Elephant Nature Park

An overnight visit to the Elephant Nature Park – a sanctuary for domesticated Asian elephants – in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.

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During our honeymoon in Thailand, in March 2014, my (brand-new!) husband Paul and I visited the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai in the country’s north, thanks to the sound advice of a wonderful friend (and US expat living in Bangkok), Anne Shifley.

It would have been so easy to tick a box and ride an elephant at one of the countless tourist parks, so we were immensely grateful that she pointed us in the direction of this magical place, where elephants are rescued from mistreatment, or taken in as orphaned calves or with injuries from land mines. There is no riding elephants at the park, instead visitors can feed and wash – or simply observe and learn about them.

We chose the overnight stay option (which included dinner – all vegetarian). I’d recommend this at a minimum for the opportunity to hang back after the day trippers have left and watch (and hear) the elephants as the sun sets over the surrounding forests.

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