Walking With Giants

 

A visit to Chiang Mai would not be complete without seeing Elephants.

 

On our second day, we met up with the kind folks of Elephant Nature Park to spend a day at their facility.

There are many elephant tourist attractions in Chiang Mai. I specially choose Elephant Nature Park because not only is it a rescue for Elephants, but also for cats, dogs, and water buffalo.

Up until 1989, Elephants were primarily used in the logging industry in Thailand. When it became illegal,  over 3, 000 elephants were “out of work” either sold to the circus or used as street performers. In all three cases, the elephants were beaten, and abused. Some are disfigured after stepping on landmines while logging on the border of Burma and Thailand. Others are blind after spending years in front of the harsh spot lights of the circus.

All have found their way to Elephant Nature Park under the care of trained professionals and volunteers.

Elephant Nature Park was founded in the mid 2000s as a sanctuary  for these big beauties.

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Smile!

Elephant Nature Park is a peninsula like -shaped piece of property the size of a couple of football fields.

The main visitor center is a large treehouse like structure, elevated off the ground (in case of flooding) its very open, and airy. We were brought there first to meet and feed some of our new friends for the day:

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Snack time!

 

Look at that trunk curl up around that gourd!

Next, we went down to the river to watch some of the elephants or “Ellies’ as I like to call them, take a morning dip!

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The baby ellie in front is 3 years old 🙂

 

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This is how I look from behind 😀
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I guess she missed the bath time memo?

Elephant Nature Park is also home to dozens of stray dogs and cats.

I particularly appreciated the “Cat Kingdom”

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Is it my Birthday?!

Granted, I have been to many zoos , but to have the opportunity to get up close and personal with these massive, gentle, amazing creatures was absolutely surreal.

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It’s 106 degrees and sandals were a BAD choice – BUT WHO CARES IM PETTING AN ELEPHANT!

 

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**It was $69 per person for a visit to Elephant Nature Park. The price included Shuttle to the park (about an hour outside Chiang Mai) a delicious vegetarian lunch, complimentary cold water and tea throughout the day,  a guided tour & hotel drop off.

 

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