Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – never ride an elephant again

Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle sanctuary (EJS) is the best activity in our Chiang Mai itinerary! If you love elephants, you will get an opportunity to get super close to these gentle giants. (TripAdvisor review)

Chiang Mai Elephant
Chiang Mai Elephant

There are a few no-ride elephant venues in Chiang Mai, we chose Elephant Jungle Sanctuary because it seems to be more active in Instagram.

 

The tickets are not exactly cheap, so we need to make sure that our tour operator is reliable.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is about 2.5 hours drive from the city (near to Doi Inthanon). Majestic mountain ranges beckon to us over the horizon.

 

On a side note, you might have stopovers at rest points (R&R), do look out for a famous local cuisine, braised pork leg. It looks plain and ordinary but super succulent and tasty!

Back to the elephants, EJS estimated GPS location is 18.658668, 98.648556. Do take note Elephant Jungle Sanctuary do not entertain walk-ins. You must secure a booking through their website or phone, and a 4×4 pickup will pick you up from your hotel on tour day itself (if your location is 5km from old city)

Visitors have to change into “tribe” uniforms, and undergo an orientation. Operation of EJS, feeding protocols, and simple commands for the elephants etc.

Image credit ES

 

We learnt why EJS promotes No-riding policy because Asian elephants’ spines are not meant for carrying loads or humans. We might end up hurting them. Secondly, Elephants (and animals) which are trained to perform and entertain might be subject to abuse for them to “conform” to instructions.

We do not wish to harm these majestic beasts’ wellbeing.

 

Elephants have big appetite, they can consume up to 300kg of food every day! We know they were always happy to receive more bananas!

Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

We do not need to peel the skins, Elephants consume them whole. And please save the bananas for the elephants, not humans :p

Bon Bon means “lift your trunk” and feast on bananas. These elephants are so adorable, do pardon their slightly mushy snouts haha.

Image credit ES

Some of the elephants were rescued from manual labour like logging or farming. Some were chained before and subject to other forms of cruelty.

In Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, the operators depend on tourism receipts (education and awareness campaigns), and donations to let the elephants retire peacefully.

 

Both kids and parents enjoyed the elephants interactions!

 

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Image credit ES

Part of the package includes “mud bath” and “showering” with the elephants. Wow, their huge surface area means we need to work fast. Elephants use mud as a form of sunscreen and shield themselves from pesky mosquitos.

The guide did warn us that elephants can coconut “lingo for shit”  into the pool without warning. And Elephant poos are enormous lump of Yucks!

Image credit ES

The guides and crew were all friendly. “One” bringing Xin cross the bridge, and “Mario” acting wacko haha 🙂

Image credit ES

The crew are very considerate too. If they noticed you are too clean, they will cake you with mud. Natural spa treatment yeah 🙂

Image credit ES

Majestic yet gentle beasts. Elephants easily weigh in excess of 500kg, do not stay in their blind spots!

 

Elephant love to bath, humans had fun too, Songkran style! Did I mention the waters in the hills are cold.

Image credit ES

 

After bathing the elephants, we trek back to a waterfall. Do take note of the strong current and chilling water.

Video  (YouTube link): Checkout waterfall and elephant mud spa. Highly recommended for families 🙂

A trip to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary provided us with an educational yet enriching trip. Our kids understand they should never ride an elephant again.

Image credit ES

Lunch at EJS was simple yet one of the best during our Chiang Mai stay (no exaggeration!) . Simple vegetable and delicious curry fused perfectly and everyone requested for second helping.

Chang beer is optional, and Chang means Elephant in Thai 🙂

Dining spot offers a scenic view of the waterfall.

You will get dirty with mud and sometimes a little bit of poo.
You will feel cold, and shiver at the waterfall.

But showering and feeding with the elephants will bring back everlasting memories. We will never forget our friendly encounters with the elephants.

What a mammoth experience 🙂

Do take note that baby elephant might not always be available. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary have different camp visits everyday, and venue might be slightly different.

