A well-taken-care-of elephant has room to roam and isn’t overworked by constantly performing in shows or giving endless rounds of rides. Here are three elephant sanctuaries with great reputations to look into visiting during your trip to Thailand, plus some background on why you shouldn’t ride an elephant and some tips to make your time at the sanctuary more memorable.

The opportunity to encounter highly endangered elephants draws travelers from around the globe to Thailand. Elephants are incredibly intelligent creatures — they have the largest brains of land mammals. Sadly, captive elephants have endured horrific abuse in order to ‘break’ them into being docile around humans. If you love the world’s largest land mammal then you may want to consider volunteering at an Elephant sanctuary in Thailand.

Volunteering with elephants is often a very rewarding experience. Retired working elephants are no longer capable of reentering the wild and rely on human support for daily care and nourishment. The best sanctuaries are those with large plots of land that allow the elephants to roam freely in semi-wild environments.

Working with elephants is one of the most popular volunteer activities in Thailand. Read on to learn about ethical elephant sanctuaries where you can volunteer in Thailand.

Firstly, we should know that there are merely elephant sanctuary near Bangkok, while you can do these following by one-day tour and return to Bangkok the same day.

  1. ElephantsWorld

Duration: 2h15min

Location: Kanchanaburi

2. Pattaya Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Location: pattaya

Duration: 2 hours

Hutsadin Elephant Foundation

Location: Hua Hin

Duration: 2 h 30 mins

3. Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

Location: Kaeng Krachan

Duration: 2 hours 15 min

4. Elephant Haven

Location: Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi

Duration: 2h45min

5. Save Elephant Foundation – Surin Project

Location: Surin

Duration: 6 hours by car

Of cause, the best place to see elephant in Thailand is Chiang Mai, while you have better to take a flight first to Chiang Mai city. There are dozens of elephant sanctuary, all located in natural places……

6. Elephant Nature Park

Location: Chiang Mai

Duration: 1 hour 15 min from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by flight, another 1 hour 15 min to the sanctuary.

7. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai

Location: Chiang Mai

Duration: 1 hour 15 min from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by flight, another 1 hour 10 min to the sanctuary.

8. Elephant Rescue Park

Location: Chiang Mai

Duration: 1 hour 15 min from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by flight, another 1 hour 10 min to the sanctuary.

If you fly to Koh Samui, there will be:

9. Samui Elephant Sanctuary

Location: Koh Samui

Duration: 1 hour 45 min from Bangkok to Koh Samui by flight and another 30 min

If you fly to Phuket, there will be:

10. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket

Location: northern Phuket

Duration: 1 hour 10 min from Bangkok to Phuket by flight. Taking another 45 min from Phuket town or Patong Beach

11. Green Elephant Sanctuary Park

Location: northern Phuket

Duration: 1 hour 10 min from Bangkok to Phuket by flight. Taking another 30 min from Phuket town or Patong Beach

Read more: Thailand Elephant Tours

Hotels which combines camp idea with the elephant in jungle:

  1. Elephant Hills – 3 star

Location: 170 Moo 7, Khao Sok National Park 84250 Thailand

Duration: 1h30min by flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani International Airport

Elephant Hills combines the African Safari tent camp idea with the breathtakingly beautiful environment of Khao Sok in Southern Thailand. Furthermore, the resort offers 2-4 days soft adventure tours, including kayaking, lake explorations, mangrove expeditions, jungle treks and the unique Elephant Hills elephant experience. Here you get to wash, feed and interact with Asia’s largest land animal in a sustainable and fun way. Elephant Hills does not offer Elephant riding out of respect towards the elephants.

It’s Thailand’s First Luxury Tented Camps.

2. Elephantstay – 3 star

Location: Ayutthaya

Duration: 1 hour 15 min

Elephantstay is an elephantastic, up close and personal, hands on experience with elephants staying in the centre of a working elephant village.

Rooms were just like the website. Basic but very clean. If you travelling with young kinds, I would question wether it is right environment for children. A lot would depend on the childs age and maturity. all rooms are air-conditioned, showers are strong & hot and there’s free wifi.

3. Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort – 5 star

Location: Chiang Saen

Duration: 1 hour 15 min by flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai and another 1 hour from Chiang Rai to the hotel.

This was very different than the traditional “tourist riding” elephant options. The Elephants all belong to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation which has about 160 acres of land right up next to Anantara. Not only are these elephants rescued but the Mahouts that they belong to are also rescued. It’s a great story to learn about as well as experience. 

At Anantara Golden Triangle, the natural and cultural merge at our unique onsite Elephant Camp, modelled on traditional mahout villages and home to the resort’s very own gentle giants. 

4. The Chai Lai Orchid – 3 star

Location: Chiang Mai

Duration: 1 hour 15 min by flight and another 1 hour to the hotel

Here you can spend your days swimming with elephants in the river, lounging hammocks, and trekking to visit near by waterfalls and hill tribe villages. The Chai Lai Orchid is currently working to rescue elephants from their daily chair tours and long hours. Offer the opportunity to bathe, bareback ride and play with the elephants and proceeds go towards our cause.

5. Sappraiwan Elephant Resort & Sanctuary – 3 star

Location: Wang Thong

Duration: 5 hours

It’s only been two years since it ran as a hotel and elephant-riding business!