Elephant Sanctuaries in Phuket have very rapidly become very popular as the attitude towards animal-based attractions changes. The emphasis at these camps is on ethical, animal-friendly interaction with these majestic creatures, many of whom have been rescued or retired from the local logging and elephant trekking industries. The welfare of the residents is often the first priority of such places.
If meeting elephants up close is on your bucket list for your trip to Phuket, these parks are the best places to do so in a way which causes the minimum harm and disturbance to them. You will also learn far more about the gentle giants than you would from a short ride on their back, and both you and the elephants are far more likely to have a fun time together.
Phuket Elephant SanctuaryPaklok, nr Phuket Town
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary was the pioneer of ethical elephant tourism in the area and goes to great pains to create as natural and peaceful an environment as possible for their residents. While you can watch and walk with the majestic creatures and learn a lot about the individuals, interaction beyond that is kept to a strict minimum. There are morning and afternoon tours available and you can volunteer at the sanctuary for six days. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 13:00
- Location: Collection from Monkey Pod Café, Paklok
- Tel: +66 (0)94 990 3649
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/phuketelephantsanctuary
- Price Range: 3,000 baht per adult, 1,500 baht for under 12s
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary PhuketNaithon Beach
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary was among the first of the ethical elephant attractions in Thailand in their Chiang Mai location. Now boasting three venues (Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya), their half-day visits are the cheapest in the area. You will be allowed to touch, feed and photograph the elephants, as well as giving them a mud bath and then a rinse in the river. Collection from your Phuket hotel is included in the price of the tour.
- Opening Hours: 08:30 – 18:30
- Location: Hills behind Naithon Beach
- Tel: +66 (0)94 663 6592
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/ejsinphuket
- Price Range: 2,500 baht per adult, 1,900 baht for under-10s
Elephant Retirement Park PhuketBangtao Beach
The Elephant Retirement Park still allows quite a lot of physical interaction with their residents, including giving them a mud bath and a wash. However, they still take the welfare of the elephants seriously, allowing only small groups and no riding. Aside from the usual morning and afternoon tours, there are also special private and corporate packages as well as volunteer programmes for up to three days. Collection from your hotel anywhere in Phuket is included in the price.
- Opening Hours: 07:30 – 17:00
- Location: Soi Cherngtalay 1, Bangtao
- Tel: +66 (0)7 608 945, +66 (0)90 321 8958
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/elephantretirementparkphuket
- Price Range: 2,600 baht per adult, 1,800 baht for under 10s
Phang Nga Elephant ParkPhang Nga
Phang Nga Elephant Park is about an hour’s drive from Phuket, but transfers are available to get you there for the morning or afternoon tours. Their “Elephant Experience” packages include feeding and bathing the residents and, uniquely, riding on their necks like a mahout, which is significantly less harmful than the old style of riding right on the spine. This is only available for those over the age of seven. Children under that age can have the “Kids Elephant Experience”, which is much gentler.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 – 18:00
- Location: Route 3059, Phang Nga
- Tel: +66 (0)85 351 5536
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/phangngaelephantpark
- Price Range: 4,900 baht per adult, 2,900 baht for under-14s