For anyone who has visited Chiang Mai or Thailand one of the top things to do is visit an Elephant. Of course, there are so many Elephants parks and sanctuaries to experience here in Chiang Mai. It also depends on if you prefer the riding or non-riding experience. Regardless a lot of people come to Chiang Mai with the intention to interact with these beautiful animals.
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If you know me I have a deep profound love for elephants. Ever since I was young they’ve been my favorite animals, writing a speech about them in high school, and even getting an elephant tattoo. It’s their amazing connections amongst one another, their admiration for humans, and their emotions that make me adore them so much.
I’ve been lucky enough to experience elephants in a humane, natural setting right here in Chiang Mai. Elephant EcoValley is the new non-riding, eco-travel wilderness elephant adventure in Thailand. Now you can experience elephants up-close and personal while learning about their daily care, feeding, herbal treatments, heritage, and the profound relationship between these gentle giants and people.
Reasons to Visit Elephant EcoValley
EcoValley emphasizes a truly personal experience. They embrace the profound love between elephants and humans. They offer different activities to make everyone’s experience at EcoValley personalized and adventurous. From learning about the history of the animals at the culture museum to bathing the elephants, to learning how to make elephant poo into beautiful paper.
They use the plants and herbs cultivated in the meadows to make elephants daily herbal nutritional balls that aid in the elephant’s health. They work closely with Wildlife Research at Chiang Mai University to care for their elephants. EcoValley presents an ethical, eco-travel, experience for the elephants.
Elephant EcoValley lies in the lush green Maetaman Valley about an hour north of Chiang Mai next to the Huay Pa Rai Hilltribe Village where Karen people are free to live and continue their traditional customs: weaving, farming, and taking excellent care of elephants.
I recommend EcoValley for many reasons, it’s not just an elephant park where elephants are free. But also a place where you can learn about their daily care, history, culture, and so much more.
Some of the activities include elephant feeding, learning about their herbal treatment, elephant poo production, the elephant culture museum and water baths with the elephants.
It has been truly amazing watching the beginning works of EcoValley to what it is now. When you walk in you will be welcome to lush green grass, into the valley of 7 beautiful elephants walking around freely. It’s truly quite the experience, being greeted by the beautiful mountains, with elephants wandering around.
Feed the Elephants
These elephants love to eat! They spend about 18 hours per day eating, so I’m sure they’ll love to be fed to you. Feeding an elephant is so much fun, they’re super friendly. They’ll greet you at the deck waiting to be fed bananas, sugarcane, and other plants that are cultivated on the surrounding hills and meadows.
Elephant Poo Production
Since the elephants eat about 18 hours per day, that makes for a lot of elephant poo! In EcoValley they recycle the poo with their elephant poo production program. Through a process of transferring the raw fibers they clean, blend, ferment, boil, sift and dry the fibers to turn them into saa paper.
It’s quite the experience turning elephant poo into paper. I highly recommend the experience because you learn about how they process the fibers into paper, and you can do it too.
Elephant Culture Museum
Featuring Kham Kaew, a 69-year-old elephant who passed away but has joined them again in spirit and skeleton in her very own special exhibit. Here at the museum, you learn about elephant’s history, their culture, their current environment, and their relationship with humans.
Learning about their past, and present history allows us to create a better future for these animals. I’m a huge elephant lover if you can’t tell, so learning about their history and culture is truly amazing to learn about.
Right in the valley several plants are cultivated and used as ingredients in the herbal treatment for the elephants. These herbal balls are packed full of nutrients, rice, and carrots. You can watch how these are made, and make your own herbal balls to feed our elephants.
When I visited I was able to directly feed them by placing them into their mouths! It was incredibly neat because you can feel their tounges and they’re super friendly about it. It truly made my heart happy feeding them like this!
Water and Mudbath
Bathe the elephants in the mudbath in the upper valley, you can choose to get in with them or simply watch. If you’re adventurous and don’t mind getting a little dirty I definitely recommend getting in the water. A little mud never hurt anyone, right? Not to mention the elephants love the water and love to get in a water/mud war with you.
You also have the option to follow your own personal elephant for the day and hike up to the upper valley, where you’ll bathe the elephants.
Another activity is spending part of the day at the Huay Pa Rai Hilltribe village, which lies right next to eco-valley. The Karen village is known as the ‘long-neck’ women who wear rings around their necks. You can chat with the locals, play with the kids, snap portraits of women weaving beautiful handicrafts, men cultivating rice, and families living as they have for centuries.
Most hill tribe villages fled their homelands of Myanmar leaving behind tyranny and dangers.
You can see why this place has such a special place in my heart. I highly recommend a visit to EcoValley if you are ever in Chiang Mai for a truly unforgettable experience with elephants.
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