Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is an ethically-run and safe home for elephants in Thailand. All of the elephants who live here have been rescued from trekking camps or other harmful practices, such as logging or circuses. The sanctuary does not allow visitors to ride the elephants. Instead, you can spend the day playing with them, making their food, feeding them, giving them a mud bath, and bathing with them.

How to get there

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary has 2 locations: one in Northern Thailand near Chiang Mai, and the other in the south on the island of Phuket. You can book your visit online through their website.

If you are visiting Thailand, you will probably start your journey in Bangkok. Both Chiang Mai and Phuket are a bit over an hour away from Bangkok by plane. The flight can be booked with one of Thailand’s many domestic airlines. You can also take a night bus or night train from Bangkok, a definitely longer journey (at least 10 hours or more to either location), but you will save money.

The sanctuary located near Chiang Mai will provide free transportation to and from your Chiang Mai hotel. If you are going to the Phuket location, free transportation is provided to and from certain parts of Phuket. Check with the sanctuary for more information.

What to consider

  • Don’t forget a bathing suit and change of clothes. You will be playing in the mud and water with the elephants.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray are also important, as you will be spending the entire day outside.
  • Lunch is provided and included in the entrance fee. Be sure to let the sanctuary know of any dietary restrictions you may have. A GoPro or other waterproof camera is best for capturing the mud bath (the best part of the day). Even if you don’t have one, there will be a professional photographer with your group and all of their photos will be posted online after your visit.

What it will cost

A visit to the sanctuary will cost anywhere from approximately $50-$100 USD, depending on how long you stay. You can also participate in their overnight program — which costs a bit more. All of the money from visitors goes toward helping the elephants, with rescue efforts, food, veterinary care, and maintenance of the sanctuary.