Chiang Mai is Thailand’s largest northern city. It has a wide range of attractions that draws in many tourists from all over the world. A great feature of Chiang Mai is the array of wildlife available for us to see. When paying a visit to these places, you have the opportunity to get close to a variety of wildlife. So, if you are someone who likes the sound of that type of experience, then this is how you should go about it.

Pack the Right Things

What you need to bring will depend on the type of wildlife exploration you plan on taking part in. Anything that involves a lot of walking, such as a zoo, rehabilitation center or a hike, will require a sturdy and comfortable pair of walking/hiking shoes, light, breathable clothing that is also protective, a hat and sunglasses to protect your head and face, as well as sunblock and insect repellent. If you decide to explore natural habitats, it would be advisable to bring some sort of nature guide or encyclopedia (book) to help you identify wildlife you see or to help you find and/or track the creatures you want to encounter. Whatever the trip, a great quality camera is highly advised so you can capture every moment.

Research the Wildlife

Doing some research on native wildlife is advisable. This is great because you can prepare yourself, so you know what to expect to see. This can help you decide what attraction is best suited for you. For example, if you struggle with walking long distances, then don’t go on a hike; find some sort of vehicle version of the tour instead. Once you know what you want to see, you can research into places to visit to guarantee an encounter with these creatures in person. There are lots of options such as zoos, sanctuaries, rehabilitation centers, hikes, treks, and safaris.

Don’t Be Fooled

A lot of wildlife centers will pose as a sanctuary, so you believe that the money you’re paying to visit goes to a good cause. But, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. To guarantee you aren’t visiting anything that supports cruelty, consider the following. If you can ride the elephant, it’s not a sanctuary. A lot of abuse goes into ‘breaking their spirits’ to make them tolerant enough to allow people to ride them. So, don’t forget this when looking for an ethical elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. If you can stroke dangerous animals such as tigers (whatever the age), you are most likely supporting cruelty as these animals are often abused and drugged. If sociable animals live alone, this should ring alarm bells because this will most likely affect their quality of life. Last but not least, if the ‘sanctuary’ has a lot of babies consistently, they most likely breed from adults, which are kept in small, solitary confinement with little mental stimulation. So, be wary of places you decide to visit.

When visiting Chiang Mai, definitely consider having a look at its wildlife attractions. They can offer life-changing experiences and provide hours of entertainment as well as being able to educate you too. Just make sure you choose an ethical destination to visit.