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“Rustic and accessible only by boat!”
Review of Elephant Lodge

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Elephant Lodge
Reviewed 24 July 2010

Stayed here for one night as part of a package with Elephant Village tour out of Luang Prabang. EV is pricier than the other elephant tours but we decided to go with it because we were satisfied that it was the most humane and conservation-oriented of all the elephant operators out of LP.

The elephants do indeed look well taken care of and one mahout in particular (see photo) has an amazing relationship with his elephant -- voice only, no need for a hook or any other device to control the animal with.

The experience was a major highlight of our trip to Asia but I do want to point out that the lodge is not as glossy as the pictures make it look. It is accessible only by boat and a steep and dodgy series of steps cut into the hill. You have to be fit to access it. The furnishings are nice but, as befits a jungle lodge, rustic.

Also, only one room has air conditioning and it is a loft room, accessible by staircase, and much smaller than the other rooms with a small, dark bathroom with no shower stall. There's a shower but you basically stand in the middle of the bathroom so the entire place gets wet.

The a/c was well worth it as we slept very well in the cool air. There were strange sounds in the middle of the night but this was probably animals crawling on the roof.

The restaurant at EV is expensive and not very good but they have you captive and they take full advantage. The owner is local and from the t-shirts he wears, a male chauvinist pig. But you don't have much choice -- his is the only game in town.

If you want as much time with the elephants as possible, do the living as a mahout overnight trip. Compared to the one-day trip, you get 2 extra treks with the elephant where you ride on their necks, not in the howdah, a total of about an hour more with the elephant. (Also more hiking back and forth on the same trail to pick up and drop off the elephants, and more time on the sampan in the Nam Khan river, which was a lovely experience.)

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Style_Buff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 January 2009

I booked a two day mahout's course for my family through Tiger Trails to stay two days and one night outside Luang Prabang . I did a little online research, saw that they had a good LP write up and had a decent email exchange with them to get details of the trip. The trip was very expensive but it sounded something special and the company said they had a strong emphasis on the environment, conservation and animal welfare so we all decided to give it ago.

The trip however fell far short of what was advertised and our expectations. I won't write down the litany of complaints we had but suffice to say that we were tourists on a conveyor belt with the elephants traipsing round on the same conveyor belt with new tourists every half an hour. There was no introduction, explanation or training how to work with elephants. There was no evidence of community development or conservation projects. The trip was chaotic and confusing. One of the mahouts fell asleep on the elephant and our guide later explained that he had a hangover and was tired!!

The only saving grace was that the company's credit card machine was broken so we couldn't pay before we left on the trip. Instead after the trip, we paid what we thought the trip was worth (around half the initial sum) and faced little complaint from the company.

Having said all of the above, the location of the camp was superb and the kayaking on the second day good fun. I would recommend others to enjoy the countryside around Luang Prabang but do some careful research and don't go with Tiger Trails who are classic rip off merchants!

Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
1  Thank kampucheaIreland
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Reviewed 28 August 2008

I thought I was staying at Lao Spirit but was actually at Elephant Park which was beside it an uses the same resturant.I found it quite confusing as Elephant Park seemed to have only 3 rooms it really seemed to be a part of Lao Spirit.The location is beautiful.& views from the resturant beautiful.Iwas only there one night & did'nt find the food great there was some confusion & I was not given a menu i.e.I had food but did'nt choose it& I was'nt given much.The basin in the bathroom was not connected to a pipe so water ran all over the floor the staff were uninterested in doing anything about this.The biggest dissapointment was the activities I was supposed to be doing organised thru Tiger Trails I felt they were not as advertised & having to wait 1 hour for the elephant man to turn up the next day I could'nt wait to get out of there & get back to beautiful Luang Prabang even though I was booked in for a half day of rafting I said forget it let me get out of here .Afew changes with the way it's run & it could be a great place.

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled solo
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1  Thank gerlindesydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2016
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Stayed: February 2016
Thank parisian62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2015 via mobile
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Stayed: November 2015, travelled as a couple
Thank RobynT1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Elephant Lodge

Address: At the Nam Khan River Just Opposite the Elephant XL Camp And Nearby the Lao Spirit Resort, Luang Prabang 0600, Laos
Region: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Hotel Style:
Ranked #85 of 155 Speciality Lodging in Luang Prabang
Number of rooms: 17

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