I'm still upset I paid the measly $30AUS to go to this place. So sad to see the elephants being treated so poorly...
I have been to Phuket before and did an amazing elephant trekking tour. It was a bit pricey but so worth it. The elephants were free roaming in a huge enclosure (not close to loud noises which are harmful to elephants), NEVER touched by the hooks the handlers hold, never screamed at by the Thai men, able to stop to "relieve" themsleves, or get a drink of water...they were treated very well. KOK CHANG WAS THE EXACT OPPOSITE! We decided to do the trekking because it was only $30AUS for a 50min ride, but I'm kicking myself for doing so.
When we arrived the elephants were right off the main highway--loud cars and motorbikes--which isn't good for elephants. They are very sensitive to sound and loud noise over time can cause them to have emotional disorders etc. Then I heard the gibbons screaming and realized they had caged gibbons--one of the world's most endangered ape. So sad. Paid and jumped on our elephant. The guide wasn't friendly, didn't wanna talk to us at all. After about 3 minutes of walking with her, he hit her about 3 times super hard with the end of his hook. She wasn't doing anything wrong! The entire time we were on the elephant he was constantly yelling at her to go faster "oui oui" and hitting her so much. I eventually yelled at him to stop hitting her. He hooked her face when she paused to nose around in the moist grass. I felt like crying the whole time. A family riding behind us had two younger girls and you could tell that these little girls were scared and sad to see the elephants being treated so poorly. When I trekked my first time, the guides had a hook but the NEVER even touched the elephants with it.
After the lame trek--we just went up a hill and down a hill, basically--they chained them up and we could feed them bananas. I made sure to feed them all at least 1 full bunch of bananas each--but did not pay a cent to the place. When the staff at the bar area asked how I liked it I openly told them I thought it was upsetting and that I wish I never came. We left instantly and I'm still upset about it.
PLEASE don't go there. There are so many other places near Phuket and in Phuket that you can go to and have a beautiful trek without the pain of seeing these poor elephants being abused. I hope this changes someones mind because I sure wish I had read a review like this that told the truth about the place.
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