Last updated on Nov 16, 2013
All information below is subject to change
Do you want to get to know these majestic animals?
There are a few elephant camps in Koh Phangan. We chose Baan Suan Chang Elephant Camp. Here's our review of the elephant riding near Phaeng waterfall!
1 hour: 800 B (includes bottled water and baskets of bananas)
30 minutes: 500 B
The first thing you get to do when arriving at Baan Suan Chang is to feed the baby elephant. You get a basket with bananas, and before you know it, the basket is almost empty and your hand is wet from its saliva! :-)
Then it was time for elephant riding!
We got a female elephant, and the mahout took her into the surrounding forest. It was fun sitting on an elephant, but really uncomfortable. We paid for one hour (felt like one and a half hour), but could have settled for 30 minutes!
The elephant drew attention when it headed for the road and passed civilization. It was fun to see the faces of local kids going "Chang, chang!" (chang means elephant).
Then it passed some mud waters and took a bath. I thought that we were going to get thrown into the water, but we weren't! Then the trip was over, and we tipped the mahout.
You'll notice when walking around the camp that these elephants are old, and they looked unhappy to me (not that I know how unhappy elephants look like ).
Our elephant had a ripped chain around its leg, and it was kind of brutal to see this. And when we were sitting on the elephant with the mahout, he was using some kind of an ice pick to control where the elephant would walk.
THAT I didn't like, but whether it's necessary or not, beats me.
When I was in Koh Chang in 2008 and rode an elephant there, the mahouts didn't have tools! They just used their legs to push the elephant in a certain direction.
The elephants in Thailand are endangered, and supporting them by visiting them at camps is a good thing to do! There are several NGOs in the country with the mission of helping them!
Elephant camps promote that they help the elephants by giving them food, and I'm sure they do. But I don't think that a mahout with an ice pick is humane treatment towards elephants.
A very popular tour company is the "Safari boat" which includes elephant trekking, snorkeling, sightseeing and monkey show (1500 B with elephant trekking for adults and 1000 B for children, 1200 B without elephant trekking for adults and 800 B for children).
They offer around-the-island tour, snorkeling trip to Koh Tao and Nangyuan, trip to Angthong marine park and Rainforest Adventures.
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