Whilst we were travelling around Thailand with Akaryn Hotel Group, we really wanted to visit an elephant sanctuary! We wanted to visit an ethical one, one where there were no elephant shows and no elephants were ridden.
We were picked up from our hotel lobby (Akyra Manor Chiang Mai) at 8:30h. It’s about a 45 minute drive from the hotel. You are transported in a very modern mini van which is very spacious and comfy! In total there were 10 in our party – the places are limited so everyone can be involved and enjoy the experience.
Lanna Kingdom Elephant Sanctuary have a total of 5 elephants. Although one is currently in the hospital so we only got to meet 4. They are rescued elephants from working/riding camps and the circus. They are all such sweethearts – although Lanna (the 2-year old baby) was the cheekiest of them all! Her nickname is Spicy Lanna because of it hahaha!
How our morning looked like:
1. Arrive at the sanctuary and meet the elephants.
When we arrived at the sanctuary, we were given clothes and shoes to wear – all of our stuff went into a locker, except for our cameras as there would be plenty of opportunities for pictures! I loved how the mahouts (the elephant carers/keepers) were constantly taking pictures and capturing all the happiness!
After getting changed, we had the chance to say hello to the elephants and they just LOVE saying hello and giving hugs to us! We didn’t realise that they were so gentle and friendly.
2. Learn more about the elephants and the sanctuary.
After meeting the 4 elephants, we were greeted by Mr. Pop (the founder of Lanna Kingdom Elephant Sanctuary) and he gave us a brief talk about what they do, etc.
3. Feed the elephants.
We had all been given a basket with bananas to feed the elephants. After you’ve given the banana, don’t forget to give them some love and say “DeeDee”.
4. Collect MORE food for them and feed it to them!
Fun fact, did you know that elephants eat about 150+kg of food per day?? The whole time we were with the elephants they were munching away on something haha!
5. Prepare their medicine/vitamin balls for the day!
To help with the elephant’s digestion, the sanctuary give the elephants a medicine/vitamin ball every day – we made these! These balls contain tamarind, but as elephants have a HUGE sweet tooth, they mix it together with bananas and a sugar cane!
6. Give the elephants a mud bath.
They loved getting pampered by all of us and couldn’t get enough of their mud bath! Some of them were just sitting and relaxing whilst others couldn’t stop rolling around haha.
7. Bathe the elephants and wash the mud off.
After their much loved mud bath it’s time to wash them down. They LOVE to play in the water!!
After the bath, it was time to moisturize their skin – to help protect it. Using a cloth, we moisturized the skin using a water and tamarind solution.
8. Have lunch and watch the elephants eat (again haha) and roam freely.
After such a fun and pleasant morning, we all had a shower and got changed back into our clothes to have lunch. We were served Pad Thai, fresh fruit and some home made rice cookies! Everything was delicious, in fact the Pad Thai was one of the best I had on this trip!
We’re really glad to have visited this sanctuary and seen how happy these elephants are. This is by far one of our favourite experiences we’ve ever had. After a not so great experience in Sri Lanka with elephants, it was nice to see there are people out there trying to save these endangered animals and only want the very best for them!
PLEASE – if you visit Thailand (or any other SE Asian country), DO NOT support elephant riding tours! It is so much nicer to do the right thing and see these beautiful animals being taken care of properly. To see how happy they are in a natural enviroment.
Thank you for reading!