Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai: A Must-Visit Experience

The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai is a popular eco-tourism destination in Northern Thailand, recognized for its extensive efforts to provide a safe and ethical environment for elephants that have been rescued from labor, logging, and the tourism industry. This unique experience allows visitors to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures, while also learning about their history and the efforts being made to conserve their species.

The sanctuary offers a range of programs, from half-day to overnight experiences, providing guests with the opportunity to observe and interact with these gentle giants in a natural, responsible and sustainable way. Activities at the sanctuary include feeding, bathing, and walking alongside the elephants, under the guidance of experienced caretakers who ensure the safety and comfort of both the elephants and visitors throughout the experience.

Aside from its elephant-focused programs, the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai also promotes local community development and environmental conservation initiatives, such as tree planting and education for local villagers. A visit to the sanctuary not only supports the wellbeing of the elephants but also contributes to the betterment of the surrounding communities and ecosystems.

About Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is an ethical and sustainable ecotourism project located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The sanctuary was established in 2014 with the aim of providing a safe and natural home for rescued elephants while also promoting responsible tourism.

Visitors to the sanctuary have the opportunity to learn about these majestic creatures, feed them, and even bathe with them in a river. The sanctuary’s focus is on conservation and protection, and they strive to create a better future for elephants in the region.

The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary operates with the support of local Karen communities, who help take care of the elephants and share their unique knowledge on elephant behavior and habits with guests. This collaboration aids in preserving traditional practices and improving the local community’s livelihood.

Below are some key aspects that make the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary stand out from other venues:

  • Ethical treatment: No riding, abuse, or chains
  • Support to local communities
  • Focus on education and conservation
  • Rescued elephants from various backgrounds

When visiting the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, it is essential to follow the guidelines and instructions provided by the staff, as this promotes the safety and well-being of both the guests and the elephants.

Location and Getting There

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is located approximately 60 kilometers outside of Chiang Mai city in Northern Thailand. Surrounded by lush green forests, the sanctuary offers an idyllic setting for visitors to interact with and learn about the magnificent elephants.

To reach the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, several options are available:

  • Join A Group Tour: Most visitors opt for a half-day or full-day group tour from Chiang Mai, which typically includes round-trip transportation, a guide, and meals. These tours can be booked online or through local travel agencies in the city.
  • Private Transportation: If you prefer more flexibility, you can hire a private driver or rent a vehicle to drive to the sanctuary. The journey usually takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Be sure to have the sanctuary’s address and directions handy.
  • Public Transportation: Although less convenient, it is still possible to reach the sanctuary by public transport. Take a local bus from Chiang Mai to Mae Wang district, and then hire a taxi or motorbike to travel the remaining distance to the sanctuary.

Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the sanctuary staff and guided through the day’s activities. Remember to wear comfortable clothing and footwear, as you may walk on uneven terrain and be involved in various activities, such as feeding and bathing the elephants. Bring along a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day, and don’t forget your camera to capture memories of your visit to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.

What to Expect

At the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, expect an ethical and immersive experience that offers a unique opportunity to interact with majestic elephants in their natural habitat. As a foreign traveler, you’ll learn about the rescue efforts and witness the positive impact on these loving creatures.

Here’s a list of activities you can participate in:

  • Feeding the elephants with fresh fruits such as bananas and sugar cane
  • Bathing the elephants in the river or mud spa, which helps cool them down and protect their skin
  • Observing the elephants as they socialize, play, and roam around the sanctuary
  • Learning about the elephants’ behavior, history, and ongoing conservation efforts

During your visit, professional and knowledgeable guides will accompany you, providing information about each elephant and answering any questions you may have. Most of the guides speak English and other languages to cater to the diverse visitors at the sanctuary.

The sanctuary provides tarps, waterproof bags, and lockers for you to store your belongings while you engage in activities with the elephants. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture these precious moments!

Conservation Efforts

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai focuses on the ethical treatment, care, and conservation of elephants. The sanctuary is dedicated to creating a safe and natural environment for these magnificent creatures.

The sanctuary is home to rescued elephants that have been saved from industries like logging and tourism. By visiting the sanctuary, tourists contribute to the health and well-being of the rescued elephants. Here are some key conservation efforts:

  • No Riding: Unlike some other elephant attractions, the sanctuary is strictly no riding. This helps in ensuring the physical and mental well-being of the elephants.
  • Educational Programs: The sanctuary offers educational programs for visitors, teaching them the importance of elephant conservation and the negative impact of elephant riding.
  • Supporting Local Communities: The sanctuary employs local villagers and sources food from the community, promoting sustainable tourism practices.
  • Reforestation: The sanctuary participates in reforestation to combat deforestation and to create a natural habitat for elephants and other wildlife.

By visiting the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, travelers can enjoy a unique and ethical experience while contributing to the conservation and well-being of elephants in Chiang Mai.

Visitor Packages and Prices

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai offers a variety of visitor packages to cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are some of the popular options:

Half-Day Visit:

  • Morning or afternoon sessions
  • Interaction with elephants: feeding, mud bath, and river bathing
  • Price: around 70-80 USD per person

Full-Day Visit:

  • Entire day with the elephants
  • Includes all activities from half-day visit plus a jungle trek
  • Price: around 100-120 USD per person

Overnight Visit:

  • Two-day, one-night stay at the sanctuary
  • Extra activities such as a jungle trek and Thai cooking class
  • Includes accommodation and meals
  • Price: around 180-200 USD per person

Please note that prices may vary slightly depending on the season and availability.

It is highly recommended to book your visit in advance, as spots can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons. You can book directly through the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary website, or through authorized tour agencies in Chiang Mai.

Important Tips for Visitors

Visiting the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai can be a memorable experience, but it’s essential to be well-prepared. Here are some important tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit:

  • Booking in Advance: To secure your spot, make sure you book your visit online or through a local travel agency well ahead of your desired date.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear comfortable, light clothing that can get dirty, as you might get muddy or wet during your interactions with the elephants. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for safety.
  • Respect the Animals: Always follow the sanctuary staff’s guidance, and remember to respect the elephants’ space and well-being. Avoid yelling or making sudden movements.

Keep in mind that the sanctuary is dedicated to ethical tourism and the welfare of the elephants. Here are some guidelines to ensure a responsible visit:

  • No Riding: Elephant riding is not allowed at the sanctuary, as it is harmful to the animals. Your experience will primarily involve feeding, bathing, and observing the elephants.
  • Do Not Litter: Keep the sanctuary clean by not disposing of waste irresponsibly. Use designated trash bins for any garbage.
  • Support Local Projects: By visiting the sanctuary, you’re already contributing to the welfare of the elephants. Consider purchasing items from local artisans or donating to support further elephant rescue and conservation efforts.

Lastly, remember to bring essential items to ensure your comfort and well-being during your visit:

SunscreenProtect your skin from the sun
Bug sprayAvoid mosquito bites
WaterStay hydrated throughout the day
CameraCapture memorable moments


Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai is a popular destination for foreign travelers seeking an ethical and sustainable experience with these gentle giants. The sanctuary offers various programs that allow visitors to interact and learn about the elephants in a responsible way.

Booking a visit to the sanctuary is easy with the different packages available, catering to various budgets and preferences. Guided tours and transportation are provided, ensuring a hassle-free and enjoyable day at the sanctuary.

Visitors can expect to participate in activities like feeding, mud bathing, and playing with the elephants in a safe environment. While photography is encouraged, it is important to remain respectful and considerate of the animals and their well-being.

With its dedication to ethical treatment and conservation of elephants, Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai is an experience worth adding to any traveler’s itinerary.