Has anyone been to Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai? Im starting a volunteer placement on Mon 2nd Feb -if anyone's done it any advice would be be great.
Also -i have 3 days before starting with the elephants -(Fri/Sat/Sun)-would you recommend i go straight to Chiang Mai, or spend a couple days in Bangkok?
#1 JenW has been a member since 9/1/2009. Posts: 4
Do you mean the Elephant Centre near Lampang? There's a few elephant parks around, so if you can post some more info about the one you're headed to you may get some better responses.
As for the days beforehand, I'd spend them in Chiang Mai
It’s in the Mae Taeng Valley, about an hour north of the city , but they have offices in Chaing Mai where they pick you up from. The website is http://www.elephantnaturepark.org
It’d be good to hear from anyone else who may be there same time, or has volunteered recently.
Now just the decision of where to stay!
#3 JenW has been a member since 9/1/2009. Posts: 4
I am starting a volunteer placement there on the 2nd Feb also, just for one week. I will be heading to Chang Mai on 28th I think as I want to see around there and the surrounding areas as I've heard its really nice. If you want a bit of madness then maybe hang out in Bangkok,it's good fun but there seems to be loads to see around Chang Mai. I am volunteering at the Gibbon Project in Phuket at the moment. I have heard only good things about the elephant nature park and I can't wait to go! Have no idea where a good place to stay in Chang Mai is - if you find out,let me know!
#4 hayleyrees27 has been a member since 14/1/2009. Posts: 2
Great to hear from someone else who's going to be there at same time! I have emailed Julies guest house as that seems to have good reviews - decided to go straight to Chiang Mai so will be there Friday 30th - if you want to catch up over the weekend let me know!
#5 JenW has been a member since 9/1/2009. Posts: 4
Anything with the word "NATURE" in it in Thailand usually has an element of "con" in it......
Volunteering to work with animals is frequently a very lucrative way of getting gullible people to pay money into a shabby operation. They claim to be doing great works and the people who volunteer often know no better and accept the word of the establishment they are "volunteering" for (who, of course, claim to be experts in their field).
In the mean time, they hand over lots of cash for second rate accommodation and food, whilst thinking the extra money is going to the animals.....
Those who come with a little knowledge are usually weeded out BEFORE they arrive or made to feel uncomfortable about blowing the whistle on a place.
#6 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
Ah well thanks for the advice but i have done lots of research and can't find anything negative at all. I will update once I have been there.
#7 JenW has been a member since 9/1/2009. Posts: 4
Hi, I have to say that this park comes on personal recommendation from a number of people, one that works in Thailand a lot so I dont think there will be any sort of 'scam' going on (hope not anyway!)
Jen , can you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I have so many log ins for different things, it has taken me ages to get in to here. I have a place to stay, soemone I met is arranging it for me at a good price, will be there on 29th or 30th. Anyway, contact me via hotmail if poss.
#8 hayleyrees27 has been a member since 14/1/2009. Posts: 2
This park is legit. The founder is a Thai woman called Lek. She has appeared many times on TV and has been interviewed by several magazines about her conservation work with elephants. The stories about the elephants she has rescued and given a new lease of life do not strike me as the work of a conman (or conwoman in this case!). Moreover if you go to the park, you will find the elephants are very well cared for and no attempt is made to exploit them - no elephant rides and no-one selling bananas at exorbitant prices to feed them.
#9 thaiyaikit has been a member since 20/9/2008. Posts: 32
Yes - It seems that this place is one that one doesn't need to worry about.
However please baer in mind that there is a huge number of places in thailand that bandy about words like "green" "environment" "nature" etc without so much as a by-your-leave to the reality of these words - they are simply used to attract customers......
#10 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
I've been to Elephant Nature park twice now, and it's totally legit. You get to feed, pet and bathe the elephants in the river. However there is no circus shows, there is no rides, or anything remotely close to that. Lek, the founder, rescues elephants and provides them with a home. You get to learn about each of the elephants and you get an opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in a more natural enviroment. ENP has been recognized worldwide by such organizations as Time Magazine, National Geographic, PAWS, Animal Planet, and Humane Society of the United States.
As for whether to stay in Bangkok or Chiang Mai beforehand... we loved Chiang Mai! So much to do and see, and in many ways more "Thai" than Bangkok. However we aren't big city people so Chiang Mai just suited us better. :)
Hope this helps!
#11 Halilee has been a member since 4/5/2008. Posts: 11
No need to worry about Elephant Nature Park.. its a GREAT place.. I havent volunteered but been on day trips twice. I know a girl who did the volunteer program and she LOVED it...
One accommodation suggestion if you are looking is CM Blue House. I have stayed there everytime and I love it. Tim and Tony who run it and their staff are really great and you can get a room for about 350 baht. Clean, aircon or fan (aircon extra 300 baht from memory), tv, fridge, hot water... great location.. www.cmbluehouse.com
Julies is also meant to be about the same!