Back to Blog Page

4 Truly Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries in Thailand

Post Date : Mar 10, 2018 | Author: Admin

4 Truly Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries in Thailand_cover - Smiling Tuk Tuk

4 Truly Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries in Thailand

Are you planning to visit an ethical elephant sanctuary in Thailand? Most travelers coming to Thailand want to interact with local elephants. Elephant camps are always a big business. And sometimes, the animals are maltreated and abused in order to entertain tourists. But don’t worry! Not every elephant sanctuary in Thailand is like that. There are a few places where you can interact with elephants in natural ways like bathing them in rivers and walking with them in jungle, their natural habitat. See out list of truly ethical elephant sanctuaries around Thailand. These places are reviewed and advocated by the travelers who have been there themselves.



#1 Truly Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai

Elephant Nature Park - Smiling Tuk Tuk

Photo by FB:

Elephant Nature Park (ENP) is the biggest elephant park in Chiang Mai. It’s an incredible place to watch the beasts in their natural habitat, playing, socializing, and living happy lives. In the land of 250 acre, elephants roam freely in dense forest, rivers, and mud pools. The park was founded by an award-winning conservationist Sangduen Chailert. The lady has set a mission not only to rescue injured and mistreated elephants but also to educates visitors about responsible practice.

Here you can visit for one day, stay one or several nights, and volunteer for weeks. If you do a one-day visit, You’ll get to interact with them in an open field, feed, and bathe them in a river. Lunch is provided in the program. There are no shows, no rides. So, you don’t even get to sit on their necks and take photos like you can in other places. You can also help and volunteer for rescued dogs and cats at ENP.

Visit this ethical elephant camp at



#2 Truly Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand

Patara Elephant Farm, Chiang Mai

Patara Elephant Farm - Smiling Tuk Tuk

Photo by Patara Elephant Farm

This is another well-respected company in Chiang Mai focusing on wellbeing of elephants. Visitors and voluneers in the Patara experience learn a great deal of knowledge about the elephants. In the program “Elephant Owner for a Day,” you get to interact with elephants as what an owner would do daily. In one day, you’ll be coached to approach your elephant correctly, learn the animal’ temperament, feed and check its health, bathe it in a river, ride its neck without a saddle, and communicate with the elephant through different spoken commands. Like in ENP, the elephants are free from gimmicks and circus acts.

Visit this ethical elephant camp at



#3 Truly Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand

ElephantsWorld, Kanchanaburi

ElephantsWorld - Smiling Tuk Tuk

Photo by

Founded in 2008, ElephantsWorld is meant to be a ‘retirement home’ for elephants which have been injured enduring their work, or are too old too work. Another non-profit organization where every baht earned goes towards caring for the elephants they have and bringing in new ones. The sanctuary offers a day visit, an overnight, 1 week, and 1-4 week (Mahout Program) to visitors. For a day program, you get to prepare fruits for young elephants and sticky rice balls for old ones which have lost their teeth, bath them in a river and in a mud pool, and observe them hanging out in the jungle peacefully. There is no riding, no tricks and shows here.

Visit this ethical elephant camp at



#4 Truly Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand

Pangnga Elephant Park, Pangnga

Phang Nga Elephant Park - Smiling Tuk Tuk

Photo by FB: Phang Nga Elephant Park

The park is operated by a Thai family with lots of help from Thai and foreign volunteers. The elephants here, owned by the family, used to work in forest carrying timber. In 2015, the family decided to open the park so they could keep and take care of their the elephants, all of them no longer work. You can ride the elephants here but there are no elephant shows. The park offers 2 programs: Half Day Elephant Care Program and Family Elephant Experience. Both last 4 hours and offer the same activities. You will be paired with an elephant throughout the program so you can form a bond with the elephant and gain a great insight into its life and behavior. The difference between the 2 programs is the Family Experience charges the flat rate of 9,900 THB for 2 adults and maximum 2 children under the age of 7.

Visit this ethical elephant camp at 

Be inspired by local experience

Smiling Tuk Tuk brings you deep into local communities, to be a part of a metropolis and villages, where you eat, sleep, travel, and cultivate meaningful intimate experiences which you want to share yet keep as secrets. Via us, you support the locals, and create positive and long-lasting impacts to the communities you visit. Our hand-picked experiences are provided by local experts and community guides.

Whether you love to try local delicacies impossible to discover on your own, to dive into insights of local culture, to pump your adrenaline with soft-adventure activities, or to spend lazy days hanging out in a floating village, we have them all designed and figured out for you.

Want to get more local experience out of your holiday in Thailand? Drop us an e-mail at to find out the tours or design one that best fit you!