Winter at Tantora

Responsible Elephant Sanctuaries in Thailand

by Angelique Platas

Dec 8, 2018

Elephants in Amboseli, Kenya © Michal Bednarek | Dreamstime

Trends / Voluntourism

Thailand is a hot spot for travelers seeking culture, serene natural beauty and incredible experiences. One of the more popular ways to spend the day, alongside enjoying local cuisine, is spending quality time with elephants. Whether feeding, washing or just visiting, elephants have gotten a lot of attention from tourists.


Being a trendy attraction for visitors, many companies try to capitalize on the fascinating, beautiful animals and put their health and wellbeing below financial interests. Avoid the frauds and stick with the kinder, more responsible organizations, like sanctuaries and rescues, to get your one-on-one time with elephants on your trip to Thailand.


Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

Located in Tha Mai Ruak, Thailand, the Wildlife Friends Foundation is a wildlife refuge center focused on caring for ailing animals and wildlife. WFFT works to rescue, rehabilitate and protect all kinds of animals, including elephants. Head to the Elephant Refuge and Education Centre on a day tour and for $46, guests enjoy an educational tour of the center, walk and bathe elephants and lunch.


The sanctuary is located about a two-hour drive from Bangkok and 35 minutes from Ch-Am and Hua Hin, so plan transportation appropriately. Dress for walking, getting dirty and in light layers to change with the weather.


Elephant Nature Park

Over in Kuet Chang, guests can visit rescue elephants in their home habitat and learn more about each of them and their rescue. Feed, bathe and get to know the elephants on a day tour for about $73, or spend the night for $168.


The tours include meals for you, elephants and pick-up and drop-off in Chiang Mai. For those opting for the overnight tour, hut accommodations are provided. If you can, bring swim suits, towels, comfortable flip flops or sandals that can get wet and a pair of clothes to change into. This tour can get messy.


Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary

Live among the elephants at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary for about $175 per guest, per night. Get to know the lovable animals while taking care of them with the professionals.


Experiences include all meals, non-alcoholic drinks, cottage accommodations, WiFi, laundry and pick-up and drop-off. This one is a bit more remote and more like an Airbnb, so bring what you need and plan for a journey; reservations required.

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