Thailand may be famous for its pristine beaches and vibrant rainforests, but its safe interactions with wildlife also make up part of the appeal for tourists. Phuket, in particular, has plenty of elephant sanctuaries that allow animal lovers a chance to feed and bathe the gentle giants.
If you’re in search of unique, must-try activities to add to your itinerary when flying to Phuket, the list below explores the best elephant sanctuaries for an unforgettable trip:
Must-Visit #1: Elephant Nature Park
Placed just 60 km from the city of Chiang Mai, Elephant Nature Park is a perennial favorite among tourists and locals alike as the sanctuary allows visitors to get up close with the magnificent elephants.
You’ll also run into other animals like cats, dogs, and even buffaloes along the way as it is a rescue and rehabilitation park, making it an exciting and educational visit for families and friends.
You have the choice between taking quick day tours where you can feed the elephants, or go all out on overnight stays to get a chance to bathe with them! Of course, the price changes accordingly as a short visit reaches around 2,500 THB, while the latter costs 5,800 THB.
Must-Visit #2: Happy Elephant Home
Another hit in Mae Tang, Chiang Mai, is Happy Elephant Home, a sanctuary that provides a spectacular view of elephants against a breathtaking backdrop of fields, mountains, and lively locals. It’s a go-to for those who want to experience the full beauty of nature without crowds, as the place only accommodates 15 people at a time.
In addition to colorful scenery, the experience takes on a different level as guests are required to change into traditional outfits to ensure the gentle creatures won’t be alarmed with unfamiliar sights or smells.
The budget is significantly friendlier as half a day trip costs 1,800 THB, which includes exciting activities like bathing and feeding the animals. Spending a full day at the sanctuary allows you to find food for the elephant yourself, which reaches an amount of 2,400 THB.
Must-Visit #3: Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
This particular sanctuary is a place you can’t miss when you’re in Phuket, especially for travelers who want a one-of-a-kind experience. The home is founded by partners Montri Todtane, which is a retirement haven for overworked elephants within the tourism industry.
Vacationers who want to support sustainable traveling can do so in Phuket Elephant Sanctuary as it promotes ethical tourism and elephant conservation. There is a fee of 3,000 THB for half a day and 6,000 THB for whole day programs.
Unlike other sanctuaries, this place doesn’t allow the bathing of the elephants. The owners believe that bathing is an essential and private ritual among the animals, so the presence of humans during the time may cause stress.
Elephants are well-loved across the world for their friendly nature, so shelters and sanctuaries are booming as a top tourist attraction without compromising the ethical way of handling the majestic creatures. Not only is it to respect animals, but also because elephants are holy beings in Thailand. If you’re looking for a beachfront hotel in Phuket, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.