Some things about the tourism industry are really bothering me. If you ride around Chiang Mai for example, or take a red cab through town, you see tourist attractions advertised everywhere. Next to visiting the zoo, there’s petting tigers, riding elephants, a night safari, snake shows and monkey parks just to name a few. Thailand is such a beautiful country, but no one seems to care about its animals. As long as they can bring money in, it’s all fine.
If you’re into animals and would love to meet some, I do have good news for you. There’s a couple out there that are not about entertainment, caged animals and making a shitload of money. Like this one park we visited a couple of months ago: the Elephant Nature Park. There’s no circus, they’re not locked in cages or chained and you won’t be riding them, instead you’ll meet some of the elephants while walking through the park, feed them, bathe with them, learn about them and not unimportant: sponsor a good cause.
An elephant park that is a good cause? Yep. As many of the Thai elephants get hurt in the entertainment businesses, tourist attractions or logging (basically slavery), the Elephant Nature Park gives home to many rescued elephants. Some of them are blind, others have broken legs or very bad wounds from landmines and mistreatment. In this rescue center they get a chance for a better life. They get the medical care they need, are surrounded by their friends and family and treated with respect by the volunteers and employees working in the park.
The 2.500 bath (about 60 euros) you pay as an entrance fee is a bit of a budget killer, but think what it does for the elephants rather than your entertainment. For this price, you’ll get a van bringing you to the park (and back of course), a whole day of elephant fun and not unimportant: a vegan lunch buffet. Yep. You heard that right. I heard the guide say to someone in the group: ‘yes vegan. because why eat animals if you love them?’. He’s got that right! There’s also volunteering weeks if you’re interested!
OH HEY! We also made a fun video which will be up soon! Keep an eye on the elsewhere facebook page!