I’ve been smitten by elephants for a while, but my trip to the Friends of the Asian Elephant hospital in Lampang, Thailand has pushed elephant-themed holidays right to the top of my Bucket List. Although smaller than the African elephants I’m accustomed to, I was captivated by these gentle giants in this first-of-its-kind in the world facility where they are treated for anything from poor diet or shotgun or barbed wire injuries, to more serious and devastating landmine injuries.
Founded by Soraida Salwala, the hospital is now a world leader in prosthetics for elephants who have lost limbs in landmine explosions along the Burmese border.Visit the website or better still, visit the hospital to see the amazing work being done.
The hospital is about 28km north of Lampang city, along the main highway to Chiang Mai. If you are reliant on public transport, catch the Lampang-Chiang Mai bus which runs hourly and will drop you off on the main highway, followed by a 10-minute walk to the facility.
P.S. In keeping with growing calls for responsible tourism and policies around not participating in activities that exploit animals, don’t expect to ride elephants here. The nearby Elephant Conservation Centre does permit rides though.