Elephant trekking is a must-do activity for many travelers, and we understand why. In your mind, you’re thinking, ‘This is my chance to finally get up close and personal with these amazing elephants while traveling to Thailand.’ So you’re probably wondering which are the best elephant trekking in Thailand, right? Well there really isn’t one. We too were once like you, eager to book the best elephant trekking tour in Phuket, looking forward to the unforgettable memories it promised to create. Little did we know then that the reality behind this popular activity is not so idyllic and is actually rather heartbreaking. The moment we learned about the awful things these amazing elephants had to go through, it was too late, and we couldn’t undo what we had already supported. We were left wishing we had known before getting on the back of an elephant.
So, we set out on a mission to shed light on the truth for all travelers planning to experience elephant trekking, whether in Thailand or any other country. So please read the next part before you go ahead and book your elephant trek. Because there are other ways to experience these amazing elephants without unconsciously subjecting them to cruel training and harsh living conditions.
The elephants that are used for trekking and other forms of entertainment often have to endure a cruel and painful existence, one that includes broken spirits, starvation, and confinement. In order for these elephants to carry you on their back they need to be trained. Young elephants are often:
These conditions are just the tip of the iceberg as elephants in the tourism industry also suffer from injuries, infections, and chronic health issues. To add to this, elephants are forced to perform for hours on end, carrying tourists on their backs in intense heat and humidity. Many of these gentle giants eventually die due to exhaustion, dehydration, and other health issues.
This is the very reason why we want you to know the truth behind these elephant trekking experiences before booking one. And instead, try to avoid supporting these types of activities so that these local businesses can shift the experiences they offer into something more ethical.
Elephants are intelligent, social creatures that are known for their strong familial bonds and intricate communication systems. In the wild, they can roam for miles each day, grazing on a variety of vegetation and interacting with other elephants. In some ways, they are very much like us humans.
Despite the cruelty involved in elephant trekking, it is still possible to encounter elephants in Phuket and create an unforgettable memory while doing so. There are now several elephant sanctuaries and rescue centers in Phuket & Thailand as a whole. Some of these places are like a safe haven for these gentle giants and let visitors observe them in a more natural setting. Others are basically retirement homes or rescue centers where elephants are saved from bad situations like logging or entertainment industries.
The best part is that these sanctuaries don’t chain up their elephants and let them just be themselves while providing travelers with an unforgettable elephant experience in Thailand. Plus, they are super committed to treating the elephants with respect and care, and even let visitors learn about elephant behavior and habitat, feed the elephants, and even go for a walk with them.
Aside from the elephant sanctuaries, there are also opportunities for you to see elephants in the wild in some of Thailand’s national parks. While these sightings are less common, they offer a chance to observe these creatures in their natural habitat and without disturbing their daily routines. Another amazing experience to add to your bucket list.
While elephant trekking may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the reality behind this activity is far from idyllic. The cruel treatment that these gentle giants are subjected to for the sake of tourism is a heartbreaking reality that we cannot ignore. By choosing to support ethical alternatives like sanctuaries and rescue centers, we can help to ensure that these animals are treated with the respect and compassion that they deserve.
After all, with no demand for elephant trekking, the industry will eventually have to change their practices to keep up with the shift in tourist preferences. By choosing ethical alternatives, we can support a sustainable and responsible form of tourism that benefits both the elephants and the local communities.
So, next time you’re traveling to Phuket or Thailand, please skip the elephant trekking experience and instead book an ethical elephant experience.
Join the movement, make a pledge! 🤝 Let’s keep elephant trekking, shows, and bathing out of our travel plans. Sign the pledge today! Your support is the key to creating a positive impact for elephants. Come on, let’s do this! Sign the pledge below, and let’s make a difference for elephants in Thailand. 🌍