In Celebration of World Elephant Day–Thailand’s Elephant Nature Park

Posted by on Aug 12, 2012 in Chiang Mai, Destinations, Thailand | 12 comments

A big thank you to my friend and fellow blogger, Jim McIntosh, whose post over on Facebook reminded me that today is World Elephant Day. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I love elephants. In fact, my post of a couple of days ago features one of my favorite elephant shots. Did you know, according to World Elephant…”The Asian elephant is endangered with less than 43,000 remaining worldwide.” ?? Can you imagine a world without these beautiful creatures? I can’t, but the harsh reality is that it could easily happen sooner rather than later. The folks at also report that the main market for illegal ivory is China. Boycotting China doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me. I’ve had the privilege of being able to get up close and personal with elephants in Thailand. I have loved every minute and those encounters have made me realize just how special and precious these creatures are. Here are a few of my “elephant shots”, along with some links where you can find out more about these endangered giants and things you can do to help save them from extinction. After learning the ins and outs (or the dos and don’ts) of the Elephant Nature Park, the first order of business is feeding the elephants. What amazed me, was how different each elephant is. Some gobble their food, and then try to steal more from their neighbor. Others eat slowly, savoring every morsel.


Feed Me NOW!


Waiting not so patiently….

Where's Mine?


Then it’s bath time…Always keep your eye on your elephant in case he or she decides to stand up unexpectedly. As gentle as they seem, they are much bigger and heavier than we are. Can you imagine what it would be like to be stomped on…even a gentle stomp?


Bath Time

All Clean



Heading off to the mud pit to play. The park philosophy is that the elephants don’t need to do tricks to be entertaining.   So much for the bath 🙂


Heading for the Mud Hole



Play Time


Kiss me quick...

Give me a Kiss


A room with a view…

Cottage View --- Elephant Nature Park

On the second day we had the pleasure of helping with the feeding and bathing again. Then, it was time to walk along the river bank and into the jungle with the herd. I think the photos speak for themselves.

Along the River Bed Crossing the River


Patting an elephant in the wild….now how cool is that???


Up Close and Personal...Out for a walk with the "guys and gals"


Born to eat…

Born to Eat


Enough already; No more photos…


Enough With The Photos!!


Writing this post has brought back so many happy memories. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. All of the elephants (except the very young ones) come from abused backgrounds. Some have been sold to the park, while others are “on loan” from their owners. The mastermind behind this project and the park is a lady by the name of  Lec.  She believes in treating the elephants with love and kindness. They are not expected to perform for people, nor be used to give tourists rides. I hope you will take a moment and visit Elephant Nature Park. There you can “meet” the herd, find out how you too can experience a day, a week, or even a month at the park. You can even adopt an elephant! For more information about elephants drop by World Elephant


In case you missed Elephant Magic in Thailand.



Have you ever thought of buying a picture for your wall, painted by an elephant? Elephant Art




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  1. Oh Nancie – these are spectacular! I love elephants and these made me want to be there with you.

  2. Nancie, such fantastic photos and a real photo essay here. Made me feel like I was there with you.

  3. I am really not trying to hog your comment section, it showed that the first comment didn’t ‘take’ so I re-wrote it. . .I promise this time I am done.

  4. Hi Jackie, I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos, and the more comments the better, right? 🙂

  5. I loved this post Nancie. It upsets me to think that people still abuse the elephants here and in other countries. I’d love to spend a couple of days with them as you did. They are just like little kids!

    • Hi Jenny, Thanks for your kind words. Yes, spending time with these beautiful creatures is eye opening. The amount of abuse going on remains horrific. I guess when the abusers drive the elephants into extinction they’ll simply move onto another “in-demand” species.

      The Elephant Nature Park is unique in that it does not put on tourist shows, or can tourists ride the elephants. Elephants are funny and entertaining just being themselves. They don’t need to do tricks (which to learn often means abuse) to make people laugh.

  6. Such adorable creatures! I love how you captured their playfulnes. What a wonderful experience, Nancie! I would love to explore this particular park one of these days and show it to my kids. My daughter loves elephants so she enjoyed these pictures a lot and added this to her “list” 🙂

  7. I love elephants and bathing them as you did is precious moments. I have seen this as a reflective journeys for you as you travel and one which enriches you further.

    I wish you all the best and the photos of the elephants is just so amazing. I love them.


  8. I need to put Elephant Nature Park on my list for when I make it to Northern Thailand. After reading about what they do to train elephants to do tricks or give rides, I’m glad I didn’t ride one in Phuket after all. This sounds much more humane and probably more fun for all creatures involved.

  9. These are so cute. I love the last one with the elephant bums.

  10. Great post and really enjoyed your photos – it brought back memories of my own trip there. Washing the elephants at the nature park was one of the most magical experiences I had in Thailand, highly recommended!

  11. Hi Reena! I’m with you…love, love, love the Elephant Nature Park. A friend of mine recently spent a week there volunteering, and from what he is saying, it continues to be a phenomenal experience. I’m going to be in CM for 2 months this winter and I am seriously thinking of volunteering for a week.


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