An honest review of Elephants World in Kanchanaburi
When we finally arrived after our long day sightseeing on the train we wearily made our way to the Tara Bed and Breakfast. A small BnB that from the outside looked less than promising but which had had some great reviews on Trip Advisor. It came complete with clean rooms, towels moulded into fancy shapes, and a swimming pool which I had been hoping to use before I had seen the incoming mountainous clouds which threatened to crush my spirits. It was reasonable for the price and I was just excited to have a place to lay my head.
The next day was Elephants world. Elephants world is a non-profit organisation in Kanchanaburi in Thailand. It is a sanctuary for old or disabled elephants where they can live out their lives free of any kind of cruelty. A day at Elephants world is not cheap at 2500 bhat but I felt happy knowing that the majority of my money would go towards caring for the Elephants.
Our day at Elephants World
We set off at 9:00 am in a tiny little tuk tuk to reach Elephants World where we would spend the day. Elephants world is situation in a beautiful spot in the countryside surrounded by mountains. On arrival we were greeted at the reception and given a bottle of water in a cute water holder for us to use during the day. The staff all seemed friendly and organised and they divided us into groups of different languages so that they could explain to us some of the reasons why elephant tourism in Thailand can be very unethical and cruel to the animals and the main industries that their elephants came from. Much like the tiger temple, which is also near Kanchanaburi, many of the organisations which use elephants to draw tourists actually care for the animals very poorly.
Then we made our first stop to feed the elephants breakfast. We were instructed on the best way to feed the elephants. We were all standing on a raised platform and the Mahouts who looked after the elephants brought the elephants closer to be fed. The elephants trunks are amazing: wrapping around the fruit with a kind of delicate ease that you wouldn’t imagine. Even though you understand how strong the elephants are it is difficult to comprehend how their teeth can destroy a watermelon without effort. Throughout the day we learned about how to prepare fruit for the elephants, how to cook sticky rice for them, watched them play in their enclosures, help wash them in the river with the mahouts and watched some educational videos about Elephants in Thailand. We were also provided with a delicious, nutritious lunch provided as part of the cost.
All in all the day was pretty fantastic and allows you to get up close with the elephants in a way that would otherwise be impossible. I think that if you really want to have a more personalized experience it might be better to opt for one of the longer programs where you can actually stay overnight at the camp and get to know the mahouts, elephants and people that work at the camp. We met a few people who had done the longer experience and were really happy with the experience.
Give an elephant a hand and visit Elephants World in Kanchanaburi! You can find out more about the work they are doing and book tickets on their website.