Chiang Mai, Thailand: Dumbo Elephant Spa

IMG_0576Elephants!! After a visit to the Dumbo Elephant Spa, my new favorite animal has to be an elephant. These amazing creatures are so loving and caring and I feel so blessed to have been able to spend some time with them.

Before my trip to Thailand it was on my bucket list to interact and possibly ride an elephant. Lots of research went into the different options I had to check this off my list. Upon gathering my information, I decided to go against riding an elephant. Elephants aren’t meant to carry heavy things on their backs due to the way their spines are shaped. I wanted to find a place where I could interact with one (fingers crossed one of those elephants could possibly be a baby). This is where Dumbo Elephant Spa comes in!IMG_0107

This wildlife sanctuary was brought to my attention through a friend who discovered this location
through a fellow world traveler on Instagram.  This location invited guests to “Join our fun day with elephants in our remote village near Chiang Mai. Mud-bathing, Elephant showering in the river, feeding and playing with them.” They are true to their word. I had the opportunity to give an elephant a mud bath, shower an elephant in the river, feed an elephant, and play with an elephant.

One of the trainers picked us up from our hotel and drove us up the mountain to their sanctuary. The drive was about 90 mins from where we were and we did have a little pit stop to get some snacks. Once we arrived, we put our belongings down under a covered area and went over to feed the elephants some bananas, bamboo, and papayas. There were four elephants we got to interact with. Two mother elephants and two baby elephants. One baby elephant was 10 months old while the littlest one was just 2 months old. The littlest one loved to cuddle. If you bent down/squatted to eye level he would try to push you over so he could cuddle. The other baby loved to eat. He found one of the crates of food and just made himself at home looking for every bit of fruit and bamboo.

IMG_0061After feeding them we played for a bit. A trainer had a soccer ball and the 10 month old elephant jumped right in and kicked the ball around with us. Once play time was done, we had some lunch and a quick nap. The nap was perfect because there was more fun to be had soon after that. Once we woke up from our naps we changed into our bathing suits and went to have some fun in the mud with the elephants. After our mud baths we had water baths in the river followed by more feeding and play time before leaving.

Speaking with the trainers these elephants were once used to transport materials to the villages. Now that there are vehicles these elephants are no longer needed. These elephants are in some degree domesticated but not like the dogs and cats we are accustomed to at home. They can’t roam free like they use to because of the growth of the civilized population in the country. The Dumbo Elephant Spa does not believe in training these elephants to be ridden as a tourist attract. They contribute to the rehabilitation of these elephants and help to educate their visitors who want to connect with the local wildlife and nature.

I highly recommend Dumbo Elephant Spa to anyone planning a visit to the Chiang Mai area! I will definitely go back for another visit the next time I find myself in Thailand!

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