Visit The Elephant Nature Park:
Elephants are a sign of well being and prosperity in Thailand. They are found everywhere from t-shirts to scarves to notebooks to mementos. But the number of elephants have rapidly decreased in the last 100 years from 1,00,000 to merely 5,000. The difference in numbers is highly shocking. This Elephant Rescue Program was set up by one woman,Lek to mainly rescue Elephants (she also rescues cats and dogs) who have been traumatized at the hands of human beings.Some of the elephants had mental illnesses due to the psychological effects of the trauma they had been through. One elephant was blind, but she had found a best friend in another elephant who would take her around the park and take care of her all the time. There was another one, with a broken leg and some were even victims of drug abuse in the past. They were fed chemicals to work faster at sites. It is horrifying to even imagine, that human beings can be so cruel to another helpless, living creature that cannot speak to convey it’s pain.
The Nature Park is huge and beautiful with a vast landscape. You can feed the Elephants,wash them in the river and then watch them roll over in a mud pile and blow their trunk full of mud at each other. It’s an absolute delight to watch these animals recovering from their difficulties and how they support one another to cope with life. It is an experience which cannot be put to words, you have to be there, to be able to experience it for yourself.
They also have a volunteering program incase, any tourist is interested. You can stay there and help them in their daily activities. I wish I had known about this previously and signed up for the volunteering program. This place is so beautiful and peaceful that I would surely plan to volunteer if I would go back to Chiang Mai. It will leave you inspired and spell bound that one woman had such a noble vision which she truly believed in and left no stone unturned to put it into action. This entire trip would cost you 2,500 baht, from the travel to visit to the activities inside the elephant nature park and the vegetarian buffet. It may sound a little expensive but it’s totally worth it!