Where Can I Bathe an Elephant? 6 Amazing Elephant Parks You Can Visit
Elephants have been loved and admired by humans all through history. They have different personalities, some are cheeky and will splash you with water for fun, and if you don’t react, they may do it again. Some will often lay in the water while you scrub their body, much like a dog will do when getting a tummy scratch. And if you stop, they will let you know they want more.
Would you like to get up close and personal with an elephant?
Where can I bathe an Elephant?
The best places in the world to bathe an elephant are:
- Patara Elephant Farm, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
- Baanchang Elephant Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Blue Daily Elephant Care, Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Phuket, Thailand
- Phang Nga Elephant Park, Phuket, Thailand
- Elephant Freedom Project, Kegalle, Sri Lanka
Let’s take a closer look below.
Patara Elephant Farm
You can become “an Elephant owner for a day” at this amazing sanctuary.
It’s not actually a whole day as the morning session is from 7.30 to 3.30pm, and the afternoon session is from 1 to 6.30pm. The program includes everything an owner does to take care of his elephant, from feeding, bathing in the river, riding bareback and speaking commands. Its a very educational day you will remember forever. It costs is around $170 for your own elephant or $250 for two people with one elephant. Bookings are necessary. They also have a baby elephant option, you’re really going love these cute playful animals. Patara maybe more expensive than the others below but they offer a more one on one experience which suits people who are willing to pay a little more.
Baanchang Elephant Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The park is located 50 minutes from Chiang Mai and will pick you up from your hotel for your half day or full day program. When you arrive at the Sanctuary you change into traditional clothing (which is a nice touch) and start preparing fruit for the elephants. A little later you will walk them down to the river to bathe them, grab the coconut husk or brush, jump in and scrub!
The full day packages also include time in the elephant nursery so you can play with the babies, and it has several more activities with elephant care.
They have recently implemented a ‘no riding policy’ to allow the elephants a more natural way of life.
Blue Daily Elephant Care, Chiang Mai, Thailand
This is a ‘No riding’ Elephant sanctuary located about 90 minutes (by a free shuttle bus) from Chaing Mai city. This sanctuary offers both half day and full day packages.
Both packages include bathing with the elephants and playing with babies, they differ in that the full day package you will bathe them in a waterfall instead of a river. Prices start at around $50 for the half day package to $75 for the full day.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Phuket, Thailand
This Sanctuary also offers the full day or half day packages both include swimming and washing elephants. In both packages, you will have a mud bath with the elephants followed by a river bath, and then you will shower with them in their custom-made “Elephant shower”.
The full day includes a jungle trek with the elephants and an extra Thai buffet meal.
This is the only sanctuary I could find that includes joining the elephants in a mud bath. So if having a mud bath, and bathing with elephants are both on your bucket list then this is a classic example of “two birds with one stone”
The half-day tour costs around $75 and includes one meal.
The full-day tour is around $150 per person and includes two meals.
They also have sanctuary branches in Pattaya and Chiang Mai.
Note: No children under 7 are permitted on this tour
Phang Nga Elephant Park, Phuket, Thailand
This Sanctuary offers two packages. ‘Family Elephant Experience’ like it sounds is catered towards families. They recommend if your kids are over 6 years old then you should do the other package. The family package includes things like painting for the kids and the learning is done in a way that is child-friendly. This package is $300 for two adults and two children and includes lunch and transfers.
Either main tour ‘Half Day Elephant Care’, includes a choice between bareback riding or walking alongside your elephant through the jungle. Later in the tour, you bathe your elephant which is a truly bonding experience.
This sanctuary is known for its ethical care of its animals.
Prices are around $150 for an adult and children from 7-14 are $100
Transfers are included from Khao Lak, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Ao-Nang and Khao Sok.
Elephant Freedom Project, Kegalle, Sri Lanka
The best Elephant sanctuaries are in Thailand, but we had to include this Sri Lankan park in the ‘best of’ list, I will explain why.
You get a unique Sri Lankan flavor to the experience while keeping these majestic animals in a more natural setting. Most Sri Lankan parks are after the tourist dollar but this park prides itself on its ethical treatment of its animals.
They have a half day, a full day, and volunteering packages available for a week or longer. The half-day option includes a paper dung factory tour, a walk with the elephant, lunch, and a half an hour washing session.
The full-day tour also includes a visit to the local school for English conversation. I’m pretty sure you won’t get that experience with any other elephant tour around the world.
Would you like to spend 1,2 or 3 weeks of your life volunteering at an elephant refuge? For $320 you can spend a week in a homestay picking up elephant poop!!! Actually, that is one of the tasks you are given but you have to take the good with the bad, right? Some of the experiences you will have other than elephant care will be learning Sri Lankan cooking, brainstorming new ideas for the park, visiting the local school and attractions around the area. A truly unique experience.
They have limit spots for all tours so you must book ahead.
Questions you may also ask about elephants
Why are there so many of the great elephant parks in Thailand?
The first reason is that Thailand has a history and culture of Elephant care, and secondly they have a more developed tourist industry.
Doing the research I struggled to find quality elephant camps outside of Thailand that do things ethically.
Can I bathe a baby elephant?
Yes, Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai offers a “Baby elephant owner for a day” experience which includes bathing.
What to take to your day with an elephant?
- Hat – Hot climate, hot sun.
- Towel – Obviously. You will get wet bathing an elephant.
- Bathing Suit – Elephants = trunks
- Walking Shoes – High heels aren’t good for jungle trekking.
- Sunscreen – Take unless you like the color red…… and pain.
- Change of Clothes – Otherwise no one will sit with you on the bus.
- Insect Repellent – Or you can cover yourself in elephant dung, that helps.
- Camera – Post your pictures below!
Can kids bathe with an elephant?
Most elephant sanctuaries offer the chance for kids over 7 to participate like an adult, but only some cater for children under 7.
I really enjoyed putting it together and did many hours of research. Please comment below on your thought and questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.
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