Never Forget Elephant Foundation – Bringing Elephants Home
Join the team at Never Forget and spend a week immersed into the life of a Karen Hill Tribe Village in the mountains where elephants are part of the family! Take an active role in supporting that community, whilst enjoying the proximity to their herd of elephants.
This is an experience like no other. During your stay in the village, you will enjoy traditional bamboo accommodation in the heart of nature. All huts are equipped with a mattress and mosquito net. Lounge in a hammock whilst watching the sunset across the valley after a day’s work providing for the elephants!
There is a glorious yoga/meditation shala where you can work on either one of these rewarding practices.
Never Forget provide three plant-based meals every day, many of the ingredients of which are grown on-site!
In the evenings, sit around the fire, swapping stories, music and getting to know each other.
What will you do during your stay?
Daily time with the elephants, trekking along side them through the jungle and learning about them and their habitat as you go.
Work on garden and building projects to help build the Visitor Village.
Aid the local Karen community through projects of various types.
Connect with local people in their home and learn about their ways, their culture and their community.
Visit local temples in the area.
Receive lessons on rice farming from local farmers.
The South East Asia Backpacker Community have tried and tested adventures across the region and handpicked a selection of only the BEST companies to work with.
Why we chose Never Forget?
Never Forget Elephant Foundation is a non-profit organisation and registered charity in the United States of America. The project was founded by Ava Lalancette in 2019 in an attempt to improve the lives of the Asian elephant and their owners (mahouts), who are often forgotten when it comes to demands for more ethical elephant tourism. She sees Never Forget as a way to improve on the existing model of elephant tourism in Thailand.
Ava works closely with Kittisak “Yo” Pornpipatkun, who is the Project Director at Never Forget. Yo grew up in the local community and has been around elephants since he was a child. Yo has worked at elephant sanctuaries across Thailand and believes Never Forget is a step in the right direction for elephant tourism in Thailand. There is nothing about elephants Yo doesn’t know – just test him!
The 3 simple goals of Never Forget Elephant Foundation
Bring endangered captive elephants back to their natural environment in the jungle.
Connect with the local Karen people in a way that inspires sustainable approaches to the health and wellbeing of both the elephants and the environment.
Contribute to the growth of a global movement that pushes for positive changes in the lives of elephants in Thailand.
In order to book this experience, you will need to pay a deposit online via South East Asia Backpacker.
This deposit is fully refundable if you wish to cancel up until 48 hours before the start of the activity. PLEASE NOTE: This policy refers to the payment made to South East Asia Backpacker at the time of booking. All subsequent payments to the operator of your chosen activity fall under their own refund policy
For cancellations made fewer than 48 hours before the start of the activity there is no refund available.
You can request a change of date at any time.
Date changes are entirely down to the availability of the operator and nothing to do with South East Asia Backpacker.
If your date change is not agreed upon, as long as it is more than 48 hours before the start date you originally made your booking for, your deposit can be refunded in full if you wish to cancel.
The remaining payment for the experience is payable directly to the operator.
The operator can request the remaining payment via an online payment link or upon arrival at the destination.
The refund of the second payment, which goes directly to the operator, is based on the terms and conditions of the operator, over which South East Asia Backpacker have no control.
Transport to/from your hotel in Chiang Mai to our village (approximately 400km away)
Pickup from Chiang Mai on Monday 9am and return to Chiang Mai on Sunday afternoon
Three delicious plant based meals per day, plus snacks.
Comfortable accommodation – sustainable, traditional-style bamboo hut with mattresses and clean, warm bedding.
Shared western toilets and showers
Unlimited use of private and serene yoga platform
On-site speaker that connects via bluetooth
Please note – We have the ability to put together a custom week with you and your traveling companions if necessary, otherwise we will follow our standard program schedule. Minimum of 5 bookings are needed for custom week.
Nicole Bennett –
A few weeks ago I returned home from a yoga retreat outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand organized by Sweethome Teacup’s Yoga and Animal Rights Alliance from Portland, OR and hosted by Never Forget Elephant Foundation. The short and simple review is it was amazing! Our accommodations, the organization of Never Forget, The Karen Hill Tribe that provided us nourishment and welcoming us into their world were beyond anything I could have anticipated. This was my first time traveling outside of North America and every moment I felt safe and open to receiving.
Each day was a blend of yoga and hiking with the elephants in their environment. Some days we stood at a distance and watched them eat snapping trees, shaking off roots, gathering leaves with with their elegant trunks. Somedays these very large sentient beings walked right up us to investigate. I am so grateful for being invited to listen to the stories and lessons of the Karen Hill tribe and the world of the elephants, I learned so much.
The yoga practice focused on gentle movements and our views included lush mountains, goats, cows, sunrises and sunsets, and the most beautiful silhouette of a tree. My time with fellow yogis and big, beautiful, graceful elephants took my breath away over and over again. This kind of trip sticks with you; not all of my thoughts and feelings line up, I feel at peace while at the same time wanting to challenge myself and disrupt old belief systems.
If I had to list a downside it was the actual travel time, planes and rough mountain roads were really hard on my body, but sometimes that’s just part of the adventure.This journey might not be for everyone, but everyone who loves elephants can give and be part of bringing the elephants home. The Never Forget Elephant Foundation and the Karen Hill Tribe need people to devote time and money towards their mission, please learn about the organization and give so they can continue their work.