Elephant Trekking, Krabi
My elephant driver kept abusing the animal throughout my ride. This made the experience very unpleasant. As he sat on the neck steering and directing the elephant, he kept getting upset for some reason and beat the poor thing. He carried a tool that is shaped very similar to a hammer. On the top end handle of this instrument, a hammer protrudes out one side while a 3 inch hooked dagger juts out of the other side. The driver kept scolding the animal and cracking the hammer end down over the elephant's forehead with surprising force. As the man did this, occasionally the poor creature would cry out in what I could only imagine would be pain. He would also use that curved dagger side to poke the animal around the ears and forehead. This would account for all the cuts and scars across the elephant's scalp.
This tour is located near Krabi, Thailand. I strongly encourage you find a different elephant trekking tour in the area so we can put this abusive one out-of-business.
I was very disappointed that I could not fit in a visit to Chiang Mai in my itinerary for Thailand. I was looking forward to taking part in an elephant trek. Turns out, we were be able to do this Ao Nang! We rented a motorbike for the day upon our arrival in Ao Nang and as we were riding around, I saw the sign "Nosey Parker's Elephant Camp" which was something I can came across in my research for things to do in Krabi! So, we stopped off to check it out. 750 baht (US$23.00) per person for a few hours (that's all you really need) going through quite a jungley area. We didn't have that much cash on us. But, they told us after we did our elephant trek, we can get cash from an ATM at the 7-11 store down the street.
Please see my travelogue for more photos.
It was a great experienced to ride on the elephant through the plantation even though I wanted to bath the elephant also, probably I chose the wrong package. The staff were friendly and kind to the elephants, they were trained well and able to acted on the command. You can buy banana for 60baht/basket to feed the elephants after the ride.
I thought the idea of riding on an Elephant in a small harness frame while trecking through a plantation may be something to experience but I was a bit apprehensive about the welfare of the animals. I researched two operators in Ao Nang, the first very well established and well known and another a bit out of town 45 minutes drive. The price was the same at both locations. I chose Huay Tho Waterfall Elephant Trecks as the write ups favoured this place and as the cost is the same and they pick you up at your hotel and take you there anyway seems Iit was far better to go with the more Elephant friendly. On the way we went passed the other firm and thankfully we didnt go with them. It is close to the highway and the area is bare. Bit of a tourist trap. The drive to Huay Tho is pleasant and on arrival the setting is very nice. We chose the Elephant trek 1hr then bathe with the elephants. The treck is nice although a little bumpy. You stop along the way and the trainer steps off to takr photos for you and then you climb up into the banana palms and the elephant grazes while you remain with it. You may be offered to sit on the elephants head and walk free if the trainer depending if you get the quitest elephant. At the end of the walk you can purchase a bunch of bananas for 40 baht and reward the elephant. The best part is the bathing with the elephant we had about 1 hour with a large one and a baby one and there were 3 others free swimming in the lagoon. Watching the free swimming elephants was nice. The trainers seem to be oneon one with the elephants, they do hold a short prod but it is not really used. The baby elephant didnt seem to enjoy the bathing and it seems the trainers are getting the little one use to all the attention he will get when he grows up. There is a sad side to this as you have to remember the animals are in captivity, but they are employed and owned by individual families who care for them. If you are going to go this is the place to do it.
We booked an elephant trekking tour with khao panombenja jungle trekking service provider in a half day tour . The elephant went wild and attacked its own keeper , we were sitting on the elephant which turned into a bull and shook us vigorously ! They are amateur and deep in poverty people who are operating this !! Not professionals whom u can trust for a good and safe experience !
Have you tried elephant trekking in the forest? If not, you'll find it refreshingly fun to do it in Krabi, just like me!
Do it in the morning, where the air is fresh and windy. What a comfortable ride on the back of an elephant while it slowly carry you through the forest and across the rivers.
I've joined the "Nosey Parker's" 1 hour elephant trekking package. It takes around 2 hrs for the whole trip because it's elephant trekking for an hour in their rubber plantations and forest, then you get to feed the elephants with cucumbers they provided and then watch the elephants showers in the pond. They serve drinks and provide transport to and fro your hotel.
