Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Today was THE BEST DAY.  The fact that there are elephants in Thailand is well-known. The temples are decorated with them, carvings and textiles fill the markets and they take up such a big cultural presence everywhere.  There are many excursions to see elephants, and most happen out of Chiang Mai.

I knew I wanted to see them, but I wanted to do so in an ethical manner – so no riding. And I needed the company I choose to also treat them well.  So I picked Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, and had the absolute best day.

Upon arrival, they let you feed the elephants banans and sugar cane, while also supplying them with lots and lots of corn husks.  Their skin is a bit like sand-paper and I was definitely flinching each time a trunk came near me. There were ten elephants (including one baby!) and 40 of us, but if never felt crowded.

From there we had a bit of lunch, and then they provided some traditional clothes for us to wear for our next interactions with the elephants. I was trying to get a selfie with the lil’ guy, but he is super playful and pushed me over – very strong even at a young age.  The worst part is that I didn’t even get the photo!

From here, it was time to cool down with a relaxing mud bath.  We rubbed mud into their back to help with the itch as they can’t scratch their backs.

And then it was time for a rinse!

All the while that we are in the water with them, they are pooing like crazy.  Thankfully they just eat veggies, so it is just a little wheat ball.  But still, these guys just eat, pee and poo all day, and only sleep 3-4 hours a night.  The staff here live here so there are always around these elephants to make sure they are well.

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And then we had time for one last hang and feed before we had to leave.

It was an amazing day, that’s going to stay with me for years to come.

They had a photographer on site as well, so here’s some more better quality photos:

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