Our most memorable family moments have always been in nature, bonding with animals, and soaking in the wild scenery. Ever and River crave being outside more than anything. Whether it’s swimming in the sea or hiking through the jungle they enjoy a good challenge. Their passion is seeing animals and wildlife up close and will observe any bug, bird, or fish they spot. More importantly we as a family speak about how to conserve natural habitats, why some zoos aren’t humane, and the importance of supporting the right type of places so we know we are helping rather than doing harm.
Chai Lai Orchid not only provide a safe haven for rescue elephants but they are committed to giving back to the community and educating at-risk girls to end trafficking through their initiative Daughters Rising. You have so many package options at the hotel and opportunities to feed and engage with the gentle elephants during your stay. Whether you choose a picture perfect breakfast alongside elephants or an adventurous trek to the river you will always know you are giving back as proceeds go towards their charity and empower girls in the community.
We stayed a few days at Chai Lai Orchid’s Mountainview location and enjoyed our time fully immersed in nature. The rustic bungalows are basic without air conditioning but I was enchanted by the romantic design and refreshing outdoor showers. The highlight of the experience was of course the elephants, seeing them roam the grounds around our bungalow, and partaking in an adventurous hike with the gentle giants. Each day the mahouts brought the elephants over for a daily “happy hour” where we could buy bags of food and hand feed the elephants. The elephant trek is one of our most memorable experiences in Thailand, hiking down the hillside beside the elephants, feeding them along way, and reaching a cool river where we splashed and bathed with the playful animals. Our guide was amazing, telling us facts about the natural plant life along the trail, found a tadpole for Ever and River to see, and even made them walking sticks and cute hats made of leaves so they felt like explorers. At lunch he settled us on a bamboo platform where we could relax and enjoy the view while he prepared a traditional Thai lunch. While our chicken soup simmered he constructed bowls and cutlery from leaves and bamboo, such a fun sight for the kids to witness.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable family experience while in Thailand you can’t miss a visit to Chai Lai Orchid. We met amazing people and learned about Asian elephants, how to care for them, and the dangers they face all while engaging with the elephants. Every member of staff and person we met was kind and friendly making us feel right at home. The mahouts are all caring towards the elephants, noticing their moods, telling us each elephant’s preferences, and put the elephants’ needs first. I loved seeing that instead of still or sad, they were always waving their ears and playful. Whether you choose just a simple breakfast and day trip or a fun camping adventure I’m sure you’ll make memories of a lifetime.