Many tourists visit Thailand each year embarking on trekking rides etc… not knowing how much suffering this puts the elephants in. Most of the time, elephants that are kept at trekking sites etc for “tourism purposes” are usually subject to a lot of abuse and hardship in order to ensure the elephants will behave obediently.
While getting the elephants to “obey” is one thing, another issue is the fact that these elephants are often overworked and relentlessly carrying heavy weights on their backs day after day.
Hence while sanctuaries like Samui Elephant Sanctuary are definitely contributing to the better treatment of elephants, it’s important we EDUCATE those around us to ensure that we discourage tourists from taking part in elephant rides, but instead contributing to the rescuing of these beautiful mammals.
If you love elephants, don’t EVER ride them.
(SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR VIDEO OR DIRECTLY ON YOUTUBE)
Last week we had the pleasure of visiting an elephant sanctuary while visiting Thailand. Originally we were looking to visit Krabi’s Elephant Sanctuary however we didn’t have enough days allocated there, so we were thrilled when we found out that there was a Samui Elephant Sanctuary too.
Booking in advance is definitely recommended, we only booked the day before (so there weren’t any morning sessions left but that wasn’t a big issue for us. Each tour is around 2-3 hours long including pick up/drop off etc. We didn’t have to pay in advance and only paid in cash upon arrival.
After a short intro session and a few snacks/refreshments kindly provided by the team, we split up into groups, washed our hands (because the elephants don’t like insect repellent, sunscreen etc), and we were given a bag of bananas.
Samui Elephant Sanctuary officially opened less than 1 year ago on 16th January 2018. Though other ones in Phuket, Chiangmai, Krabi etc aren’t technically the same group, they are all in partnership. Here we got to visit 6 different female elephants that had been rescued (or bought over) from their original owners.
We had amazing guides who explained more about each elephant’s background and history prior to being rescued by the elephant sanctuaries. This particular sanctuary only housed females (due to less space & males needing more acres of land), but it was so soothing to be surrounded by such peaceful animals who got cheeky about the kinds of bananas (e.g. needed to be more ripe) they wanted.
Learning about the kind of abuse was bittersweet, and I personally think it comes down to educating more of the public to make more informed decisions. Though any visitor to Thailand ultimately wants to be able to get up close to elephants, we need to understand & spread the word that elephants aren’t made to carry such heavy loads (and here at the sanctuary a few have back pain/can’t control their bladder due to this). (Watch video for full insights).
Visiting the elephant sanctuaries will not only enable you to bond with elephants in a more loving and free environment, but consequently help support the further rescuing of elephants as these sanctuaries continue to grow.
For other activities to explore in Thailand visit https://bit.ly/wwybklook
Side Note: DJI Osmo Pocket
This trip I opted to test out the DJI Osmo Pocket by using it to film all footage. The vlog below of Samui’s Elephant Sanctuary was entirely filmed on my DJI Osmo Pocket.
Be the judge for yourself and check out the audio/video quality below. (Apart from a small audio glitch everything else was absolutely perfect).
If you’re keen on getting one yourself feel free to check it out here.
Address of Samui Elephant Sanctuary: