Why You Should Visit Maerim Elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai

Why You Should Visit Maerim Elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai

Maerim elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, is located about 30km from the Old city of Chiang Mai and it takes roughly about 45 minutes by car journey.

 


When we were on holiday in Chiang Mai, we were desperate to go to a nice Elephant sanctuary and give my daughter the up close experience that she will not get in London or England. Our hotel tour agent recommended this place and we did some reading and decided to book this place for a half-day trip in the afternoon.

 

My Family photo at the Maerim sanctuary
My Family photo at the Maerim sanctuary

Highlight of Chiang Mai?

My husband and I agree that this was the highlight for us in Chiang Mai, in fact in whole of Thailand. We travel a lot to South East Asia so we are used to seeing amazing beaches, the beautiful mannered people and amazing food that just make you want to eat whole day but this was the first time we had an experience where we were so close to the elephants. I don’t think we will ever forget this experience in our lives.

My shocked face at how gently he took the banana from me
My shocked face at how gently he took the banana from me

Full-day and half-day activity:

They offer half-day morning and afternoon tours and full-day tours but with a 5-month-old baby and a toddler we opted for the afternoon tour. I think it’s a long enough time in the heat with two small kids. They offer pick up and drop off as part of the package which is convenient.

 

Baby elephant playing with the keeper
Baby elephant playing with the keeper

Transport to the sanctuary:

On the day of the activity, a pick up truck came to pick us up, we were a bit worried to be honest to get on it with kids, because it’s open at the back. The pick up truck had a roof to give shade for the guests but when I think of safety with kids, it’s not the safest vehicle I travelled in.

Maybe they should consider getting a mini van to make guests feel more comfortable and safe? But you see a lot of tour companies use pick up trucks in Thailand.

Cheeky elephant looking for more bananas in the bag
Cheeky elephant looking for more bananas in the bag

Arriving at the sanctuary:

When we arrived at the sanctuary, all we saw was just a basic hut standing tall on a sandy area, very typical of rural areas in Asia and already you fell calm and relaxed by the greenery.

We were greeted by a couple of  Thai, English and an American gentlemen. We had a briefing from the guys and a short video on safety and what not to do.

Walk to the village where the river is
Walk through the village to the river

They gave us all blue outfits to wear, because apparently Elephants can only see two colours and blue happened to be their tribe colour. You can read more about elephant’s eyesights on this link, if you are interested.

We got changed and admired the surroundings and all of a sudden we had these elephants coming near the boundary to say ‘Hi’ to all of us very casually. At that point, they managed to catch everyone’s attention.

Baby eleohant spraying himself with sand
Baby elephant spraying himself with sand

 

When we went back in March 2018, they had two female elephants from Sri Lankan and Africa and a baby boy. They were all rescued  from circus and riding parks etc. The owner was in the process of acquiring more.

The elephants were so calm and not threatened by us and very playful. I couldn’t believe my eyes, standing next to them, I was like an ant. I never stood that close to an elephant before. As any mother and our natural fear of things hurting our kids, I kept my distance from them but I didn’t witness any kid of threatening behaviour from these animals.

 

Group picture at the Maerim elephant santuary
Group picture at the Maerim elephant santuary

Soon we all had a group picture taken, each received bags full of bananas for the elephants and started to walk next to these beasts through the  village to get to a river.

I tell you, it was such a surreal feeling, walking next to these beasts that could crush us any minute and yet they were so calm and interested in eating and just relaxing.

The tour itinerary:

The day consisted of us walking next to these beautiful animals and helping them forage bamboos and other plants for them to eat.

My daughter using anyone to get close to the elephants. Lovely group
My daughter using anyone to get close to the elephants. Lovely group

 

Mud bath.

Mud bath

 

Relaxation by the pool and sunbathing. Just a warning, the pool is filled with just cold water.

Bath time
Bath time

After washing and drying out they served us a simple noodle broth, which I absolutely loved. They teach you how to cook the noodles and you can choose the ingredients that goes in the dish and you end up with very simple but stunning noodle dish.

Elephants washing themselves after the mud bath
Elephants washing themselves after the mud bath

Would I do this again?

Absolutely yes, We loved every movement with the elephants, just relaxing and being next to them and experiencing their habits and behaviour when they were treated with respect and kindness by humans.

The guys who worked there were so much fun to be around. The English and American guys were volunteers there, purely out of passion for these animals. And the locals who worked there made us feel so welcome.

Such a fun and memorable day and every one of us should experience this in our lifetime, if we had the opportunity.

 

 

Pin this post, for inspiration!

Maerim Elephant Santuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Related articles:

Travelling with Chiang Mai with kids

Where to eat in Thailand

Travelling to Bangkok with kids

Travelling to Krabi with kids

 

Disclaimer

(this is not a sponsored post)

 

Have you been to Thailand and experienced any of the Elephant Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai or are you planning a trip to Chiang Mai and possibly an Elephant santuary? Let me know if you found this information helpful or you have other comments.

 

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