Sleepover at Elephant Sanctuary | Pt 1.

It’s taken me a long time to write this – it’s so difficult trying to sum up these two days into one blog! But one thing I can say, is that I feel very privileged to have had this experience, and it’s one I think anyone should be able to do at least once in their life.

Staying at an elephant sanctuary in Northern Thailand allows you to to feed, play and bathe with these gentle giants. The sanctuary we visited is split into different camps, and we were put in Camp 1, a hidden valley in the mountains that felt like something from the Land before Time. I might be biased, but we saw another 4 camps throughout our trip, and Camp 1 was by far the most remote and the most beautiful. A fast flowing river carved it’s way through the bottom of the valley, rushing over rocks and spilling out into large, lazy pools that were made for jumping in, shaded by banana groves.

The elephants themselves were nothing like I expected. But then, I don’t know what I expected really. They were huge! I was a little wary at first because of their size, but you quickly realise how gentle and aware they are. They are happiest when being fed (aren’t we all) and are more than happy to chill there while you stroke them/give them a hug/be overly needy with them. It was heartbreaking to think of what abuse these elephants had been through, but so rewarding to see how much love and affection they now get.

After a full day of elephant loving, we journeyed to another camp back down the mountains, where we would stay overnight. Our accommodation was a shared wooden hut, which sounds awful, but was actually really cosy, and felt like a den! There were only about 8 of us staying overnight, which made for a fun evening camp of food, drinks and games. Come 9pm, we were all ready to drop, and with weary bodies we climbed into bed. The next day would bring us jungle treks, natural water slides and of course, more elephant adventures.

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  • Suma Shah

    Oh this is such an amazing experience! The camp in lush jungles of Thailand along with elephants to play along with makes it a perfect trip. I would love to visit the elephant sanctuary just enjoy a day with elephants.

    • Definitely recommend it! The location is absolutely stunning too 🙂

  • I have heard mixed things about what they do to the elephants at these sanctuaries. I guess since you stayed there, you could see that they were well treated. That is actually good to know. I wouldn’t mind spending some time with these gentle creatures myself.

    • Yes, I had heard the same too. I’ll talk about it in a later post about reservations I have with some sanctuary practices, but on the whole, they provide a real alternative to elephant riding. They have a life filled with so much love and affection now, it’s beautiful to be part of that.

  • Marlies Wolters

    Sleeping at an elephant Sanctuary must be such a better experience than to just quickly visit. Are they rescued elephants? Bathing them must be such a connecting experience. Your outfit matches the Thai vibe!

    • Yes they are! They have all been rescued from the tourism trade/logging/circus work. Haha it does match! That’s because they gave us traditional woven Karen shirts to wear for the day 🙂

  • Aww what a great post! I’m glad the elephants are well treated in this sanctuary – I had a very similar experience in Thailand in the year 2014. My favorite part was being able to bath with the elephant, I was so excited 🙂 I didnt get to sleepover though haha Safe travels! – Ella

    • Thanks Ella! Yes it’s amazing isn’t it, I think the mud bath and river bathing was my favourite part too. The elephants loved it too 🙂

  • Oh God! You got me hooked in the topic itself! For someone who loved elephants like me, this is just so awesome! Getting to hug and kiss these huge mammals would be such an awesome thing to do!

    • It is! If you love elephants you would LOVE the sanctuary. It’s such a respectful place too, they listen to the animals and give them lots of love and affection. It’s a wonderful place 🙂

  • Marcie

    It’s so amazing that you got this opportunity! I really wanted to do this when we went to Thailand, but couldn’t make it up there. This post makes me want to bring my kids here in a few years so they can experience this!

    • Your kids would love it! There was a Swedish family in my group with kids and you could just tell they were having a life changing experience. So amazing to see. I hope you make it up there with your kids one day

  • I’m always wary of animal tourism and always try to go with reputable tour operators. That being said, the elephants here look well cared after. I’m sure you all have so many memories to treasure!

    • Yes, I usually avoid animal tourism like the plague. But I had heard great things about the sanctuary, and although there are elements that make me wary for it’s future (I’m going to cover that in a later blog post), it is an infinitely more comfortable, relaxed and loved life these elephants now lead. Lots of memories to last a lifetime that’s for sure.

  • Lisa Rivera

    It’s good to know there are places where the animals are treated better. I was so disappointed when I went to Thailand and saw all the elephant shows, rides etc. I know better now, and will never contribute to that industry again. These animals are just magnificent!

    • I know, it’s heartbreaking to see. I do believe the elephant shows and rides will eventually die out as more and more people realise the abuse it entails. But it takes time unfortunately. They are indeed magnificent creatures!

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↠ a travelogue of adventures ↠ travelling the world with my love and working as we go. these are our stories.

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