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




Bua Tong Waterfall in Chiang Mai is sticky

Bua Tong Waterfall Chiang Mai
Bua Tong waterfall

Bua Tong waterfall in Chiang Mai,  is popularly known as the sticky waterfall.

If you only have time for one waterfall in Chiang Mai, make Bua Tong waterfall your pitstop!

If you want shopping, go Bangkok.
If you want nature and adventure, go Chiang Mai YES!

Continuing our #skbChiangMai escapade, this waterfall is one of our highlights, refer Day 3 “North” in our Chiang Mai itinerary.

Picnic looks inviting 🙂

We have seen folks abseiling waterfall, but climbing up?
Imagine our surprise when we tested our feet on the “lime stone”, it is not slippery, it felt super surreal

Amazing, we can walk up a waterfall!

IS Bua Tong safe for children
Sticky Waterfall

Most waterfalls are slippery, not Bua Tong Waterfall. It look daunting, but after a few climbs, it gets easier!

Definitely doable even for 4 or 5 years old, kids are far more agile and fit than we parents would give credit for.


Video (YouTube Link) : Check out the fun, we got dogs to lead the way too!

After a few test trials, kids got comfortable and wanted to explore on their own. But I reminded them to pair up and look out for each other.

Word of caution, this is still a waterfall and parents should exercise caution. Keep the kids in sight, do not wander off the edge. We would recommend a parent to accompany a smaller child.

Although the surface is non-slippery, accidental slip or pushing can still lead to serious injury.

If Bua Tong is crowded, do not try to rush up the slope, if someone on top slipped, he might pull everyone down like a domino.

Just be careful and look out for each other. Do watch out for green moldy patches (and leaves) on the ground as it might be slippery.
Sticky Waterfall

My kids became good friends with the local “guides”, there were at least 4 or 5 of them, all friendly! (checkout Video above on how they climbed the waterfall with us)

After the third “hike”, you will start to feel soreness in your under-utilised core and muscles haha. When we are having FUN, and with the constant showering, we tend to forget about tiredness 🙂


There are three segments to Bua Tong waterfall, top, middle and bottom.
For most folks ( ie you and me), the top segment (slope of up to 45 degrees) would be more than enough.

A climb up would take you between 3 to 5 minutes. Sometimes, we need to go on all fours to maintain our balance and grip.

The slopes for the middle and bottom segment are much steeper (up to 75 degrees!) And you would definitely need the ropes to pull yourself up.

Bua Tong waterfall photos

Some visitors were swimming in the bottom ponds, it looked Fun but I had to skip as I needed to look after the kids.

Not sure why a waterfall lime stone (deposits) surface can be non-slippery, but we know Bua Tong waterfall scores 4.5/5 for sheer Fun Factor, and it is FOC!

Map of Chiang Mai North Area, relative distance  from Chiang Mai city (Train Station) 1. Bua Tong Waterfall, 2. Siam Insect Zoo and 3. Doi Suthep (Temple)

Chiang Mai Map

We spent almost two hours at Bua Tong waterfall.

More photos from Day 3 is on our Facebook album .
Tips to enjoy sticky Waterfall:

– You need at least 1 hour to fully enjoy the “climbing” experience. If you have more time to relax,  spend 20 minutes at the 7-colour pond, and another  20 minute for picnic after exercise

– Go early to avoid crowd, you will have the waterfall to yourselves

– Bua Tong waterfall GPS – 19.070030, 99.080118
(about 60km North of Chiang Mai Railway station)

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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

Shoutout : In case you need a Local Expert to bring you to Bua Tong, checkout the friendly folks from TakeMeTour group (itinerary package).