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.
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