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Humane elephant trekking?

England, United...
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212 posts
25 reviews
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Humane elephant trekking?

Hi,

My husband and I have always wanted to go on an elephant trek. However reading some of the reviews, I am aware that not all trekking places treat the animals humanely.

I have read lots of reviews of Kok Chang as an example, and they are very mixed. Lots of people say they treat them well, keep them in the shade, etc . However lots of others say they use the metal hook against them an awful lot, which I would hate.

So, does anyone know of somewhere in Phuket, which does elephant trekking BUT which treats the animals with respect? I don't care where in Phuket or how much, I am more concerned about the animals' welfare to be honest, as I would hate to go somewhere and find that they were not treating them well, and would certainly not wish to support such a place by giving them my money.

Many thanks.

Norfolk, United...
Destination Expert
for Chaweng, Ko Samui
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352 reviews
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1. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

Hi

I would say if you can not find anywhere that you feel is not ethical, then give it a miss - we do!

Macksville...
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397 posts
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2. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

My wife and i were in Phuket in July and went to "Siam safari Elephant trekking",, we really enjoyed it and as far as we could see the Elephants were very well treated,, did not once see an elephant being hit the whole time we were there,, you also get to see how Water Buffalos are used for ploughing , Rubber tree tapping and coconut husking, etc,,,Anna was our guide and is very informative,, also get a very nice thai meal at the end of the tour,, was a great day out,,, we loved it

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

We are looking to try Jungle Safari Khao Sok from Phuket, a full day tour with canoe ride up the river to the Elephant ride in the jungle.

Darwin, Australia
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1,405 posts
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4. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

Hey Bride,

we went in June & took our son to Siam Safari, i totally agree with Vulcan, we went on the tour & saw no sign of anything cruel being done to the elephants or any other animal, would highly recomend them to anyone, we are taking our wedding guests there in November as a gift from us.

Good luck & safe travels

Vinny

Brisbane, Australia
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1,165 posts
13 reviews
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5. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

I'm really glad that you're very concerned for the elephant's welfare and not just having a "trophy" moment with these beautiful creatures like a lot of tourists do. After doing a lot of research, we just could not bear to do it knowing what we know so my friend and I made a 3 day detour to Chiang Mai to spend a full day at the elephant sanctuary where you really get the full experience (and have a great time at Chiang Mai too!)

But this is also a catch 22, if there were no paying tourists what would happen to all these elephants and how would their mahouts feed them and care for them properly? I really don't know what the answer to this but glad to see more people are being made aware of this issue.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

It's a really tough question... We didn't do the elephant trekking because I had heard they treat the animal poorly, however I have since been told that the Thai highly regard elephants. We went to Fantasea and there were a lot of animals in the show and I wasn't sure how I would feel about seeing the elephants perform. When I think about it - the elephants are their lifeline, without them they would have no business so they must look after them. Particularly at Fantasea where they were trained - a lot of time, effort and money would go into training them, so surely they would look after their asset. The elephants that I saw seemed to be quite happy and healthy.

Gold Coast
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123 posts
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7. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

I was concerened about this also so I didn't book one but......my husband did! It was with "Amazing BUKIT Safari" and after reading the fine print about no refunds, we went. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the elephants where treated well, well feed and looked healthy. Our mahout had one of those hooks but never used it, he just hung it on the elephants ear. The mahout would just talk to the elephant and it would listen......they obviously had an understanding. I'm just grateful we never saw the ill-treatment a lot of people have mentioned on TA.

England, United...
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212 posts
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8. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

Wow thanks for so many replies :-)

Thank you for the Siam Safari recommendations, I'll look that one up now.

TravellingMitch - don't worry, if we can't then we won't. We simply wouldn't enjoy it.

I do see what people are saying about what would happen to the elephants if people stopped going there - but ultimately, if something is wrong, it shouldn't continue simply for that reason. It's not that these companies should stop elephant trekking anyway, it's more that they should do it in an appropriate manner - if that was the case I guess I wouldn't be having to even ask this question :-(

Anyway , really appreciate your feedback, and I'll look up Siam safaris now.

New Milton, United...
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9. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

with respect-- their hardly going to treat elephants cruelly in front of tourists are they?

the mahout uses the bill hook to cause the ele pain so that it obeys him he hooks it in its ear and tugs it, if the animal doesnt respond it gets a harder pull till it does its the only way to control a wild creature

i went on one - never again

get the rose tinted glasses off folks--with respect

Preston, United...
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10. Re: Humane elephant trekking?

I have to agree with Andy, they won't openly hurt them in front of tourists. Elephants are wild animals and not born to do tricks or perform. We visited a rescue centre in hua hin this year and when they explained how the elephants are broken to be used in the tourist industry I was really shocked! It's trurly upsetting. We're heading back to Thailand next year and the only pls e we're visiting with elephants is elephant nature park in chiang mai who were recommended to us by the rescue centre as one of the few legit places that look after elephants. The only other time I hope to see elephants and any other wild animal is on safari in their natural habitat, just gotta get saving to get there :o)