MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary

If bonding with elephants is one of your must-do travel highlights, it’s hard to find a better place to do this than Laos: the Land of A Million Elephants. Spend time in their company at MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary, and get a feel for what makes these creatures so special - judging by our own experiences, this is one travel highlight that will never leave you! You’ll bathe the elephants, and trek alongside and feed these majestic creatures whilst learning about their individual personalities, and the pioneering elephant conservation work that is being carried out here.

What to expect at MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary...

Elephants are an ancient part of life in Laos - they have permeated Asian literature, art and religion for centuries, and enjoy almost mythical status among the Laotian people. Revered as symbols of strength and wisdom, they are now threatened as their forest habitat shrinks.

Nestled in a curve of the Nam Khan River as it breaks away from the mighty Mekong, MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary is currently home to seven elephants, including the characterful baby Kit, rescued from the destructive local timber industry and given a fresh start.They now spend their days foraging in fifty acres of peaceful Laotian countryside and enjoy a very different life.

Headed by Prasop Tipprasert, an expert in elephant conservation, MandaLao’s aim is to protect Laos’ fading elephant population and improve elephant welfare standards throughout the country. Education of the local community is an essential part of the project, as is the retraining of mahouts who are being encouraged to use pioneering methods of positive reinforcement (which are much more carrot than stick).

A visit to MandaLao provides a rare insight into elephant life. After an introduction to the project, you’ll meet the elephant residents - be sure to take plenty of ele-treats from reception! As you walk alongside them your guide will explain the nature and personality of each individual; you will observe how they naturally interact with each other and their incredible ability to display emotions.

Your guide will also explain how the project’s new training techniques differ from traditional methods. Then it’s bath time! There is the opportunity to join the elephants in the river and assist with their bathing, but be prepared to get wet, as these gentle giants can be playful in the water.

After around two hours, it’s time to bid farewell to your new found friends and trek back to MandaLao HQ, where you can enjoy lunch in the restaurant overlooking the sanctuary, with ingredients supplied by the on-site organic garden.

Location: Luang Prabang

Duration: Half day

Accommodation:

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Maria says...

'A magical morning, not just for the time spent close to the elephants, but for being part of the incredible work the team are doing here. This experience will definitely be on my life's highlight reel!'

Good to know

If you choose to help wash the elephants (which we recommend that you do) you will be right there in the river with them, so wear some clothes you don’t mind getting wet and perhaps a little muddy.

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