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Elephant Nature Park
THE Elephant Nature Park in the northern part of Thailand is a sanctuary for elephants and other animals, which didn’t have a nice life. I visited the park in February 2015 during my stay in Chiang Mai.

Our intention was to have an encounter with elephants and we didn’t want to have one the “have fun with elephants” events where elephants dance or do other stupid things. The Elephant Nature Park takes care of freed animals, former circus elephants or old ones. Our guide told us some sad stories about abused elephants and we also saw movie about the treatment of elephants in Thailand.

You can book several different programs on the homepage of the park. Besides day trips it’s possible to stay overnight or even volunteer for several weeks. Since we didn’t have much time we chose a day trip including feeding and washing elephants but we would have also liked to stay longer. We had a good impression of the park and were sure that the animals are treated nicely.

Besides elephants the park also hosts buffalos, dogs and cats. I wanted to bring nice pictures from our visit so I had to think about the equipment I want to bring to the park. I decided to equip the Olympus PEN E-P5 with the Samyang Fisheye lens to be able to have some of the impressive landscape on the pictures while making photos of the elephants. In addition I used another E-P5 with the M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 in my low-cost underwater housing so I didn’t have to be afraid to drown my camera gear while washing elephants. Finally I chose to use the M.Zuiko 60mm Macro on the Olympus O-MD E-M1 because the lens is a little longer and can also be used for macro shots. All of the following pictures can also be bought or licensed by simply clicking on the individual pictures.

Elephants

Besides other animals you can find -surprise- elephants in the Elephant Nature Park. Here are some examples of these impressive animals while being fed and in their surrounding:

Washing elephants

A highlight of the stay in the park was the washing of the elephants. The activity soon became more of a water fight between the people in the group :).

Cat Kingdom and dog station

Besides elephants the park also gives shelter to cats and dogs. It was hard not to adopt one of the animals but in the end we were reasonable.

Visiting the park was a great experience that I can highly recommend. We had a great day and learned a lot about these fascinating animals. In addition you do something good with the money you spend so if you are in the area you should seriously consider visiting the Elephant Nature Park.

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Pierre Aden

I'm a photographer located in Frankfurt, Germany. When I am not travelling / taking pictures I like to play Table Tennis / Squash or watch TV Series. I work in a German bank in the Anti-Money-Laundering department.