EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary provides an ethical home for ex-working elephants

The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a fantastic initiative brought to Phuket in partnership with Elephant Nature Park, which is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre in the northern province of Chiang Mai.


By Amy Bensema

Saturday 9 December 2017, 12:00PM


The sanctuary endeavours to pioneer ethical elephant tourism by offering retired elephants the chance to live out the rest of their years in a nurturing environment where they are allowed to roam free.

At its core, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a retirement home for sick, injured, tired or old elephants who have spent their lives working long, exhausting hours in the logging industry, or the tourism industry – which is still hugely popular in Southeast Asia. This type of work is not only difficult for the elephants, but it is often conducted under extremely cruel and abusive conditions.

Currently, there are six lovely lady elephants that reside at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, and the best way to both meet and interact with them is through a morning or afternoon tour. Booking in advance is required as the tours tend to fill up quickly and you cannot just turn up and get to see the elephants.

I have had the opportunity to join the morning tour at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary on two separate occasions over the last year. Both visits have been equally informative, educational and enjoyable.

The meeting point for the tours at the sanctuary is a quaint cafe called Monkeypod Coffeehouse. Here you can grab a strong cup of coffee before piling into the trucks that take you to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. There is no public access to the sanctuary for safety and insurance purposes, which is obviously a great idea as the elephants roam free.

Tours begin at the Tree Top Reception and Observation Platform and the introduction session is led by a member of staff. Visitors are given an overview of the vision and mission of the sanctuary as well as shown a short, documentary-style video that highlights the horrors of the elephant tourism industry. Although graphic, the video is a must-watch as it highlights why there is such a need for the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary.

Interestingly enough, both times I joined the tour it seemed that most visitors were not aware of the hardships endured by many elephants in the tourism industry in Southeast Asia. Education is key, and the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary does a good job of turning something negative for the elephants into a positive experience for both elephants and visitors.

After a meet and greet feeding session with a few of the elephants, the tour kicks off in full swing. Separated into groups, visitors get the chance to wander the extensive grounds of the sanctuary and follow the elephants and their mahouts.

QSI International School Phuket

Observing the elephants in their natural habitat is a real treat. The lovely ladies are quite playful in nature and occasionally throw mud and pull down rather large tree branches. However, it is lovely to watch them being carefree and having fun. A highlight of the tour is watching the elephants frolic and bathe in the lagoon on the sanctuary grounds.

It is easy to see that the staff leading the tours are very passionate about their work. They truly love the elephants and share their knowledge freely and answer any questions as best they can. Mostly Thai, the staff are great conversationalists and really fun to be around for the duration of the tour.

The tour is rounded out with a delicious, homemade lunch prepared by the staff. The food is all vegan or vegetarian and included in booking costs.

A morning or afternoon at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is highly recommended for those coming to Phuket on holiday as well as locals and expats residing in Phuket or Thailand. Unique, informative and fun, the tour offers a lot of insight into the importance of having such a sanctuary in Phuket.

Plus, the elephants are sweet and charming and a joy to follow around for a few hours.

 

Amy Bensema is a writer, photographer and long-term Phuket expat. You can email her at: bensema.amy@gmail.com or follow her instagram @Phuketstagram

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Patong Police chief assures corruption officer suspects in exile, dissolves police volunteers unit

There is no one who has any confidence or trust neither the police or the volunteers in the Patong o...(Read More)


Consumer Protection pull ‘pla ra’ off Phuket shelves after rat carcass found

Wounder how much they have to pay to stay in business??...(Read More)


More Phuket monkeys to be sterilised next month

And whay so many monky try to swim back to the mainland (Phuket) from Koh Siray, it is due to lack o...(Read More)


Truck driver blames reckless tourist for motorbike slam

Maybe some do but drive regularly on Thai roads and you will see vast majority of Thai truck drivers...(Read More)


Beaten novice monk, 9, still in coma, fights for life

A monk defrocked, with hair on head, eyebrows, and small moustache? Defrocked 3-4 weeks ago? Why ...(Read More)


Consumer Protection pull ‘pla ra’ off Phuket shelves after rat carcass found

And this is in the super cheap to. And still the super cheap don’t now where they received the fo...(Read More)


Motorbike rider killed in Phuket pickup ‘pull out’ manoeuvre

This could have more truthfully stated that "Police have yet to press charges pending the deliv...(Read More)


Phuket pushes to splash B508mn on marine safety

"All that budget sucking is good for nothing" But perhaps good for somebody?...(Read More)


Phuket to hold mass merit-making event for Phoenix victims

ahhh...so why did you arrange such a ceremony for those victims who lost their lives in a plane cras...(Read More)


Chinese tourism arrivals hold despite Phoenix tour boat disaster

Wow,so many tourists! And after what i learned on this forum,mostly sex-tourists....(Read More)