An Unforgettable Day: Maerim Elephant Sanctuary Chiang Mai
A trip to Thailand doesn’t quite feel complete without coming face to face with some elephants. Bathing these beautiful creatures is one of Chiang Mai’s top tourist attractions which has resulted in a large number of companies offering the activity, making it extremely hard to decide who to hand over your hard earned pennies to. My number one rule for choosing which company to go with is to look for a sanctuary that looks after and cares for the elephants and one that does NOT offer riding. I love animals and the thought of anyone mistreating them in any way is heartbreaking so it was seriously important for me to go to a place that treated the elephants well. After a lot of research, I found Maerim Elephant Sanctuary. They rescue elephants who have previously been badly treated and provide them with the healthy and loving lifestyle they should have always had. Maerim Elephant Sanctuary is just 1 year old, making it fairly new compared to others in the area meaning there’s not quite as many reviews (the reviews it does have are amazing though!) but this also means that it’s currently not as busy as other companies meaning you have less people in your group allowing you more one on one time with the elephants rather than having to share them. Some companies say you’ll be in a group of 20-30 people whereas we were in a group of just 4!
The whole experience with Maerim Elephant Sanctuary was incredible from start to finish. The elephants seemed happy and they were free to wander around the grounds and play with each other. Of course, we’ll never truly know what happens behind closed doors or when the tourists leave but the people looking after the elephants looked as though they genuinely loved them and there was no sign of mistreating them whilst we were there. There are currently just 7 elephants in the sanctuary ranging from just a couple of years old to fifty years old. The baby elephants were so mischievous!
We did the full day visit which included feeding the elephants, walking in the jungle with them as they tear down trees, having a (very messy!) mud bath and cleaning them afterwards. Bathing the elephants was definitely my favourite thing. They are such amazing and intelligent animals and to be that close to them was incredible. You also got the added bonus of heading to a local farm to chop down banana plants ready for the elephants to eat and making traditional and yummy noodle soup for lunch.
All in all, it was one unforgettable day that I’m so glad we got to experience. If you’re debating whether or not to do it, cast away any doubts you have because you seriously won’t regret it. Thanks to Maerim Elephant Sanctuary for such a fun day x