Thailand Elephant Experience
Thailand’s Ethical Elephant Experience
GIVE’s Thailand Elephant Experience takes you through Northern Thailand to trek with elephants in the jungle, play with baby elephants, volunteer at an ethical elephant sanctuary, and visit an elephant nursery and veterinary hospital! We only work with individuals that love and respect these creatures, which ensures that you have an unforgettable and ethical elephant experience. By joining GIVE’s Thailand Elephant Experience, you’ll give local experts the resources they need to promote Asian elephant welfare and conservation!
“Because you vote with your dollar,’ I voted to have my tourism dollars support the first Elephant Hospital in Thailand, which offers free veterinary care to elephants throughout the country, a mahout-training program that teaches positive reinforcement training techniques, and a reforestation program that regenerates the tropical forests necessary to sustain elephants in the wild.”Leah Pletcher
Why support ethical elephant tourism?
Aside from spending a full week hanging with elephants in the jungle…
This Keystone Species is Disappearing
Asian elephants are currently listed as endangered and their population is decreasing. By supporting elephant sanctuaries and conservation centers, you’ll help to ensure these incredible creatures are around for future generations to see.
Understand Elephant Conservation
Every day you will be learning from local elephant trainers, mahouts, conservationists and veterinarians about the complex issues Asian elephants face. More importantly, you will be able to witness their holistic solutions in action.
Preserve Mahout Culture & Integrity
The bond between mahouts and elephants is centuries old and, unfortunately, is being lost with each passing generation. Empower mahouts to maintain their culture, livelihood and integrity, and directly support elephant welfare.
Elephant Experience Itinerary
here’s A GLIMPSE of ALL That awaits you
Play with baby elephants | Support an Elephant Nursery, Hospital & Conservation Center | Trek with elephants | Empower local experts | Summit Thailand’s tallest mountain
Your Thailand elephant experience commences: Group arrives in Chiang Mai. Meet your incredible guides and fellow travelers at the airport, and then head straight to our first elephant camp for the night!
Put on a traditional mahout outfit and get to know a familial herd of elephants! Spend the rest of the morning hiking with the herd and then bathing and feeding them in the river. Note: This is the most hands-on of any of the places we’ll visit, so get those elephant hugs in while you can!
After lunch, we’ll head to the Thailand Elephant Conservation Center (TECC), to learn about their initiatives to provide free veterinary care to all elephants in Thailand, reintroduce captive elephants to the wild, and train mahouts on positive reinforcement training techniques. We’ll spend the afternoon touring the elephant hospital, making nutritious herbal supplements, observing baby elephants at the nursery, and learning from the local experts who make it all possible! Note: This will be less hands-on than the morning’s activities, but you will be in close proximity to baby elephants at the nursery!
Start your day at TECC watching elephants complete their morning exercises, which are designed to promote mental and physical enrichment. Note: Mostly observational, potentially some brief hands-on interaction
Day 3 Continued…
We’ll then drive north through the rolling green landscape of Doi Inthanon National Park (~1.5-hour drive), stopping along the way to enjoy an easy 2-hour hike through a spectacular series of waterfalls, jungle and terraced farmland!
After the hike we’ll continue on to Berm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary (BEES) (~1-hour drive), which provides a home for old, injured and retired elephants needing rest and/or permanent care. This a special place where elephants are free to just be elephants! Spend the evening touring the facilities and learning about the sanctuary’s history and mission from its founders. Note: BEES is a no-contact sanctuary where you will observe the elephants from a safe distance.
Spend the morning volunteering at BEES to prepare food for the elephants and/or maintain facilities around the sanctuary. Note: BEES is a no-contact sanctuary where you will observe the elephants from a safe distance.
After lunch, we’ll head deeper into the mountains towards the Karen hill-tribe village of Huay Pakoot (~1.5 hour drive). Learn more about the community’s incredible history of keeping elephants and how they’ve adopted a unique and ethical form of community-based elephant tourism. That afternoon, we’ll tour the village, receive a blessing from a Buddhist Monk, and then take part in a sports day with local children! For dinner, we’ll enjoy a barbecue dinner with our homestay hosts and local mahouts.
24 Hours in the Life of a Mahout: Trek into the jungle with your mahouts in search of a familial herd of semi-wild elephants. Spend the entire morning and afternoon observing the herd in their natural habitat, while learning about the unique spiritual bond these elephants share with their mahouts. That night, we’ll camp in the jungle with our mahouts, sharing stories and laughs around the bonfire! Note: There will be some brief moments of hands-on interaction, but these elephants are semi-wild, so prepare to observe them from a safe distance most of the time.
After breakfast we’ll hike back to Huay Pakoot and take some to time to shower and pack up before heading to our epic mountaintop accommodations for the night (~1.5 hour drive). That night, we’ll take part in a Thai cooking class and then enjoy our home-cooked meal while a local women’s group performs traditional Northern Thai dances! Note: On this night we’ll be “glamping” (glamorous camping) with 360 views of the surrounding mountains. You will sleep in tents, but will have nearby access to electricity, restrooms, showers, running water, etc.
After breakfast, we’ll drive up of the tallest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon, to explore some mountaintop pagodas. After lunch, we’ll begin the journey back to Chiang Mai for one final night of reflection and celebration with your GIVE family. After dinner, you’ll have some free time to explore the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, a one-stop shop for every Thai souvenir imaginable.
Trip End: All good things must come to an end. Say your goodbyes and begin the journey home.
**THIS IS A SAMPLE ITINERARY WHICH IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Volunteer in Thailand & Laos For 4 Weeks Before your Elephant Experience Add-on
Combine the Thailand & Laos Excursions with the Elephant Immersion and SAVE $700 on the Ultimate Southeast Asia experience.