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Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Calgary, Canada
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Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

I'm having difficulty deciding between these two elephant sanctuaries. I've heard good things about both, but ENP seems to have more reviews and be more credible. We have decided to go with a smaller tour so that it is more intimate. The smaller tour prices for ENP seem very high ($220 CAD) versus the smaller tour with EJS ($130 CAD), and I'm torn.

For those of you that have been to one or both of these sanctuaries, can you please tell me your thoughts?

63 replies to this topic
Sunshine Coast...
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1. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Always an emotive issue on this forum!

I have been to a number of elephant experiences ( not elephant jungle sanctuary), and I have tried to be objective wherever I have been. So glad you are doing your due diligence when it comes to animal interaction in Asia, even though I love visiting SEAsia, the lack of animal welfare support still affects me deeply.

I can say that I have been to ENP on numerous visits and have loved it. I have met with Lek a number of times and found her to be truly inspirational and humble. Everyone has an opinion, but whilst I know it is not the cheapest place, they have rescued not just elephants but a wide variety of animals.

The herd is now very large, over 70 elephants and the difference in the park from my first visit many years ago to currently, is just incredible. It costs a lot of money to support a business of this size, so I am always happy to support this.

Having said that and to be objective, I am returning shortly and will be visiting a couple of newer and smaller ventures that offer ethical experiences. I want to also support those who are trying to bring a change in regard to the ethical treatment of elephants. As long as there is no riding of the elephants, then I am happy.

As far as which one to choose? I know ENP and the work they do, so can totally recommend them. If the other company offers up close and personal interaction, no riding, tricks or shows, then this is also a good option.

London, United...
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2. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

I have never been to ENP but I know it is the more publicised one and certainly bigger.

I have been to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, newer and growing, and it was the most memorable experience. It is totally ethical, no riding and no tricks, the elephants are rescued and loved and cared for; elephants eat 300-400 kgs of food a day so it is very expensive to maintain them. Tourists that pay to go and look after them for the day are absolutely vital to the elephants' welfare.

During the day, you learn how to interact with them, you feed them, you prepare medicines for them, you give them a mud scrub and you splash about in the water with them; the whole group I was with (young and older) said it was the best day they had had in their lives!

In my opinion, the difference between the two organisations is simply that the ENP is older and more established so they can afford to charge a higher price, the EJS is still young and needs to attract tourists. They are however growing very fast as they started with just one but now have 9 small camps in Chiang Mai. They believe it is easier to successfully manage small camps where the elephants can roam relatively freely without too much risk of being stolen (they sometimes wear bells so as to be heard as they wander off!).

Whichever you choose, you will have a wonderful day.

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Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai
Elephant Jungle...
3,543 Reviews
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
London, United...
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3. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

kelseydawn4 I forgot to say that you must do the full day tour as time passes very quickly when you're there and you'd miss out and regret it if you only did a half day.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Thank you both very much for your very helpful replies!

@MelbourneCountrygirl I appreciate your response, thank you! It sounds like you have had positive visits ENP, I am so happy to hear. It seems like a great organization. May I ask if you joined the full-day tour, with the larger group, or one of the smaller tours? I wonder if the size of the group changes the amount of interaction and time with the elephants.

@Susie S, I am thinking of booking the 'One Day Walk with the Elephants' with EJS which is a max of 10 people. It's a longer day, with pickup at 6am and drop off at 6:30pm and it sounds like it visits a few of the camps. I've e-mailed them to ask for a little bit more detail but I didn't get a lot of information back (I'll try again). Have you been on this one before? elephantjunglesanctuary.com/one-day-walk-wit…

London, United...
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5. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Kelseydawn4 no, I didn't do the walk with elephants, I just did the full day and we certainly interacted with them a lot; we fed them, prepared their medications, we gave them a mud scrub and we bathed them. As far as I know, the camps aren't close to each other so I doubt you'd visit more than one.

I honestly think that, whichever you choose, you will have an amazing time. Ultimately, I think that they are probably all very similar; there were probably about 10-12 of us in my group and nobody felt that the group was too big, we all had more than enough interaction with all the elephants. The guides were extraordinary, their dedication and love for their elephants was impressive and I will certainly choose the same again next time I am in Chiang Mai.

As I mentioned previously, EJS is considerably smaller than ENP so it doesn't get booked up so quickly. Just go with your gut feeling!

Best of luck

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Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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for Dubai, Chiang Mai
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6. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Susie S, I'm trying to find out what other elephant parks are ethical, in addition to ENP. How do you know the elephants at EJS are indeed rescued? From my understanding that's the claim of most of the parks, even the ones with shows. I'm trying to find out which ones are telling the truth.

I was recommended Bees Elephant Sanctuary as an ethical place by a former employee of ENP:

http://www.bees-elesanctuary.org/

Bendigo, Victoria...
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7. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

I too have heard of Bees, is that the Australian girl who married a Thai?

I think i will research this some more as i would like a different experience from ENP next trip :)

Chiang Mai, Thailand
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8. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

I think so Lynne. I don't know the nationality of the girl but I know it's a young woman married to a Thai. I'm planning to just ride over there and some point and see what it's like.

Geelong, Australia
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9. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Yes BEES is the one with the Aussie lady married to Thai man.

Sunshine Coast...
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10. Re: Elephant Nature Park vs. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Kelseydawn4,

I always do the normal full day visit at ENP. Whilst.there are lots of people, it is very well organised as you are in smaller groups with your own guide. This year there were 10 in our group, last year only 7. Our guide was fantastic and took us to all parts of the park to interact with so many elephants, I lost count how many we got up close and personal with. ENP are well versed with tourist visitors and have streamlined the day so it never appears as busy. The only time I would say is very busy is at lunch time when everyone comes together to eat the amazing spread they put on.

Yes, there is BEES and there is BLES , 2 different places. Read the reviews carefully, so you are aware of what you are going to. I applaud you for the research you are doing.

You can join one of ENP more personalised tours which are considerably dearer. I cannot comment on them as I have never been on one. Good luck with your decision, standing with elephants and interacting with them is both amazing and humbling.

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