Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary: Chiang Mai Animal Tour: Hike Through the Forest with Elephants

Chiang Mai Animal Tour: Hike Through the Forest with Elephants

Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary

Non-profit organization

2 days
From$178 USDPer person

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 Highlights

  • Feed and observe elephants in their natural habitat while helping fight the inhumane captivity and illegal trade of elephants around the world.
  • Enjoy a scenic hike through the forest as you spot elephants and learn all about their habitat, health, and diet.
  • Experience traditional hill tribe life and culture in a Karen Hill Tribe village, nestled in the scenic rolling hills of Northern Thailand.

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.

Tour Details

  • Frequency

    Any day by appointment

  • Start Time

    9 AM

  • Duration

    2 days

  • Good For

    Adults, Families

  • Languages

    English, Thai

  • Tour Participants

    1 to 10

  • Difficulty

    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)

  • Volunteer Opportunities


Tour Description

Day 1:
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.

Day 2:
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.

7 Visitor Reviews

    Michelle and Jedd Chang ●  Dec 28, 2016

    It was the opportunity to be a part of something I have never experienced before and will always remember.

    Alex Sharp  ●  Aug 17, 2016

    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.

    Haylie Spark ●  Aug 14, 2016

    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.

See all 7 reviews

Tour Start Address

Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

How To Get There

You will be picked up from any guest house or airport in Chiang Mai.

More About Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary


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.

Main Programs

  • 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