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