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Reviewed 23 May 2017 via mobile

My husband and I visited ENP with very high hopes. We purchased a short park visit on the recommendation of a friend. We had to travel 20 mins from our hotel into the city and ended up being almost 30 minutes early due to some confusing emails with the actual start time. Then we had to wait quite a long time before finally being taken in a van and we sat around very confused while all the others waiting around left before us. Our tour guide seemed a bit disinterested in the tour so I think that took away from the experience a bit. We mostly just walked around, stood near some elephants, fed one or two, and then kept walking. We were under the impression we would see them bathe but we did not do that. While the short pair visit was plenty of time, I wish we had purchased a more interactive experience to feel like we really got a lot out of it. On a more positive note, it is great what ENP does to rescue and rehabilitate abused elephants. It is a really great place for them, I just wish we had gotten a bit more out of it.

Date of experience: May 2017
3  Thank Rachel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2017 via mobile

this is truely a great experience. Elephants, all rescues from very small babies to 90 year olds. About 70 elephants in total and you get to walk amongst them, wash them down and feed them. We had the opportunity visit in low season so it was not hectic as some have mentioned.

Just magic. And the work they do is so important,when you see the state the elephants were in when brought to the park and see them now - it is amazing and a testament to the workers, especially the elephant handlers. You know each elephant has the same dude with them for 11 hours per day. To see these men and the elephants together is just amazing. Sorry about the over use of the amazing word..... but it is needed in this case

If you come to Chiang Mai do not miss this experience

Date of experience: May 2017
Thank BonesMacca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2017 via mobile

I was expecting something different. The elephants still are used for please humans. Of course they can't go back to nature, they need to be feed. I thought they had a free life at the sanctuary but they don't. They follow a schedule to please the tourists: go to the right spot to have fruits from tourist, then go to the spot where they suppose to stay for people walking around the property and see the animals eating more, then they go to the river to have water on their body and people don't even care about their eyes, throw water on their eyes and the elephants keep cleaning it. It's sad to watch. In the end it's just one more way to get money from tourists. The well being of the elephants are secondary. I thought it will be tourists going around to see the elephants doing and going whatever they want, being free! We, tourists, should go by car to see them free, not walking around with a guide for each elephant making sure they are at the right spot and the correct time and pulling them to go here and there. That's not how a sanctuary suppose to treat their animals.
And keep the males on a cage it's another thing hard to watch. They should have space to come and go around.

Date of experience: May 2017
12  Thank 182lucianaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2017 via mobile

It is an elephant park where you feed, bath, and learn about abused elephants. Lunch and transportation was included. Visiting the elephant nature park was one of the most memorable travel experiences I have had traveling across the world. It is so sad the state of the Asian Elephants in Thailand, but it is wonderful to see these limited number of elephants living in a safe environment. Sadly, they can never be wild, or free to roam. They have might be in a sanctuary, but they still must perform for the tourist not in tricks or rides, but showing up daily for us to fawn over them, feed them, and give them baths that they don't really need. They have to show up so that the sanctuary can make money to feed them, and pay the staff, it really is a job for them. We were told they are not free just to wander at will, and eat when they want. They have a caregiver who keeps them on task for the day whether they want to see people that day or not. Don't get me wrong, this park is doing amazing things to care for and educate the public. Most of us will never get this close to an elephant in our lives, and they are beautiful. I had an amazing experience with an elephant with a broken leg, as I was scratching her neck, our guide said it was time to leave. I stopped, told her softly how beautiful she was, and went to leave. She briefly wrapped her trunk around my leg, and turned her trunk to me as if saying don't leave that felt really good. It was to me a magical moment that I will never forget. I am not sure how much the elephants enjoy their job, but the tourists enjoy the elephant encounters.

It is very reasonably priced to go, and truthfully I think they should charge more. I wish that they had better run gift shop with more merchandise, and a place to donate larger funds. If they did I never saw it. Their marketing could improve so much, there is such potential for fundraising that they are missing out on. I wish they had hand out pamphlets of the elephants info that each group would see that day, photo opportunities for people to purchase, and even t-shirts with digital pictures of the sanctuary or elephants on them in lots of sizes. The staff was great, and if I get back to Thailand I would visit again.

Date of experience: May 2017
Thank Travelwithnise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2017

The experience itself is really memorable. Plenty of face time with the remarkable elephants, and hotel pickup/drop-off was very convenient. I'm just not quite sure I understand why the price is the same for the abbreviated half-day program--seems the only difference is there isn't an opportunity to bathe the elephants.

The park is super-crowded and the schedule for visitors is a bit disorganized and lacking in any sort of structure. It's a long, meandering several hours in the heat with the guide, wandering around and looking at/following the elephants (with a very long lunch in the middle where our guide kind of disappeared). There is unlimited time and room for intimate photos with the elephants--so if that's your main goal here, you won't be disappointed.

I wonder if the visitor experience would be better for the price if the crowds were somewhat limited and there was more of an organized structure/schedule for the guests to follow. The park is a massive, complex operation and I would have appreciated the chance to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes, volunteer to help with various tasks as I saw others doing (I imagine they had booked a full-day or overnight program). I felt myself wishing the day was either a little shorter (and less expensive) or longer and more in depth. It was a slight letdown to make the long trip to the park and, after the brief elephant feeding session, feel like there wasn't much to do except follow the animals around and take photos.

There's a high standard of safety, with plenty of guides and handlers watching so that visitors don't get too close or startle the animals, and the vegetarian lunch has a lot of variety. Beware of the dogs on the property--they aren't friendly.

This was one of the costliest things I did in Thailand, and while I'm grateful to have had the experience, I'm not sure I'd do it again at this price point.

Date of experience: April 2017
5  Thank 247jond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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