Thailand has a long historic relationship with the majestic Elephant. It’s the national symbol of the country and as a result, tourism has played a dark role in how they are treated.
Over the years, attitudes toward ethical Elephant care have evolved drastically and because of that there are now dozens of options available. But now the problem is choosing one that is actually honest about the care that they give.
We chose to travel to Phitsanulok in the northern central region to visit a not well known Thai Elephant rescue centre called Sappraiwan Elephant Sanctuary.
Phitsanulok itself is an area that we love, full of good memories of our travels from the past. And Sappraiwan has 360 acres of jungle for just 6 elephants to roam everyday in a very natural habitat. So we made plans for our daughter Story’s first elephant meeting and hoped for the best outcome possible.
We can honestly say that the Sappraiwan Elephant experiences were the best we’ve ever felt. As a nature loving Vegan family with a daughter that cares more for animals than anything else on the planet, we can highly recommend this place as way to safely meet Asian elephants with the lowest realistic human impact.
We started with the granny Elephant food prep experience, to do this we had to prepare a large banana salad for Sang Dao (Yai). Sang Dao was a rescue elephant from the logging industry and because of her age she no longer has teeth. That means if she swallows the grass in the wild it gets caught in her intestines and she could die. So four times a day Yai is fed in a special area to keep her nourished, then she is allowed to roam. (The guide informed us that the small chain attached on her foot here is to encourage Yai to eat more in one sitting, much like a high chair for a baby, or she will get hungry and eat non digestible foods elsewhere which would harm her)
The next morning we went for the most amazing elephant walk, it felt so simple and wild. We followed 5 elephants through the jungle as they found their breakfast at their leisure.
Just seeing Story’s reaction to these Elephants was enough to make every penny we spent worth it. And now she has some extra special tiny moments to treasure forever with us.
Check out Sappraiwan Elephant Sanctuary ‘s website if you are planning a trip to Thailand yourself.
We weren’t paid to promote Sappraiwan and these opinions are our own. Hope you enjoy this video from Thailand.
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