Pioneering elephant conservation in Phuket

The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a true leading light in elephant conservation. This pioneering project has created a sustainable alternative to controversial elephant trekking activities by giving rescued elephants a new life, and showing visitors a better way to interact with these compelling animals. This ethical encounter gives you an inspiring glimpse into the sanctuary’s work helping to care for sick, old and injured elephants in their natural environment.

What to expect at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Undertaking groundbreaking work at the forefront of elephant rescue and rehabilitation, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary offers the highest standards of welfare for the elephants in their care, as well as programmes to persuade Thailand’s remaining elephant-riding camps to embrace more thoughtful alternatives.

Providing a viable economic alternative to riding elephants, and one which still encourages responsible tourism, is vital to the success of their work, and you are invited to spend a morning learning about the sanctuary and interacting with the elephants in a natural and respectful way.

Your morning begins with a drive to the Tree Top area in the heart of the reserve – a group of ecologically designed buildings which blend into the surrounding forest – where you’ll be shown a presentation about the elephants and their sanctuary home, before venturing out to meet them. The elephants are very used to human company, due to being rescued from the logging and trekking industries, and readily gather at the feeding station where they know they’ll get extra treats!

Groups are kept small so as not to crowd the animals or create too much noise, so you’ll be able to talk to the rangers about their work as you meet and feed the elephants. Like many animals who have spent their lives in captivity, the rescued elephants can’t be returned to the wild as they would be unable to survive alone, so the sanctuary provides a vast open space where they can roam free in a safe and appropriate home with care on hand at all times.

After you’ve all enjoyed treat-time at the feeding stations, the elephants will wander back through the reserve at their own pace. You’ll follow at a respectful distance and watch as they interact with each other, and enjoy the rare experience of observing the varied lives of elephants in their natural habitat.

Location: Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, Thailand

Duration: 3.5 - 4 hours

Accommodation: Your choice of Phuket hotel

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Gemma says...

'This is an incredible opportunity to take a closer look at the latest work in elephant conservation, with the reassuring knowledge that your presence there is helping them continue their vital work. And, of course, actually getting to meet the elephants is pretty special.'

Useful information...

Although our photos were taken on a rainy day, it can get pretty hot here so we recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat as well as the usual sunglasses and sunscreen. Suitable footwear for hiking conditions is advised. The reserve can provide wellies if the ground is boggy, but ask that you bring your own socks! The sanctuary politely request that visitors dress with respect to the local culture, covering arms, torso and legs. Please bring a reusable water bottle to fill up onsite.

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