ELEPHANT NATURE PARK, SATURDAY NIGHT MARKET, NIMMANHAEMIN ROAD: CHIANG MAI, THAILAND (DAY 5)
This is day 5 of 20 days in Southeast Asia. A day at the Elephant Nature Park meeting the herd and feeding them fruits and playing with them in the river. We also try durian, khao soi curry, sausage, mango and sticky rice and more at the Saturday Night Market, plus an evening with some frozen beers and a rooftop bar in the Nimman area.
The rest of the trip:
Start here if you haven’t read:
Day 1: Golden Buddha, Yaowarat, Banglamphu
Day 2: Wat Pho, Bangkok National Museum, Wat Arun
Day 3 & 4: Jim Thompson House, Snake Farm, overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, plus a Thai cooking class
Good morning, it’s our second day in Chiang Mai. We are going to visit Elephant Nature Park today the single day visit. We were picked up around 8am at our guest house. We were told we’d be dropped back around 5:30pm, so we packed up ready to go for the whole day.
The drive was about an hour and a half with a visit to a rest stop. There were probably 5 other folks in the van with us—a party of 4 traveling together and a younger guy on a solo trip.
On the drive in we watched a film about the Elephant Nature Park, the founder and how it all was started. The film talks about the ways that elephants are found in the wild, separated from their mothers, and then abused into submission and domestication. Many of the elephants at the Elephant Nature Park came from riding camps, circuses and street performing, or were injured by land minds. But even more than elephants live at the Elephant Nature Park. They have over 400 dogs and water buffalo too.
Our group was taken to a designated table where we left our stuff and waited a little until it was time to feed some elephants!
We waited by a huge bucket of bananas and watermelons for the next herd of elephants to stop by.
This family came right up and stuck their trunks through the bars and elegantly scooped the watermelons and bananas from the tip of their trunks into their mouths. So delightful.
After we had a chance to walk down around the property with our guide and we got to meet all the families. The new elephants come to the park and socialize a little with each herd and wait to see which herd accepts them. Elephants are very social so they form new families even if they aren’t biologically related! So sweet.
She would take some grass and flick it around to get the dirt off and straighten it in her trunk and then put it into her mouth. Really impressive stuff.
This post is going to have a lot of elephants ahah.
And doggos! There’s a lot of dogs roaming the elephant’s space but mostly hanging to the side with the human companions. Each elephant has at least one person assigned to hang out with it, follow it and make sure it stays safe. Especially the blind ones! Don’t want them wandering too far…
This girl used to work at a circus and was controlled with a metal hook that actually cut a hole through her ear. 😦 But now she’s got a beautiful little flower in its place.
These are a few of the blind herd, they hang out together under close supervision. We were told that camera flashes from shows can damage their eyes.
Our guide knew every elephant by name, it was really nice to get to hear each one’s story of how they got to the Elephant Nature Park.
Lunch break, buffet style. Everything made on site!
We had some lunch time to have water, food, and use the restrooms. Also got to wander and see all the cats and dogs sleeping nearby. We were also told that if we had clothes to change into that we didn’t mind getting wet we should do it then.
A few of the elephants were by the river side as a few in the background were just playing in the water.
The elephants had some fruit in a basket to entertain them while they were cooled down with the river water.
Really terrible aim with the bucket ahah.
Elephant skin felt dry and wrinkly and thick but also had little sparse coarse hairs. I’ll never forget!
A few elephants that loved sticky rice got some special treats.
It started raining as we were out meeting more of the herds.
It didn’t rain for very long but it made the everything very atmospheric
We also visited the medical area where a few elephants were there for monitoring.
After the rain this last family we met was playing in the mud.
Little babies playing with the mud and scratching their backs
So humbled to spend all day wtih the elephants. Thank you, elephants!
On the way out we stopped by the dog rescue.
A lot of the dogs were rescued from horrible flooding down in the South of Thailand. Many dogs were left on their own as owners had to evacuate so volunteers were on the ground to rescue them and bring them back to the sanctuary. Others came from puppy mills or other unfortunate circumstances.
