Thailand is known for being a hotspot for travelers, but visitors are loving more than just the temples, affordable activities, and friendly people. The majestic elephants are a must see and the Elephant Nature Park is the perfect space if you’re looking to be surrounded by these beauties.

Chiang Mai’s Elephant Nature Park has rescued over 200 of the gentle giants and although Thailand is a popular country to find the animal, the elephant population has dropped from 100,000 to a mere 3,000 in the last century. The massive decrease was caused by tourism, poaching, and human intrusion.

When it comes to human interaction at the Elephant Nature Park, they are all about loving.

“You know many tourists who have seen elephants in Thailand, they want to come and ride them,” said Sangdeaun “Lek” Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park. “But I think it’s very important to come here and care for elephants, rather than use the animals for entertainment.”

Visitors can stroll about the 250 acres with the larger than life creatures and even bathe, feed, or follow them about the jungle.

“Elephants teach me a lot,” says Sangdeaun. “They have this love that humans don’t have. A love for life, unconditional love — and this is what we have to learn from them.”

This sanctuary is not exclusive to just elephants. They also take pride in saving dogs, cats, birds, and the occasional buffaloes.

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