I have always wanted to get up close and personal with elephants, so you can imagine that having the chance to visit the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket, was not only one of the highlights of my trip to Thailand but also one of the many things to be checked off of my bucket list!
In the below post I will be sharing my experience of spending the morning at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, some facts and things you probably didn’t know about Elephants and also some things you should be aware of when wanting to interact with elephants on your trip to Thailand.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket
The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket offers different tour experiences for you to choose from. I would suggest checking these out online and booking in advance to make sure you get the most of your time in Phuket! We opted for the morning visit which started at 06:30 am and then finished around 12:30 pm. This gave us time plenty of time to interact with the elephants and also learn all about them.
However, I could have easily spent a lot longer here!
Morning Visit at Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
When we arrived at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, a friendly English speaking guide gave us a basic overview of the tour, how the elephant welfare program works and also provided us with some information about the elephants.
After our guide had wrapped up his warm welcome, a couple of elephants made their way down the hill with their Mahout (elephant keeper) to come and greet us – And that’s where my lifelong memories started with these amazing animals.
I had never seen an elephant before, and I knew they were big. But wow… They were BIG. To be honest, the first moments were a little intimidating because of just how big they were! But it didn’t take me long to walk on over and say hello to my new friends and to notice just how gentle these enormous creatures really are.
After meeting the elephants and taking a couple of pictures, we got straight to work! We were allocated jobs of cutting watermelon and separating bananas then placing them into buckets which we would carry to feed to the elephants. It was here where we really got to know these funny animals. Straight away, you could tell that these elephants were well looked after and quite frankly, spoilt! Some of them refused to eat the bananas, and only ate watermelon, and a couple would only eat the bananas if you removed the skin!
After meeting and feeding all of the elephants, we accompanied them to a nearby mud spa. The word “Spa” should be replaced with a massive hole in the ground filled with thick dirty mud and water. Not the luxurious kind of mud spa you might be thinking of! But, if you’re an elephant, it’s the best place to be. They love the mud! They also loved throwing mud around at everyone, so make sure if you want to take your phone, it’s in a waterproof case!
Getting muddy with the elephants and applying a healthy cosmetic mud treatment to their skin was an amazing experience. But my favorite part of the day was walking them to a nearby pool and joining them in the water to get all of that mud off.
Once the elephants were all cleaned up, we headed back to camp to enjoy a beautiful Thai buffet and a chance to look through the gift shop on site. To commemorate my time at EJS and to donate some money to the project I treated myself to an elephant keyring. As a departing gift from the team at Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, we were all given a free Karen T-Shirt too, which I thought was a really nice touch and a great end to an amazing day.
Overall the day was an experience I was so lucky to have had. I would recommend spending time at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary for anyone wanting to learn and interact with elephants in a safe environment.
Elephants never forget, and I will never forget meeting them.
5 Facts about Elephants
1. Asian elephants are an endangered species. Some experts believe that there are now less than 2000
wild elephants living in Thailand, and the population is declining at a rapid rate due to loss of habitat.