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Maerim Elephant Sanctuary
Ranked #2 of 44 things to do in Mae Rim
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Maerim Elephant Sanctuary - "Where elephants are loved and respected."
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

In the morning, my family waited for the pickup truck for quite a long time, and the sun was big and it was really hot, so we made two confirmations to the sanctuary. At this point, I thought my trip isn’t going to be good, but gods, I was wrong.
When we arrived, the staff provided us tea and water, and everyone looked hot but happy. The staff (volunteers are from America so they can understand English perfectly) told us all the elephants were rescued from a circus or a riding camp, where they were badly beaten and mistreated. Here, they are properly treated and well-fed. However, the price for elephants goes higher and higher, so it was harder for this sanctuary to rescue the elephants, which is why they need your support.
We (there were like, 20 people) fed the elephants (there were four, three adult females and one baby male, playful but gentle) with buckets of bananas, which they consumed so fast that the camera couldn’t quite catch. Then, we made ourselves some Thai noodle soup, and went to chopped down banana trees and fed the elephants their tree trunk lunch. I could tell that they enjoyed it!
Next, we took the elephants for a walk. On the way, all four elephants kept “sweeping” the grass beside the road, and if they could smile I swear they did. We arrived the muddy river and all started grabbing mud and throwing to the elephants. We went to another river (clean) and all plunged into it, washing away the mud. Hey, it was really fun! (Except that someone got bitten by ants.)
At the end of the day, we helped ourselves with spicy papaya salad, and the little monkey they kept was really hyper, jumping over the tables and knocking things off. So, we ended our day with chopsticks all over the floor (because of the monkey) !
Elephants are expensive to buy and keep, but they really need our help. Visit the Maerim Elephant Sanctuary and help them! (Remember to buy all the photos! The photographer is great)

1  Thank Somebody01251
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (550)
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"mud bath"
in 49 reviews
"noodle soup"
in 44 reviews
"banana trees"
in 17 reviews
"full day tour"
in 14 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 38 reviews
"rescued elephants"
in 8 reviews
"chiang mai"
in 56 reviews
"intimate experience"
in 6 reviews
"best days of my life"
in 5 reviews
"flash drive"
in 5 reviews
"logging camps"
in 5 reviews
"beautiful elephants"
in 8 reviews
"happy elephants"
in 8 reviews
"elephants bananas"
in 9 reviews
"cooking class"
in 9 reviews
"baby monkey"
in 6 reviews
"love elephants"
in 6 reviews

17 - 21 of 551 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This ended up being one of my favourite days in Thailand ! The people here care about the elephants and have really made a good home for them here. The day experience was amazing, swimming with the elephants and feeding them.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

You must go, it was so amazing ! And the staff are the nicest People I have Met in Thailand. I took the 2-days trip, and i got so much more for the money. And it was only my friend and I hwo was sleeping there, and it was so fun. You have to do that! If you do that you also can spend as much time at you want with the elefant. I will say 2 data wasn’t enough, i will come back.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank Celina W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I was disappointed with my full day visit to Maerim elephant sanctuary and even more so their response when I expressed my disappointment afterwards.

At booking the local agent contacted the sanctuary and was told that there would be a maximum of 16 people in the group. With such good reviews I had high hopes for my visit.

On the day there turned out to be 26 people in the group and just 3 elephants (one of whom was a baby). As you can imagine, with a ratio of 8+ people per elephant, it was difficult to get close to or interact with the elephants.

Furthermore, with such large numbers of people wanting to touch, feed and take photos with the elephants this is surely overwhelming for them. The elephants had 3 groups of tourists visiting them that day and as soon as our group had finished bathing with them, they were met by the next large group of tourists for the same cycle of petting/feeding/playing/bathing. These elephants are definitely still working.

I left feeling that I had been mis-sold this trip. The next day I fed back to the the tour agent I had booked through as she had asked me to do so. She was shocked by my experience and contacted the sanctuary. She was told that a partial refund wasn't possible as I had completed the visit and I was told that they commonly have 25/26 people in a group and that the boss would not do anything about my complaint.

This experience and response gives the impression that the sanctuary is prioritising profit over elephant welfare and the satisfaction of their visitors.

Thank katie-lou149
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
busabong, Owner at Maerim Elephant Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thank you for your review. We are sorry you did not enjoy your experience. We want to reply to a few of your concerns. As of a few weeks ago we had 5 elephants. Our 50 year old Heidi (who endured a lifetime of abuse at a logging camp) has unfortunately recently passed away. Also during your visit we had to keep our baby and his mother separated as the baby is being trained to stop breast feeding gradually. Since the baby is usually our guests favorite, we kept him with the 2 other females during the day before he returned to his mother at night.

We are sorry there were only 3 elephants during your visit due to unforeseen circumstances, but we now are back to our normal roster of 5 as we have as of today rescued another from a riding camp.

In regards to your concern about our elephants overworking. In our tours we simply provide them food, exercise and bathing each time. Elephants need to eat 16 hours every day and they also need exercise. We try our best to keep them healthy and happy.

Again we sincerely apologize that you did not enjoy your visit and we welcome all input from our guests. Thank you for your feedback.

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Reviewed 2 weeks ago

It was amazing to spend time with the elephants, feeding them, playing with them in the mud and the river and walking with them, really impressive. There was no hurry, so we could enjoy in a very relaxing and special environment.

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Thank strek33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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