Noi's Story

Elephant Retirement Park (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Noi's Story

Noi's Story:

Noi came from North Eastern Thailand.

His elder brother brought him to Bangkok to study elephant behavior for years at the Wat PrasatBoonyavat Temple. Where he learn Buddist Story, doctrine, From there, Noi moved to Chiang Mai where he became a tour guide.  This is where Noi saw first hand the treatment of elephants, and it broke his heart.  He saw elephants being mistreated on a daily basis.  This caused his soul to become disturbed.  How can such an amazing creature be beaten, over worked, and mistreated.  Noi eventually ended up working at an elephant camp where he met an orphaned elephant.  He instantly fell in love with her, so much, that he could not leave her side because she would cry at night for him to return.  Noi ended up sleeping with her so she wouldn't cry.  From this moment, Noi realized that he wanted dedicate his life to saving elephants from these horrific conditions.  In 2014, Noi decided that the best way to save these elephants was to build a camp where they can live in peace in a natural safe habitat.  He decided that tourist would like to learn about the elephants in a humane way by building & promoting elephant ecotourism.  

-  Noi has been running the Elephant Retirement Park for 2 years.


Nonprofit Organization:

Funded by visitors & donations.  All monies raised goes directly towards improving our elephants lives.  While continuing to rescue sick, abused & orphaned elephants.


Noi's Mission:  To help protect, heal and care for mistreated elephants rescued from abusive situations.  

To rescue elephants from the tourist trade/industry & give them a better life in a safe humane way while living in their natural habitat.

To educate tourists about the importance of elephant preservation, proper eating, sleeping, bathing and exercise.

Against the practice of riding elephants, elephant painting, elephant circus tricks.  This practice is unnatural & abusive.  

Against the practice of separating baby elephants from their mothers.

He is also against exploiting elephants for financial gain.  (Elephant begging)

Dedicated to providing elephants with the highest quality of life.

Ecotourism/Nature Tourism:  

Elephant ecotourism:  to educate the public by educating & promoting awareness through elephant friendly tourism. 

  1.  A new travel ethic where people want to experience nature & the world, but should try not to do so in a way that doesn't impact the natural environment.
  2. The responsible way to travel & see exotic threatened species to support conservation efforts & observe wildlife in their natural habitat.
  3. Environmentally responsible way to travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy & appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of the local people.

Most tourism today do not promote ecotourism. Ecotourism emphasizes conservation, education, traveler responsibility and active community participation.

Ecotourism aims to promote:

  1. Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior.
  2. Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity.
  3. Support for local conservation.
  4. Sustainable benefits to local communities.
  5. Local participation in decision making.
  6. Education components for both the travel & locals.

Noi's Goals:

  1. Build a cement wall, so the elephants can roam freely 24 hour day.
  2. Raise enough money to purchase a bigger piece of land.
  3. Rescue more elephants.
  4. Protect & care for elephants that have been abandoned, mistreated or from owners who can no longer care for their elephants.
  5. Save elephants from the harsh reality of  the elephant loaning business.

Noi's Setbacks:

  1. New current leader where Elephant Retirement Park resides at wants to kick Noi out, but local villages approve of park.
  2. Leader???  Concern elephant waste (poop/pee) contaminate river.
  3. Ground seepage from EPA ponds possibly contaminating ground water supply.
  4. Some villagers are scared of the elephants.

Noi's Costs $$$:

  • Lawyer
  • Staff
  • Advertising


  • leasing land
  • building structures
  • feeding
  • medical treatments

Future Costs:

  • Build a cement enclosure.
  • Clinic
  • Buy a larger piece of land to expand park.
  • Purchase elephants from abusive owners.


  • Caring for exploited & abused elephants is a  difficult & expensive task.

Reality of Elephant Tourism:

  • Most tourists are unaware of the harsh realities of the elephant tourism business.
  • Unaware of the abuse the elephants endure when placed in captivity.
  • Unaware of how  elephants are treated, trained & tamed.

Why tourists should not ride a elephant:

Elephant riding is harmful to the elephant in many ways.

  • Even though elephants are big, standing up to 9ft/3 meters tall, their spines are not meant to carry& support of humans. 
  • The heavy metal chairs not only add more weight, but they rub the bones of the spine causing painful lesions in the skin.  This often leads to infection.

Why Elephant Riding Should Be Removed From Your Bucket List (article from World Nomad)

The Phajaan or Crush:

The Phajaan or crush is a training method elephants undergo to become part of the tourism industry.  Young elephants are torn from their mothers and entrapped in a small confine, then they are abused with bullhooks & bamboo sticks spiked with nails.  They are starved, deprived of sleep and more.  This crushes their spirit and makes them submissive to humans.  Elephants painting, trekking and performing circus tricks have all been CRUSHED.

Elephant Health:

  • Their spines cannot support the weight of people all day.  Carrying people all day can lead to permanent spinal injuries.  
  • Not only is there the issue of their spines not being able to carry people, but the chair or Howdah attached to their backs.  The heavy metal chair rubs their backs causing blisters that can get infected.
  • Wear & tear on the elephants feet. Long term trekking can cause foot infections & injuries.  ((((Wan Chip & Ben))))

Social interactions:

Elephants are like humans.  They socialize, have families & friends, feel pain, sorrow, happiness and more....

Living conditions:

Babies are chained to their mothers during treks.  This can and often does harm to the baby.  When they are chained to their mother on a trek, they must continue trekking.  The guide or mahout will prod them with a bullhook to keep them  moving.  (((Elephants never forget)))  The bullhook, which the elephant never forgets from their days of torture, Phajaan/Crush, can immediately strike fear in them.  This fear can trigger a reaction that can not only hurt the elephants, but also the riders on them.

Aside from the treks, the camps often chain these elephants when not working.  They don't feed them enough/adequately , or give them enough water.

Many people  report visiting trekking camps and seeing elephants swaying, pacing and bobbing their heads which is a sign of psychological stress.

(((Lanna's mom was bobbing her head and swaying side-to-side))) 

A good rule to remember is that if a tourist outfit offers anything other than getting to spend time with the elephants, is not looking out for the elephants best interest.   Outfits offering elephant paintings, riding and circus tricks have put their elephants through horrific Phajaan/Crush in order to get them to perform a specific tack.  

While some trekking outfits don't use bull hooks, the fact is that if elephants are trekking, they are being abused.

What You Can Do Instead Of Riding Elephants:

  • Feed them
  • Spend time with them
  • bathe them 

Without causing further harm or damage.

Allow human interaction without compromising the elephants health & safety.

Elephant Customer Testimonials:

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