If you love animals – Elephant Nature Park,  elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand is an absolute must.

Ran by Lek Chailert – who has been named Asian Hero of the Year by Times Magazine, because of her amazing achievements and tenacity to educate on the hideous tourist trap of riding elephants. The park itself has an array of awards, including from the Smithsonian.

Elephant Nature Park is a must see – I love animals, the cruelty of riding elephants is all over Thailand, it is heartbreaking. This place gives those elephants a happy ending, rescuing them wherever possible and educating people on the sad reality that these animals are often left disabled because tourists ride on them and their spirits have been ‘broken’ in the cruellest ways to allow their owners to make money from them.

The elephants here live a happy life, it is amazing to watch them feed and play. I’m struggling to put it into words because they roam free, without a care in the world and if you’re lucky enough to see the amazing relationship Lek has with them, it will blow your mind. She is so small and these elephants put her under their trunks, play with her and can pick her out of a crowd, it is absolutely magical to see. It gets booked up so far in advance, so try and book before you get to Thailand. You can do day trips or stay longer and help them look after the elephants, dogs, buffalos and cats that all live there!

We will definitely be back to try and share our love of animals with RLT. Transport is arranged as part of the package and there is a booking office in Chiang Mai. As a bonus Lou Carpenter from Neighbours does the video intro on the bus!

I probably haven’t sold it to you, because seeing is everything with this one. Visit their website to see the amazing things they do, you can even sponsor an elephant if you have no plans to go to Thailand soon!