chiang mai day 2


Nobody travels in Southeast Asia without at least considering an experience which involves some kind of interaction with the native Asian Elephants. Recently, travelers have become wary of the droves of different kinds of elephant experience tours offered in Thailand and elsewhere; rightfully concerning themselves more with the well-being of the animals. We didn't want to miss a rare opportunity to hang out with these incredible creatures, so after a great deal of research we settled on well-reviewed and seemingly responsible no-riding outfitter called Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. Our day with them was incredible. We got to feed the elephants, give them a mud bath and then a rinse in the river, and finally walk alongside them and play all afternoon as they wandered in the nearby jungle looking for roots to snack on... Really a once-in-a-lifetime kind of feeling. The whole time the elephants were free to walk around, sip on water, munch snacks and stray away from the group if they wanted to. Obviously the best possible situation would be for the elephants to live completely in the wild again, but having already been domesticated and having lived alongside the local minority groups in this region for so long, it seems that option is no longer realistic.  While we had some hesitancy about the experience for this reason as well as our feeling that the sanctuary sometimes felt as if it were "built for tourism", it was overwhelmingly a positive encounter with this endangered species and one that we would have been sad to miss.