Kindred Spirits Elephant Sanctuary aims to bring elephants home to the forest by working with local communities not only to provide a haven for elephants, but also to provide an alternative livelihood for their mahouts and owners.
Tour revenue will be invested in rescuing captive elephants living in inadequate conditions and returning them to their natural environment at the Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary.
Any day by appointment
1 to 10
Medium (2-5 miles/ 3-8 km walking distance, some physical effort)
Clothing & Equipment
Backpack, Change of clothes, Headlamp/ flashlight, Mosquito repellent, Water, Clothes that cover your knees and shoulders, basic first aid supplies, towel, warm clothes during the cold season (november - february), rain gear during the rainy season (june - october)
Get picked up from Chiang Mai at 9 AM and travel through a national park and stunning mountains inhabited by local hill tribes until you arrive at a Karen Hill Tribe village. Originally from Myanmar, the Karen Hill Tribe migrated to Thailand during the wars many generations ago in search of a better life. For this reason, they have their own unique language and culture, which you will get to learn about and experience. Members of the Karen Hill Tribe are keen weavers well-known in Thailand for their elephant keeping. After you arrive, you’ll meet your welcoming homestay family and friendly Kindred Spirit staff and volunteers. Immerse yourself in hill tribe culture as you cook with your local host family and learn traditional basket weaving from elders in the village.
Wake up early and hike into the forest to find elephants! Feed the animals fruit and help perform a health check. You will have the opportunity to spend all morning and afternoon observing the elephants and learning about them and their natural behavior. Enjoy lunch in the forest with the elephants. Late in the afternoon, return to the village and take part in Kindred Spirit’s community and teaching projects.
Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary offers a unique experience of hiking in the forest to find the elephants and observe their natural behaviors in their home environment. You must be physically fit to hike everyday up and down mountains to get to the elephants. You are expected to wake up early in the morning and be prepared for a long hike into the forest. Hikes will usually return to the village around early afternoon. Tour package includes all transportation, accommodation, and food in the village.
It was the opportunity to be a part of something I have never experienced before and will always remember.
The opportunity to stay with such a rural village with its own language and culture is very unique. The homestay I had was very friendly and funny. They welcomed me with open arms and did everything they could to make my stay pleasurable which it definitely was. The elephants are magnificent creatures with very unique personalities. The first hike to them is always very exciting when you find them and feed them for the first time. It got a bit hectic at feed time so I was sure to listen to the team and the mahouts. I seriously doubt there is anywhere else that allow you to get the opportunity to spend as long as you do with these elephants and interact with them the way you do here.
The elephants are magnificent! They are gentle giants with the mental capability of being the genius’ of the animal kingdom. Everyday I got to assist carrying out data on the elephants and fed them bananas; some are more playful with humans than others and most days we got lots of interaction and camera footage.
We really wanted to learn more about Asian elephants so we spent quite a bit of time searching for a humane sanctuary that puts it’s elephants first and tourism second. It was difficult to find such a place since everyone advertises humane treatment of their elephants to gain tourist activity but not all live up to their word. Thankfully we found Kindred Elephant Sanctuary in and chose them because of their ethical treatment of their elephants and the importance they place on making a difference in their community.
Honestly had one of the most amazing experiences of my life here. Seeing elephants in their natural habitat was the highlight of my whole trip. We started off each morning by hiking into the forest to find the elephants, the hikes were hard work at times but totally worth it once you finally come across the group of four elephants foraging in the forest like they naturally would in the wild.
It is most often the case that travellers and animal lovers will first come to this place for the undeniably incredible opportunity being offered to see elephants in their natural habitat where they rightly belong. However, from what I've seen in my time in Thailand, the reason most people stay is because of the laughs and irreplaceable memories they've shared with the community and those people whom they encounter that leave a mark on their hearts. This project gives you such a rewarding experience by immersing you in the local culture and leaving you with moments you won't soon forget.
I have seen many tourist organizations advertising something similar, but this one seemed different. My whole experience was more than I would have ever imagined. I had a homestay with the amazing hill tribe people, I was able to walk through their little village with all the animals you could imagine just running free; It was a great cultural experience. These 4 lucky elephants have been returned back to the forest and live a happy life roaming freely, and this can only be achieved and maintained through all of our support and understanding.
Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
You will be picked up from any guest house or airport in Chiang Mai.
To bring as many elephants as possible back to their natural habitat whilst educating both the public and the locals about elephant treatment and trying to combat illegal trade.
Hiking activities: hiking through the forest to find elephants and observe them in their natural environment
Community projects: providing locals with alternative livelihoods, such as teaching English to students, mahouts, and homestay families
Reforestation: planting trees in areas that were used for corn planting