Elephant Nature Park
Traveling to Thailand and hoping to see some elephants? Yes Please!
But first, do your research! and most importantly, be a responsible traveler and pick places that are cruelty free and responsible. There are plenty of elephant parks out there for tourists, but do NOT go to those that promote riding elephants. This is really important to remember! It may sound like fun to ride the elephants, and the thing to do when you're in Thailand, but not only is it cruel, it is painful and unnatural for the elephants. We learned a lot on our bus ride to the park. In order for elephants to be trained to allow tourists to ride them, baby elephants are tortured and treated cruelly in order to obey and be trained. I won't go into the nasty details here, but please please do your research before visiting Thailand if you plan to visit elephants.
Find a place like the Elephant Nature Park, where they provide a sanctuary and rehabilitate the elephants. There is no riding there. They offer different tours of the park, which can include feeding the elephants, bathing them, and touring the park. These tours also offer lunch, so plan on spending the entire morning or day there. We opted for the half day which included feeding the elephants and a tour of the park. It was such a cool experience being next to these big gentle creatures. They basically roam the park freely often with their families and pretty much just hang out. Trust me when I say, it a much more rewarding experience seeing them roam in a natural habitat, watching them when they are left to their own devices, rather than in enclosures where they are being told what to do.
Visit the elephant nature park if you're up for an awesome experience. You can also sign up to be a volunteer! This is a definite stop if you are in northern Thailand.