Have you ever gotten up close and personal with an elephant? Spending time with these beautiful creatures was at the top of our list when visiting Phuket! However, we wanted to make sure we were visiting the best Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket Thailand, and a place where the animals are truly cared for. Join us for our morning with the elephants as we explore along the longest canopy walk in the country!
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Why We Picked the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
It’s no secret that over the years the elephants in Phuket have been abused for financial gains in tourism and other industries. During our own visit to the island, we were saddened to see elephants chained in small enclosures and used to lure tourists in to visit. We knew that we wanted to see elephants in Phuket but had to do it in a way that was ethical.
We had heard amazing things about the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary so after doing some research we booked a morning canopy tour. This Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket rescues animals that have been mistreated and overworked for years. They provide a safe final home in nature while taking care of their medical needs.
Pre-Booking Your Phuket Elephant Sanctuary Tickets
If you plan to visit the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary you need to book your tour in advance. There are limited spots available so it can fill up quickly in high season.
To get to the best Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket you’ll need to make the trip to Paklok Phuket on the Northeast coast. It can take up to an hour to get here from most of the popular beach towns.
We traveled here by motorbike which we wouldn’t recommend unless you are an experienced driver! The fastest way to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is on the busy highway and you’ll also get rocked by the sun if you’re driving in the afternoon.
Also, make sure you are heading to the correct pick up location which is down the road from the actual Elephant Sanctuary.
Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket with Transfer
You can book a round trip transfer with your ticket or ask your accommodation to help arrange transport. Another option is to hire a local driver for a full day! That way after you visit this Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand you can continue on your island tour and see more of the best attractions. Below are the different programs they offer year round.
- Morning/Afternoon with the Elephants
- PES Canopy Walkway Program
- A Hands-off Experience
- One Day in the Life
Visiting the Best Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket Thailand
When we first arrived at the lodge there was a buzz of excitement on the deck and we quickly hurried over to see what was going on. Below in a small pond, there was a large elephant swimming and bathing!
We helped ourselves to the complimentary coffee and fruit as we overlooked the grounds and watched the elephant play freely below. Before starting the tour there is a short video that details the history of Elephants in Phuket.
It also shares how the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary came to be and how it was inspired by a nature reserve like it in Chang Mai. We now hope to visit that other Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand when we get there!
→ Planning a Trip to Thailand: 10 Step Easy to Follow Travel Guide
Feeding the Elephants in Phuket
This was easily one of the highlights of our day! Baskets are prepared with a mix of fruit that you feed to the elephants who devour every last bite. It is set up so you are at a safe distance and this is the closest you will get to the animals while at the Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket.
There is a wild feeling you get while holding a large watermelon slice as the elephant trunk comes swinging down to grab the fruit. It gobbled down the basket quickly as its trunk kept coming back for more!
Our guide told us that this is just a small snack for the elephants in Phuket and they literally eat all day. Later in the morning, we even saw an elephant eat a whole large watermelon in just two bites!
The Longest Canopy Walk in Thailand
After feeding the elephants we all broke into our tour groups and took off around the grounds. We were with only one other family so the group was small and intimate. Each animal has a dedicated trainer and friend that looks after it on a daily basis.
Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and explained the story of each elephant’s rescue. Some had come from the tourism sector and were overworked to the point where they almost died.
Others were in the logging industry and sustained brutal injuries where they could now barely walk. Although sad, we were so happy to see them now back in nature at the best Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket.
The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is unique as it has a long canopy walk that spreads out over part of the grounds. In fact, at 750 meters it’s the longest canopy walk in all of Thailand! This not only gave us a birds-eye view of the elephants but also the over 30 acres of tropical jungle.
→ 22 Fun Things to Do On Phuket Island For Your First Visit
5 Fun Facts We Learned at the Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand
1. Adult elephants can eat up over 100 kg of food per day! The Elephants in Phuket drank around 150 liters of water per day, too.
2. Elephants are the world’s largest land animal. If you can believe it, African Elephants are even bigger than Asian Elephants.
3. Only male Asian Elephants have tusks. The females do not!
4. Elephants are pregnant for two years and can have up to three babies in their lifetime.
5. The elephant is the national animal of Thailand!
We loved our visit to the Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket! Have any questions about this article or want to share tips for going to an ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand? Let us know in the comments below.
Brigitte & Jake
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Where to Stay in Southern Phuket
5 Star Resort – The Shore At Katathani – Kata Noi – Ultra-luxury 5-star hotel offering rooms with private pools. Located on the far end of Kata Noi overlooking one of the best beaches on the island.
Ultra Luxury – The Nai Harn – Nai Harn Beach – Known as one of the nicest hotels in not just Phuket, but all of Thailand! Amazing beach and sea views from luxury rooms. If you ever want to leave you will be literally steps from the famous Nai Harn Beach.
Royal Experience – Mom Tri’s Villa Royale – Kata Noi– Once a home of the Royal family of Thailand, this converted residence is one of the most unique places to stay on Phuket.
Phuket’s First Hotel – The Memory at On On Hotel – Old Town – Built in 1927, the On On Hotel was constructed in the signature Sino-Portuguese style and retains its historical charm. It was even featured in the 2002 blockbuster “The Beach” with Leanardo DiCaprio.
Unique Stay – Roost Glamping – Rawai – Yes you can go glamping in Phuket Thailand! These upscale tents are set around a gorgeous pool and the cafe serves up healthy tropical dishes.
Hostel Life: – Sino Hostel @ Kata – Kata Beach – Hostels are very popular in Phuket and Sino is in a great location. Choose from dorms and private rooms as you use it as a base to see Kata Beach from.
For more of the best hotels in Phuket Thailand explore the latest prices here!
Thailand Travel Planning
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we found flights from Bangkok to Phuket for $12 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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