A few weeks ago, when my family were here, I took them to Maerim Elephant Sanctuary. Skye and I had been there before a few months ago and we really enjoyed it so I wanted them to have the same experience!
We literally booked our tickets the night before online which is great because a lot of places want you to book 24 hours in advance. We booked to do the full day because for the price it’s worth it to do the full instead of half day. We also had to let them know that we weren’t going to get a lift with them because we live about half an hour from Chiang Mai so we drove ourselves. A little note though, I would suggest getting a lift with the sanctuary because the roads leading up to it are extremely bumpy and was hard in a normal car. They will pick you up and bring you in a big tuk tuk!
We set off from ours to arrive for about 9am which was great because no-one else had got there yet so we got to chill and play with the elephants.
We then got changed into our mahout outfits which are great. We wear the blue because elephants can see blue the most! We then watched a welcome video and had our names written on us in Thai so the group leader and photographer knows our name. I love this idea as you can also see what your name in Thai is!
Then we filled all our pockets and bags up with bananas and took them in to see the elephants. They were great, swarming around us trying to get the bananas. You can even put the bananas straight into their mouths. The mahouts were so funny too, getting us involved with the elephants and even playing pranks on us and each other. One reason why I love this camp so much is because they don’t use bull hooks on their elephants. If they want their elephants to do something in particular they just shout louder and sometimes pat them on the bum to get them moving. These elephants also have collars but this is only because the camp is surrounded by banana plantations and the mahouts need a way to pull the elephants away if necessary.
When we were there they had 5 adult female elephants and one baby boy. They had all been rescued from either logging camps or the circus and one girl was new and still had some wounds healing on her foot from a logging camp. It’s so sad to see the torment these elephants go through and I still couldn’t believe that someone would want to do something like that to these beautiful creatures! They were currently raising some money to rescue a new elephant but they needed 3 million baht which is about £70,000! That’s where the money from donations and groups goes to!
After we fed them bananas they took us to a banana plantation of their own so that we could cut down the banana trees because elephants like the inside of banana trees. So we all took it in turns to cut off a bit of the tree to take back with us.
When we got back it was time for lunch! They teach you how to make your own noodles too. You put some noodles, cooked chicken and cabbage into a basket and dunk that into some broth for about 20 seconds. The food was actually so good and you could go back and eat as much as you wanted.
After dinner we trekked with the elephants to a little area and gave them our banana trees. Watching the elephants crunch the solid trees with their mouths was crazy! We then walked them all the way back to the camp and got straight into the mud bath! It’s so gross between your toes and to think that it’s pretty much mud and elephant poo and wee is so grim but putting it on the elephants is so fun! They love it! We went to war with each other though, throwing it and rubbing it on each others backs because it’s good for your skin. After that we had to take a group photo and throw it up in the air. After that it was a full on war and everyone was throwing it at each other. I just grabbed my mum’s hands and ran out of there but we still got covered!
Then we went into the water to wash it off the elephants. They love this part and just lie in the water as we wash the mud off them. And it was nice to finally get all the mud washed off ourselves.
After we were all clean we said goodbye to the elephants and thank you to the mahouts and then had a quick shower and went into the ‘human pool.’ We just chilled in there for a bit, chatting and playing with a ball. When we were out we got changed and had the chance to look at all the photos the photographer had taken. They were so great and definitely worth it if you go because he takes loooads of photos.
We chilled and chatted for a little bit after that and then we headed back home!
We had such an amazing day and I was so happy that I could take my family to experience the fun! Maerim Elephant Sanctuary is one of the best out there in my opinion. It’s kind to the elephants and I think it’s a really great price for what you get. We paid 2000 baht each for our tickets which comes to about £50 each and we were there from about 9ish-5ish which is a full day!
I cannot recommend this sanctuary enough and it definitely won’t be the last time I go!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Thanks for reading!