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  • 5 Best Elephant Trekking Camps in Phuket

    Where to Ride an Elephant in Phuket

    Elephant trekking is a popular activity in Phuket. Even though elephants are not a native species of the island – Phuket elephants come from the cooler north of Thailand – you can find between 15 and 20 camps offering elephant trekking here. Many comments have been made over the years about the well-being of these animals in Phuket as the way animals are treated in Thailand is often questionable – there are still endangered species such as slow Loris at night on touts’ shoulder along Soi Bangla without any action from the authorities. As for elephant camps, things have improved with some help from the Asian Elephant Foundation of Thailand – based in Bangkok, which started to supervise and control Phuket elephant camps in 1994.

    Nowadays, we can say that broadly speaking most Phuket elephant camps take good care of their animals, and only the fact that exploiting wild animals to make a living remains objectionable. We visited the biggest elephant camps in Phuket and made a list of the five most recommendable of them. Most of them are located in the southern part of the island, near the most popular Phuket resorts of Patong and Kata Beaches. Note that a large majority of the elephants used for trekking in Phuket are female, with a gentler and more stable temperament than males. All prices quoted below are of April 2013.

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    Siam Safari is one of the most established nature tours company in Phuket. Opened in 1994 this company operates several nature tours in Chalong and in Khao Sok (150km north of Phuket) in which you can enjoy and learn a lot of things about local life in south Thailand. If you just want to ride an elephant, they have two elephant treks available on the hills overlooking Chalong Bay: 30 minutes (adult: 1,450 baht, child: 950 baht) and 45 minutes (adult: 1,690 baht, child: 1,150 baht). But Siam Safari also has full-day tours such as ‘4-in-1 Safari’, and overnight tours such as ‘Elephant Hills Safari’ which can be more appealing due to the number of activities offered on those tours. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
    • Location: On the road to Phuket Big Buddha
    • Tel: +66 (0)76 384 456, +66 (0)76 383 490
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    Safari Elephant Club Patong Beach
    Safari Elephant Club – Patong
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    Opened in 1986, Safari Elephant Club claims to be the longest-running elephant trekking camp in Phuket. Located on the hill at the entrance of Patong Beach (when coming from Karon Beach), it may look a bit out of place at first sight due to the fact that many modern buildings have been constructed around and above it. Their elephant trekking tours take you on the mountain overlooking Relax Bay (where Le Meridien Phuket is located) on your left and Patong Bay on your right, for the following prices: 30 minutes -1,000 baht, 45 minutes – 1,200 baht, and 60 minutes – 1,500 baht (half price for children four-11 years old). They have six elephants for the treks and one baby elephant for photos.

    • Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:30
    • Location: 500m south of Simon Cabaret on the road to Karon Beach
    • Tel: +66 (0)90 401 5082, +66 (0)86 401 9937
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    Kok Chang Elephant Camp Kata Noi
    Kok Chang Elephant Camp – Kata Noi
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    Kok Chang Elephant Camp is also a long-running elephant trekking company (opened in 1993). Located on the road toward Kata Viewpoint it is certainly one of the most beautifully situated elephant camps in Phuket, as this area still remains free of construction. Jungle and mountains in its backdrop, a stunning sea view at its front, Kok Chang has seven elephants waiting to take you for a trek. Three programmes are available: 20 minutes – 600 baht, 30 minutes – 800 baht, and 50 minutes – 1,000 baht, half-price for children between four and 11 years old and free for children under four, it is one of the cheapest elephant trekking tours in Phuket. In front of the camp, on the other side of the road stands Kok Chang Restaurant in which you can enjoy Thai food with a superb view to Phuket’s west coast.

    • Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:30
    • Location: 500m before Kata View Point when coming from Kata Beach
    • Tel: +66 (0)89 591 9413
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    Sea View Elephant Camp Nai Harn
    Sea View Elephant Camp – Nai Harn
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    Sea View Elephant Camp is a recent addition to the Phuket elephant-trekking scene as it opened in 2010. Located on the flank of the mountain on which Kata Viewpoint is situated, on the Nai Harn side, it is a big camp also offering activities such as ATV and paintball. They have 12 elephants ready for a trek on the mountains overlooking Chalong Bay with three programmes: 30 minutes – 900 baht (adult) and 600 (children), 45 minutes – 1,100 baht (adults) and 700 baht (children), and 60 minutes – 1,380 baht (adults) and 800 baht (children).

    • Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:30
    • Location: 1 km from Kata Viewpoint on the way down towards Nai Harn Beach
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    Camp Chang Kalim Kalim Beach
    Camp Chang Kalim – Kalim
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    Camp Chang Kalim describes itself as ‘the best sea view elephant trekking in Phuket’; it is true that its location on the side of the hill overlooking the coast between Kalim and Kamala Beaches offers stunning sea views. Opened in 2007, Camp Chang Kalim has seven adults and one baby elephant. Three trekking programmes are available: 30 minutes - 900 baht (adults) and 600 baht (children 4-10 years old), 45 minutes – 1,100 baht (adults) and 700 baht (children), and 60 minutes – 1,300 baht (adults) and 800 baht (children). Free for children under four years old.

    • Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00
    • Location: Approx. 2km from Kalim Beach on the road heading to Kamala beach
    • Tel: +66 (0)89 729 6184
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    • Safari Elephant Club between Patong and Katon beaches
    • Elephant camp ahead
    • Elephant at Camp Chang Kalim
    • Elephant trekking in Chalong hills with Siam Safari
 
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