We wanted to visit the main Elephant Nature Park, but it was fully booked for the entire time we were in Chiang Mai. Fortunately, we went ahead and did the single day "Karen Habitat" program, which still had room. We thoroughly enjoyed our day with three elephants who had previously been used for work, for example, giving rides for tourists. They seemed very happy in their new life, spending all day eating and taking a bath in the mud and then in the river. Our group was fairly small, the pace of the day was relaxed, and the setting in a small village in the mountains was beautiful. Our guide, Pepe, was also knowledgeable and fun. A very worthwhile experience, and great to know that these programs (working directly with elephant owners, rather than purchasing elephants and taking them to living permanently at ENP) is a way that ENP can help more elephants over the long term.
Tips: plan to get dirty and wet! There was a place to change our clothes and some limited water for quick showering.More