A half day tour is more than enough. EJS do have 2D1N itinerary.
– Fees – Adults THB 1,700 (about SGD $65), Child THB 1,300
– GPS 18.658668, 98.648556
– Do take note transport will be provide by EJS, you cannot drive in yourself
– More photos of EJS on their Instagram and website

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If you are looking for shopping centres in Chiang Mai, you would be disappointed. All our 5D4N Chiang Mai Family Itinerary photos have been uploaded :

– 5D4N Chiang Mai Family Itinerary
– Day 1 photos — Airbnb stayGrand Canyon Waterpark
– Day 2 photos – Doi Inthanon
– Day 3 photos – Buatong waterfallSiam Insect ZooDoi Suthep temple
– Day 4 photos – Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Old city

Follow out hashtag #skbChiangMai

 

 

 

Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep temple might be the most visited temple in Chiang Mai. Besides the golden stupas (Pagoda), the panoramic city view at 1676m is impressive.

Doi Suthep Temple
Doi Suthep Temple

Doi Suthep temple is not only visited by pilgrims and tourists, it is a favourite circuit for cyclists too, they love the crazy and torturous slopes!

The first question, climb 309 steps or take a lift?

Ticket entrance is 30 THB, the lift would cost 50 THB.

This temple is glittering with gold! And an endless stream of visitors throng its sacred grounds. Status of Buddhas can be spotted everywhere in shrines.


The real name for this temple is “Wat Phra That Doi Suthep“, Doi Suthep is actually the name of the mountain.

That famous Golden Dome! Looks splendid under the afternoon sun.

 

 

There is a white elephant legend too, how Buddha’s relic was brought to the temple’s site.

We can see Chiang Mai city from the top, look closely and you will see aeroplanes taking off too! Some folks actually drive up mid-way just to catch the marvelous Sunset (so romantic).

Wear a light jacket as temperature was between 21-23 degrees when we visited in December.

There is a small market at the foot of the steps, selling bbq and grilled meat. Try the deep fried pig skin, crispy and addictive.

I felt so guilty describing this sinful collagen snacks haha :p

 

Back in town, our driver recommended this eatery for authentic Thai cuisines.  We would highly recommend “Aroon (Rai)” to our friends 🙂

GPS For Doi Suthep Temple – 18.804317, 98.919974
Besides cycling, there are hiking trails too. Doi Suthep is about 20km West of Old City, do check with local guides on which pear period to avoid (jams) cars and human)

GPS For Authentic Thai restaurant – 18.786239, 98.993550

 

If you are looking for shopping centres in Chiang Mai, you would be disappointed. All our 5D4N Chiang Mai Family Itinerary photos have been uploaded :

– 5D4N Chiang Mai Family Itinerary
– Day 1 photos — Airbnb stayGrand Canyon Waterpark
– Day 2 photos – Doi Inthanon
– Day 3 photos – Buatong waterfallSiam Insect ZooDoi Suthep temple
– Day 4 photos – Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Old city

Follow out hashtag #skbChiangMai

Sky Mirror in Malaysia is SUPER FUN

Have you heard of Sky Mirror 天空之镜 before?  This exotic term is new to me too, but Google and IG hashtags provided some Fun clues 🙂

From Day 1, another term Blue Tears (蓝眼泪) was also new to me. It goes to show Malaysia has many more corners for us to explore and hike.

Continuing Day 2 of my solo trip with Boon Yee (read about Day 1 Broga Hill), we headed to the town of Bagan Datoh (Kuala Selangor). The small jetty near our chalet is called “Kampung Sungai Burung” (GPS 3.976111, 100.707292).

You only need to know that Sky Mirror was the best activity in our itinerary, and it it is FUN for both kids and adults. The two videos in blog below are enough to send my family there again.

No 1 Activity : Posing with your reflection is seriously Fun, anything Goes!

