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“A really enjoyable day”

Elephant Village Sanctuary Day Trips
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Explore Luang Prabang Backroads Biking Tour
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Elephant Village in Luang Prabang was set up in 2003 and is now owned by a group of passioante Lao nationals. Our sales office is located on the main street in town close to the National Museum and our beautiful elephant camp is located next to the village Ban Xieng Lom. Elephant Village focuses on three objectives:1. Saving Elephants 2. Community Support 3. Nature Preservation. We take elephants out of the very dangerous logging industry and provide them with an alternative way of earning their income. We try to help the elephants which desperately need help the most such as older elephants and elephants which have injuries due to accidents. We currently have 14 elephants in our care including 2 baby elephants which will never have to work in the logging industry. We are also home to a female elephant called Mae Uak, who was injured when she stepped on a 'UXO' (Un-Exploded Ordinance) some time ago, before we rescued her. She is now happily living in our herd.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A really enjoyable day”
Reviewed 18 November 2013

The reviews for this attraction continue to swing between the extremes. FWIW we were a group of five on the mahout training day. We got on well together which obviously helps and received all the promised activities which included visiting the baby elephant, basic training, a long trek passing through the river on a howdah in pairs(this like it or not is as described in the programme description). They were adamant that there could be no more than two people per elephant + mahout. We took it in turns to ride on the elephant's neck. Lunch was freshly prepared - adequate but not grand. Vegetarians were catered for. We rode our elephants (oneperson per elephant) across the river and 'washed' them while the elephants were encouraged to spray water over us. Finally we had a return boat ride to the waterfall, had a swim and then returned back to our hotels. In the end we felt that they had fulfilled their promises. The whole experience was great fun. That said there were signs of overbooking and we did have to wait for our elephants at times. There is room for better staff training to deal more positively with these small glitches. For example tthe offer of a coffee whilst we waited would have been a nice gesture. The staff also appear to have been a little unsettled by very recent news that the German owner has sold the venture to a Lao businessman. Of course that is only hearsay and I have no way of verifying that. All in all I am glad I did the day's training and had a great time with very nice people. The animals appeared to be treated well as far as we could see. I would recommend the experience but don't expect more than it says on the tin.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank BobM10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“amazing day”
Reviewed 17 November 2013

I have read the other reviews and can understand why people think they've been short changed with how much contact time is with the elephants; but what people must realise is these animals are not fair ground rides. They need rest. And the whole reason they have been rescued here is to be saved from morning-night tourist slogging!!!!

On to my review. The village is beautiful and the elephants are peaceful. None are chained up or showing any signs of distress. Our guide was hilarious and spoke very good english, answering all our questions. We arrived, had a showaround and then on to mahout training. We then learned how to mount an elephant using the commands and walking around the village on elephants neck - one on one with the mahout. Then, we did the 1hr trek across the river and though the village. The jungle is not included in the day experience! But it was more than long enough and you could choose whether to sit in the chair or on the neck. Our mahout also took our camera and got us some lovely shots!

We then took a boat ride across the river to see baby Maxi. He's five months old and very playful - and strong! If you don't peel those bananas quick enough - he will ram you!

Next, lunch. A buffet which was tasty and filling. NIce salad too! Beer and soft drinks are extra cost and there is ice cream to buy too.
We were then asked to get changed into bathing gear and on the way to the changing rooms we found a very luxury pool. Be rude not to! So we had a dip after lunch whilst we waited for our guide to collect us.
After this, we went down to the river to bathe/swim with the elephants. It was amazing - I won't say too much.
The elephants only work 8-2pm then spend the rest of the day in the jungle eating. So we said our goodbyes, tipped our mahout then got on the boat to the Tad Sae waterfall. Here, we saw the 'All Laos Elephant Camp' where the elephants were kept chained, rocking and showed signs of deep elephant hook wounds. Please do not book a tour here. They're overworked and not fed.

The elephant village might be $10 more, but it's worth it to ensure their good work is continued and this shines through with healthy elephants, a baby being born in their breeding programme, the elephant hospital and a good quality of life.

Best day ever. Would strongly recommend!!!!

Visited November 2013
1 Thank hayleys5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“It's not really a 'full day experience'”
Reviewed 7 November 2013

Getting to ride and spend time with elephants is always going to be amazing, but we were disappointed with the amount of time we actually had with elephants. We paid for a full day experience, but had less than two hours total with elephants and that was after lunch. The rest of the day was made up with learning about the village, trekking and visiting the waterfalls. That was all very cool as well, and we still had a fabulous day, but it's worth asking how much animal time you get for your money. We were sad as well to learn that it's German-owned, so not sure how much goes back to the community.

Visited October 2013
Thank j9nz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“A good experience that you should do at least once”
Reviewed 31 October 2013

We done a half day tour today costing $46 each after booking in Luang Prabang yesterday. This consisted of taking an elephant ride from the park down to the river, through the river which when doing, you can sit on the neck of the elephant, and then back up to the park. The whole journey is about 1hour which I think is enough unless you really love elephants. After this, we took a boat over to the other side and met the new born. Its very playful and likes to charge at people but its not dangerous. At this point, you might think the keepers might hit it with a stick to keep it in order but they didn't. They just told us what movements to do to dodge it or hold it back. When then got back into the boat and went to tad sae waterfall which are really nice. After an hour swimming there, back in the boat and to park for a lunch and then transport back to the town centre. Its a very well run camp and tour and I personally think it was worth the money.

If you're thinking of doing an elephant trip then this company is probably the best. Very nice location, clean sanctuary with lots of space to just roam around, feed the elephants etc.

Visited October 2013
Thank mattpreece87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great place to spend the day”
Reviewed 9 October 2013 via mobile

We had a nice time there: riding and feeding elephants; at the pool; having lunch (nothing special); exploring the area and having a boat way to the waterfall. Be sure that waterfall has enough water to swim otherwise it will disappoint you.
Place is clean. You can also sleep there. Do not forget your swimsuit.

Visited February 2013
Thank Adradas-Shanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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