Fodor's Expert Review Elephant Nature Park
There are several elephant reserves north of Chiang Mai, but for a truly authentic up-close experience this one is hard to beat. More than 30 elephants, including four youngsters, roam freely in the natural enclosure formed by a narrow mountain valley an hour's drive away. Visitors can stroll among the elephants, feeding and bathing them in the river that runs through the park. There are no elephant rides or circuslike shows; Sangduen ("Lek") Chailert, a Ford Foundation laureate who runs the reserve, insists that the animals in her care live as close to nature as possible. Visits, which last a full day, can be arranged online or at the park's Old City office; the rate includes pickup at your Chiang Mai hotel and your return.