Such a privilege to be able to spend half of day with the elephants at the elephant sanctuary in Phuket.
We left our hotel early in the morning around 7am, went directly to one of these places from where you can rent a motorbike and hit the road to the sanctuary.
It was a 45 minutes or maybe a 1 hour journey from our hotel up to the mountain (Monkeypod Coffee House). From there a truck picked us up and took us to the sanctuary.
Once we arrived we were introduced the elephants and how they are being treated in Thailand. There are around 3000 elephants in Thailand used in the logging and tourism industry. They elephants go through a cruel process in order to domesticate them. They are tight into chains to brake their spirit or will and this can take several weeks or even months to complete. Some of the elephants die during the process and who ever makes it through they will eventually have a hard time serving in the logging industry ending up injured or die. When the elephants become old and injured, they no longer can be used in the logging industry, therefore they are sold to the tourism industry where they give rides to the tourists. There are around 23-28 trekking camps alone in Phuket.
I have to admit before going to Thailand, I was imagining myself riding an elephant, but now I am glad that I made a research before going and I didn’t end up doing that.
I think the only way we can stop mistreating elephants is buy making people aware of it.
Do a simple google search about how the elephants end up doing elephant riding, it is heartbreaking.
When the presentation ended we met 4 of the elephants from the sanctuary and spent half of they with them. We gave them food and walk with them through the jungle.
Kannika is the youngest elephant from the 4, she is in her mid 30s, the most energetic of all and the leader of the group.
Dok Gaew – everyone calls her grandma, because she is in her late 60s and she is really really slow. She likes doing things step buy step, but without missing out from the rest of the group.
Madee is in her mid 60s and just like everyone else she was rescued from the logging industry. She is a really good friend with Kannika, but recently accepted Grandma in the group too.
Gae Taw is the 4th elephant and unfortunately she didn’t spent time with us because she got blind during her time in the trekking camps. Being blind is really scary for her and new people can make her really anxious.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary was open since 2016 and they saved 5 elephants since then, unfortunately once of them passed away due to several injurious from the trekking camp.
It was fun to see how the elephants enjoy having fun in the jungle, crushing the bamboo trees, covering themselves with mud and than taking a bath.
It was an unforgettable experience for me, something I would do again if I go back to Thailand. I believe it cost us around £60 / person for the sanctuary and just £6 for renting the bike.
I definitely recommend visiting the sanctuary in Phuket if you are there, or visit the one in Chang Mai where they have around 50 elephants.
I made a vlog about my experience, is a bit longer then my other videos, but I just couldn’t decide which shot should I live out in order to make it shorter as I enjoy every single part of it.
Here is a link to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in case you want to step by: http://www.phuketelephantsanctuary.org/