The verdant hills surrounding cosmopolitan Chiang Mai have long been dotted with hill tribe villages of Thailand’s many ethnic minorities. Visiting one or more of these rural outposts has become a quintessential northern Thailand experience. Here’s what you need to know.
Elephant Nature Park
1 Ratmakka Road, Phra Sing, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, 50200
Most travelers visit the elephant sanctuary on a day trip from Chiang Mai. A daylong elephant experience includes the chance to observe the animals in the forest, feed them fruit from a viewing platform under staff supervision, and assist with bathing elephants in a nearby river.
Funds raised here support efforts to reforest habitats for wild elephants, and the park also houses a menagerie of other rescued animals from Northern Thailand, including dogs, cats, and birds. Food for the elephants is purchased locally to support area farmers.
Things to Know Before You Go
This elephant rescue center is a must-see for animal lovers and families.
Common areas of the elephant park offer free Wi-Fi access.
A full-day park visit includes hotel pickup and drop-off in Chiang Mai city and lunch.
All experiences at the elephant park are suitable for all fitness levels.
The park has a restaurant serving both Thai and Western vegetarian dishes, buffet style.
Be sure to book your experience in advance as they tend to sell out.
How to Get There
The Elephant Nature Park is located just under 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Chiang Mai at 1 Ratmakka Road, Phra Sing. The journey takes about 90 minutes.
When to Get There
Full-day experiences at the park take place daily throughout the year, with hotel pickup early in the morning and drop-off during late afternoon. The best time to visit is between October and April, when the weather is cool and relatively dry.
Longer Stays at the Park
While the single-day visit is the most popular option at the Elephant Nature Park, visitors can opt for longer stays as well, ranging from a short overnight visit to a full week of volunteering.
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- Mae Ping River
- Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
- Art in Paradise
- Warorot Market
- Thapae Stadium
- Araksa Tea Plantation
- Elephant Parade House
- Saturday and Sunday Walking Street Market
- Baan Chang Elephant Park
- Wat Chedi Luang
- Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre
- Wat Chiang Man
- Three Kings Monument (Anusawari Sam Kasat)
- Wat Phra Singh Waramahawihan
- Chiang Mai Tribal Museum