We were told a lot of these little ones were rejected dogs from puppy mills that were deemed ugly or weird looking. I wanted to take them all!!!!
Took a lot to not adopt him on the spot.
Goodbye, doggos. Time to head back to Chiang Mai proper. What an amazing day.
The Elephant Nature Park bus couldn’t drop us back at the guesthouse because the Saturday Night Market on Wualai Road was already going.
There were all kinds of stalls—food, souveniers, clothes, kitchen and home stuff, and even more food.
Zach can’t say no to a dumpling
A view down the street with the crowds
Bao and other fried noodle goodies
All our goodies. Trying out durian, khao soi curry, the pork bao, and sausage.
THE BIGGEST PORK BUN I’VE EVER SEEN
Zach’s first taste of durian. But he friggin loved it and wanted to get even more. So delicious, like a garlicky custard.
So full, we wandered back down the streets. Checking out as many of the stalls as possible.
Passed by Wat Sri Suphan and a dance performance happening. We decided to go back to the guesthouse and drop off some of our purchases.
Wearing a new dress I got at the market. Is that dumb? Wearing a new item RIGHT away? OH WELL. I did it.
Hopped in a songthaew and headed over towards Nimmanhaemin Road area. This area has lot of places to eat and drink, cafes and art galleries, etc.
Tried to go to place called Beer Lab but I didn’t have my passport or ID with me…hadn’t needed it until this point. Oops! So we walked to find another place.
Eventually walked to a rooftop bar where we ordered tamarind cocktails, buy 1 get the second half off.
Yayee Rooftop Bar on top of a hotel
Wish the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders was open!
Frosted slushie beers at a place called 5C Bar
Happy Waldo, what a full great day.
Some blurry photos on the songthaew zooming back towards the guesthouse.
I hope you enjoyed and didn’t mind all the elephant photos…that was truly magical!
Check out all my “Waldo in Southeast Asia” travel posts including a packing list and planning here.
Much love friends.
11 replies on “CHIANG MAI, THAILAND: ELEPHANT NATURE PARK, SATURDAY NIGHT MARKET, NIMMAN”
Hooray for Day 5! 🙂
I already teared up at elephants being abused….and so guilty about riding an elephant in Malaysia when I was 10! 😦 But I really love how all the elephants are taken care of in this sanctuary. And awwww, doggos 😀
And night markets are the best!!! But OMG I hate durian lol!
Not dumb at all — I do the same — I’m also picking a lot of mustard colored clothes because of you subconsciously I think! And I really want some tamarind cocktails now *_*
Thanks for sharing, Sarah.
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Aw, we all learn don’t feel bad about something your 10-year-old self did!
I truly wish we had night markets in California. Or in the US in general. During the summer there are a few night markets that are more like special events but *wahhh* I’m missing the food options on every street corner. Ahaha I’m surprised Zach loved the durian. I liked it too, I don’t think durian is even that stinky! Maybe I have poor smell though…
More mustard! I’m also loving burnt orange. Get some burnt orange in your life it goes well with mustard! 🙂
Hope you’re having a good weekend, Tanya!
Hi, I really love this post of yours. Its so timely cos I’ll have a trip to Bangkok with my bestfriend next month, and i would consider all the places u’ve been to!! Thank you for sharing ur experience♥️
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So happy it was useful to you! I have a few posts as well from Bangkok, if you’re curious how I spent 2.5 days there. Enjoy your trip!
I love your excitement about the giant pork bun! Those are common here in the Philippines (we call them siopao), and the one you’re holding isn’t even the biggest one I’ve seen haha I never realized they didn’t have those in the US 🤔
Omg I must hunt for even bigger siopao then! Now that I know they exist I want to try more.
are you gonna be in Singapore anytime?? been following your blog for a decade by now im sure hahahaha so would love to show you around sg!
I would love to visit Singapore! It’s on my list FOR SURE.