Sky Mirror photos
Sky Mirror photos

Look at our Instagram video and you will know how much FUN we had in 2.5 hours! There are many hermit crabs running around too 🙂

 

Looking at the map below for reference, Sky Mirror (estimated GPS 4.020000, 100.718333) is about 20 minutes boat ride North from our chalet (9 Island Travel Agency), or South of Pangkor Island (point 4).

Sky mirror map

Qiong(1) Ah! Our 20 minutes boat ride was filled with anticipation. Those who need extra adrenaline can opt to sit in the front row (bow). Kids could not wait to jump off the boat.

Fourth image credit Adventures Village

Sky Mirror sandbank was our playground, leave your inhibitions behind and just have FUN. No need to be shy as everyone will be trying to post Cute or Epic :p

There is a sense of Freedom on the temporary island. The sandbank is only exposed during low tide (on certain days), do check with travel agency for best timing to visit.

catching Hermit crabs Malaysia

Before we reach the sandbank, I hinted to Yee we are visiting a “swimming-pool” in the middle of Strait of Malacca :p

 

We heard the entire sandbank could be as big as 100 football fields! Where do you wish to run again haha?

More camera tricks 🙂

You just need some creative juices and reflection to snap the best shot. If you are clueless on how to pose, just Google for examples 🙂

You will not go wrong with Instagram Boomerangs ( my favourite 天空之镜 pose, but it is Bolivia’s salt lake)


3 images above credit Adventures Village

 

 

No 2 Activity at Sky Mirror is digging for your own lunch! Although kids would argue that this is the best activity!

It was a challenge to see who can fill up their basket with lala first. You will see small crabs, hermits and all sorts of shells in our collection, but we only harvested the lala for lunch.

The mud is soft and therapeutic and after catching the first shell, there was no stopping!

Image credit Adventures Village

 

Sky Mirror’s fun experience went beyond my expectation. Boon Yee was reluctant to leave the “island” too.

Not listing mud spa as Activity 3 as no one cake their face with the black mineral :p (Sashimi is out too)

 

Back at the jetty, souvenirs for you and me, we would recommend the prawn crackers.

You can buy relatively new camping tents too ! We heard 500 tents need to be sold due to closure of Pulau Sembilan, you can Google “Pulau Sembilan camping”. A huge loss for travel agency, a steal for the adventurers 🙂

 

Remember the lala which kids were busy digging earlier. Just tell the chef your table number 🙂

 

Look at the tantalising seafood platter! We were all hungry after a Morning of Fun!

Video (YouTube link) : Check out our second Sky Mirror video below

Tips  (Day 1 itinerary here):

-Walk barefoot
-Leave your heavy bags in room or boat. Just bring water, suntan lotion and camera

-Do check with travel agency (ours was 9 Island) for best time to visit (I would rate their customer friendly attitude 4/5)

-Plan for minimum two hours on the sandbank

-We did not see anyone swimming, I guess lala harvesting and photo sessions are enough to keep everyone entertained

*Wear your Brightest clothes for best effects. Do not place your barang barang infront of you during the shoot, unless it is a photo prop

*Taking photos with reflection is a skill. You need to find “still” water for best reflection. You need to avoid photo bombs (there could be 100 visitors on the island!)

-Travel agency will provide the colourful props, windmills, umbrellas, Sky Mirror sign etc
-Kids life jackets are available

**Check out Broga hill and Bagan Datoh Day One and Two photos on our Facebook album. FUN is guaranteed!

-Our “2D2N Malaysia Unlimited” trip was booked with Meetup Group “Adventures Unlimited”, itinerary here . Join the Village (Facebook group) to link up with like-minded kakis

-Check out some other bonding activities with my kids.
Boon Kang 3D2N (Farm at Koref), Taman Negara with Boon Wee, 2D2N Broga Hill and Sky Mirror with Boon Yee

天空之镜 we miss you !

ps.. There are actually two Sky Mirrors in Malaysia. We went to the one at Bagan Datoh. Google 天空之镜 Sasaran (Kuala Selangor) for the other site (refer map above, it is located South of Sekinchan #point 5).