The cost is $750 baht per adult (Feb 08).
I enjoyed the trekking experience very much, the elephants were very tamed and the instructor attached to my elephant is very humorous and the weather was cool and windy when I went.
From what I know, there are many other elephant trekking operators in Krabi. Some even have baby elephants. So, check them out before deciding which package to get!
See how the elephants flaps their ears, see how they swirl their trunks to get the food from you and stuff the food into their mouth! Touch their hairy head, feel their skin, love them!
There are a number of agencies that organise elephant trekking. I can't remember the name of ours but Nosey Parkers is very well thought of. Our trip was organised through our hotel and cost 800 bahts each for an hours trek through the jungle. The ride takes you along streams and is very scenic. We didn't see any wildlife but most animals probably keep clear of the well trodden paths anyway.
After the trek you're able to feed them with a bunch of banana's for a small sum of 20 bahts. You can't help but feel sorry for the elephants doing the same thing all day but once upon a time these animals were used for labour and trekking now keeps their owners in business. But it's hard to tell whether the elephants are treated well.
You can combine the trek with other activities - national parks, kayaking, rubber tapping for a higher price.
If you have never ridden on an elephant, you can try it. The elephants will go through the forest/jungle and all you do is sit back and enjoy.
I got the opportunity to ride on the elephant itself instead of sitting on the chair on the back of the elephant. Find the right position and you could be up for a massage..: )
If you have not done this ride in any other parts of Thailand, then try it in Krabi. We tried the one-hour ride which in true essence, only lasted for 45 minutes.
This was the very first time my wife, my little girl and I were trying out this ride. The height scared my little girl quite a bit, but we managed to pull through with the soothing words of the mahout, or the elephant trainer. He even plucked for her a handful of flowers. So sweet of him.
The ride was slow, and there was not too much scenery, but the breeze and the rocking motion of the beast made me sleepy....yawwn...but overall, it was an experience to cherish.
There are 3 Elephant trekking operator in Krabi. I picked Nosey Parker's coz that's the one the tour agent suggested.
They have half day program and 2-3 hours program, we took the later one.
Hop on to an elephant's back and enjoy an hour trek around the rubber plantation.
Feed the elephants, watch then bathe and don't miss the cute baby elephant!
You can book half a day Elephant Trekking In The Jungle on the outskirts of Ao Nang Bay, 750 Baht pp for this they will collect you from your hotel, take you to the location, The actual trek last about 45 mins then you can feed the elephants and watch them take a wash, This trip is well worth it and you can book with any local travel agent.
No need to take sun lotion as you are in the shade of the trees, just take your camera.
The Nosey Parker elephant camp is located about 7km from Ao Nang, right in the middle of a lush forest bordered by dramatic limestone cliffs. This made for a pleasant elephant trek (1 hour round trip) amongst the teak and rubber trees. The terrain does get a little steep at times, which makes things a little more exciting, but ultimately the elephants are able to make their way through with relative ease. At the end of the trek, you'll get to feed them sugar cane and carrots, as well as take all the pictures you want.
Quick tip: One of the highlights was seeing the elephants take a bath in the river.... They bathe twice a day, around 11am and 4pm.
Cost: about 800 baht/$20 for the base program, 1,650 baht/$40 for the longer half day tour. Half price for children.
Transportation: Round-trip transportation from your hotel in the Krabi area is included; our driver was punctual and very friendly.
Bottom-line: Not many other places where you'll be able to get this close and interact with the animals in such a beautiful setting. A lot of fun, highly recommended.
Caution: Due to the manner in which the elephants are being trained, some visitors will be very against this activity.
However, if you do wish to a very unique experience, elephant trekking can be a very enjoyable activity.
But do note that there is no fix path to follow and the elephants pretty much just go where they want to go. Just enjoy the experience and oh yeah, bring along a hat, sunscreen, and maybe a bottle of water - it's hot out there.... ;-)