By Paula Parker
Elephant Trekking in Phuket was once an extremely popular activity for many visitors, but thankfully over the last few years this has started to change with the introduction of elephant sanctuaries.
Elephants were once a vital part of life in Thailand and were an important part of the logging industry. When logging was banned in Thailand the only need for elephants was within the tourism industry.
The elephants that were once used for the logging industry in Thailand, were put to work and have been utilised for elephant trekking in Phuket and across other parts of Thailand for years.
Unfortunately, there were elephant camps that did not treat their elephants very well. Some elephants did not receive the proper care or enough food and they were sometimes mistreated.
Tourism still provides one of the few ways elephants and their handlers can make a living and thankfully with the increase in ethical elephant sanctuaries in Phuket life for the elephants is improving.
Elephant sanctuaries are a great alternative to elephant trekking in Phuket, and we would like to encourage travellers to visit one of
the elephant sanctuaries as apposed to an elephant camp.
There are several elephant sanctuaries located across the Island, but not all sanctuaries are the same. Below is a list of the best elephant sanctuaries to visit.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary was the first ethical elephant sanctuary in Phuket, rescuing sick, injured and old elephants. This sanctuary has both morning and afternoon programs where you will learn about the elephants, you will be able to feed them, but you are not allowed to bathe or ride the elephants.
Tree Tops Elephant Reserve
The Tree Tops Elephant Reserve is another true ethical elephant sanctuary, it does not allow visitors to bathe, touch or ride the elephants. You are encouraged to feed the elephants and to follow them around the reserve to watch them in their natural habitat.
Both the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary and the Tree Tops Reserve are the most ethical sanctuaries in Phuket as visitors are only allowed to observe and feed the elephants, whereas other sanctuaries allow visitors to bathe with the elephants.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket
The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket is where you can bathe with the elephants in Phuket, prepare meals and the guides will give you an insight into the behaviour and the history of the elephants within the park.
They do not allow any elephants trekking but their programs include mud baths with the elephants.
If you would like to visit the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary contact our friends at Easy Day Thailand.
Most of the elephant sanctuaries in Phuket offer either morning or afternoon programs, lunch is usually included.
Visitor numbers are kept to a minimum in each program to ensure the elephants don't get stressed, so you will need to book in advance.
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