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3 places to meet the elephants

6th January 2013

Elephants are one of the most majestic creatures you will ever get the chance to see up close.

Sitting bareback on one of these wrinkly grey beasts as it plods along through forests, rivers and across fields is arguably the best adrenalin-inducing travel experience you can get that doesn't involve jumping out of planes or off bridges.

If you're looking at Asia holidays, here are three of our top picks for places you can interact with elephants and add some truly incredible memories to your photo albums.

Khao Yai National Park

An easy couple of hours from the centre of Bangkok, Khao Yai National park awaits with verdant forests, cheeky animals and lumbering elephants.

On a full-day excursion from the city, you can sample some of the tropical fruits of the area, feed your provided lunch leftovers directly to the elephants, then sit on the back of one as you trek through the greenery and bushland.

Elephant Nature Park

Thailand tours through the north of the country can take you to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai province, just 60km from the city.

The park was set up as a rescue centre for elephants from all over the country, bringing them together in a place where they can recover, be safe, and be seen by travellers from all over the world.

Visiting the park to feed and bathe the elephants helps to fund the efforts made to preserve the wellbeing of these amazing creatures.

Elephant Village in Laos

Laos is a highly popular spot right next door to Thailand and is home to the world-famous Elephant Village.

This attraction is a privately owned protection and rehabilitation centre near Luang Prabang in the north of the country. It's run by specialists and volunteers who are passionate about elephants and genuinely interested in helping more people understand their plight.

Tour options include riding, training, feeding and bathing the elephants, and you can even stay overnight in the village, nestled in the beautiful and relaxing elephant lodge.

Ask your travel agent about their favourite elephant destination.