephants (known as chang in Thai) are an important part of Thailand’s history. They are noted as the country’s national animal, and the Land of Smiles has a blossoming number of wildlife sanctuaries where you can observe the gentle giants in action while learning about their history and welfare.

If you are interested in a personal experience with these amazing giant creatures, consider visiting the following:

The Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai Experience

Home to more than 35 elephants, most of which have been saved from the tourist and illegal logging industries, the Park offers visitors the opportunity to engage with the animals. Operating daily trips to ENP, visitors can choose to spend the day, night or even more mingling with these creatures in their natural habitat. At ENP, guests can feed the elephants and bathe them, and also learn about the plight of the Asian elephant and what they can do to help.

Elephant jungle sanctuary

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai was among the pioneers of the new ethical elephant attractions which have swept Thailand. Effectively a retirement home for the gentle giants who have worked in the often-unpleasant logging and tourism industries, the sanctuary allows careful interaction between visitors and residents. There are no gimmicks, no circus tricks, and absolutely no riding, as it can harm the surprisingly weak backs of these mighty creatures. The sanctuary is a paragon of responsible tourism, being operated in partnership with the nearby Karen hill-tribes and locals from Chiang Mai. At the time of writing, the sanctuary is home to over 30 elephants, with several spacious locations around 60 km from Chiang Mai for them to range in peace and comfort.

What to pack: Thailand is in general quite hot so we recommend you to wear light and breathable clothes. Bear in mind that to enter the temples you must wear appropriate attire to show respect, that is: cover your arms, and your knees. In some of the temples, flip-flops are not allowed.

You may like to read: Elephant sanctuary tours in Thailand