An Ethical Elephant Sanctuary and Visitor Lodge "Near" Chiang Mai, Thailand
Never Forget Elephant Foundation
Contribute to Elephant Conservation on Your Thailand Adventure
Never Forget Elephant Foundation is an American non-profit charity located in Northern Thailand. Its elephant conservation work focuses on bringing captive, endangered elephants home to their natural jungle environment. This means extricating them from a life working in tourist camps. Never Forget Elephant Foundation partners with a local Karen hill tribe in an attempt to provide an alternative to traditional elephant ownership. This creates a situation in which owned elephants are able to remain in their jungle home and the elephant owners can still earn an income.
Jungle Stays and Yoga Retreats Among Asian Elephants
Together with the local Karen people, Never Forget Elephant has created a Visitor Program in which guests stay with them for one week participating in an immersive educational experience. They also run a Yoga Retreat that allows yoga enthusiasts to connect in a mindful way with the elephants and nature.
Many guests experience their most breathtaking moments during the guided hikes through the jungle with Never Forget’s knowledgeable staff. Here the rescued elephants live in their natural environment, relearning their instinctual habits. Guests have the opportunity to spend time with these magnificent creatures, hiking alongside them, and observing them without interfering. Tour guides tell their stories, while teaching about the local environment, the culture, and the crucial role elephants play in the jungle.
Learn from and support Thailand’s Karen people
In addition to time spent at the elephant sanctuary, guests immerse themselves in the unique Karen Hill Tribe culture. While spending time with village families, guests learn about weaving, rice farming, and other cultural aspects of day to day life. Traditionally the Karen have a strong belief in the spirit world, and their traditions are dictated by their understanding and interpretation of the spirits of the land and water. In line with the goals of cultural exchange, NFEF visitors teach English to children in the village school through song and games. A portion of their trip fees provide resources for the school.
NFEF is building a global community of awareness. For its guests, sharing knowledge about the challenges with elephant conservation in Thailand and understanding the Karen culture and community, are key takeaways. By taking part in the types of experiences that NFEF cultivates and sharing those experiences with others, you can support conservation efforts and the economic well-being of Thai tourism providers simultaneously.
Five Things We Love About Never Forget Elephant Foundation
A responsible approach to elephant tourism
Preserving the planet for animal and plant populations is at the forefront of Never Forget Elephant’s work. Much of the forest in Northern Thailand has been lost to agricultural expansion. These dense forests are the natural habitat for elephants. Asian Elephants are an endangered species and without adequate forest cover, and with the rise in elephant tourism in Thailand, elephants have been forced into urban areas to live and work. This is devastating for their health, safety, and survival.
Asian Elephants are known to be a ‘keystone species’, a species on which others in an ecosystem largely depend. Guests discover first-hand how crucial to the survival of the forest these elephants are.
Never Forget Elephant does its best to ensure that the elephants under their care are able to live a life that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. Rescuing them from a life of work and torture is the first step.
A remote escape from Chiang Mai
The location of the Never Forget Elephant Foundation project is truly off the beaten path. Located approximately 400km outside of Chiang Mai the visitor accommodation, elephant sanctuary and its hiking trails, is in the heart of the jungle. It takes approximately 6 adventurous hours to get to NFEF from Chiang Mai and the beautiful scenery and fresh mountain air is a welcome prize once you arrive.
Guests will experience sustainability at every turn during their stay at Never Forget Elephant Foundation. Located in a rural location in the mountains of Northern Thailand. The local Karen community built most of the structures in the visitor village by hand, using eco-friendly bamboo which is plentiful in the surrounding jungle. The bamboo huts were built in the traditional style, without the use of nails where possible, and fallen logs collected from the forest. The visitor program is a minimum of one week in length which cuts down on the resources needed for back and forth transportation to and from the city. Plant-based meals are served with produce that is grown in their organic garden or else purchased locally.
You can take a moment to meet the beautiful elephants rescued by NFEF by clicking on the link above. Here you will learn their story: from captivity to freedom. They look forward to welcoming you!
Your chance to make a positive impact while exploring Northern Thailand
Never Forget Elephant welcomes a variety of guests from all walks of life. What connects them is an adventurous spirit, a love for elephants, and an appreciation for the natural world. Booking a travel experience with the Never Forget Elephant Foundation is choosing to travel with purpose!
It is truly a meaningful experience that contributes to the work that NFEF conservationists carry out. Never Forget Elephant’s goal is for their guests to leave their project enriched by the experience of spending time with elephants in a real way, in their natural habitat.
There are a number of ways people can support the work of the Never Forget Elephant Foundation. Booking a stay with them through their Visitor Program is a must for anyone who is interested in spending authentic time with elephants in their natural habitat and contributing first-hand to Asian Elephant conservation work.
As a volunteer-run non-profit organization, NFEF is grateful for the generosity of donors who support their work even if they can’t travel to Thailand. A donation through the Elephant Sponsorship program has a direct impact on the care of their elephants. Gifts can be via a monthly donorship system as well, and will provide ongoing, consistent care for the elephants.
Click through to their website to learn more!