Elephant Sanctuary

Hi, I am scheduled to be on the Cambodia, Thailand , Vietnam Tour that starts on January 22, 2016. According to the approximate itinerary this tour is scheduled to visit an Elephant CAMP on day 11 while in Thailand. Rather than visit an Elephant Camp, I'd prefer to visit a Sanctuary for Elephants on this day. Does anyone know if this is possible and is anyone else interested in this option...opting out of visiting the Camp and visiting a Sanctuary instead...and how this can be arranged? And are there any Sanctuaries in the same vicinity as the Camp Tauck plans to visit on that day.
Many Thanks, Leslie


  • edited September 2015
    I am not sure what you mean by a "sanctuary." The camp we visited at Chiang Mai was what I understood to be a rescue camp, so that might come under the umbrella of a sanctuary. I would suggest checking that out with Tauck before you discount the experience they have arranged. The elephants there were very obviously treated well and seemed to have a very close bond with their trainers. It was a wonderful experience and exactly as Tauck describes it in their brochure. I recall that our TD mentioned that they (Tauck) were very mindful of the treatment of the animals and felt that this was a very humane situation.
  • Thank you very kindly for your reply. Yes, I plan on looking more closely at the day Tauck has planned and in particular which elephant camp they actual visit as I understand that there are many. I guess you can tell from my post that I am an elephant advocate. I travel with Tauck often and know that they offer the best and excellent standard in absolutely everything they arrange. My interest in a sanctuary rather than a camp is to be able to interact and observe rescued elephants rather than elephants trained for entertainment purposes so the place Tauck goes to might just fit the bill. I so appreciate your post and thanks again for sharing your experience here.
  • Unless they've change the program from when we did this in October 2014, the elephant camp visit (Maesa Elephant Camp) comes in the middle of your stay in Chiang Mai. Since the night before and after are at the same hotel, what you do that day is unrestricted. We had the camp visit in the morning with a box lunch since the camp program went to late morning and there was a drive (can't remember how long) to/from. Afternoon was at leisure.

    So, there should be no issue if you want to arrange an independent program that day that picks you up at the resort and returns you there.

    As to where the camp Tauck visits fits in the spectrum of show to sanctuary, that's hard to say. I trust Tauck's reputation to ensure that it is a ethically run operation, but there was a show. The order of events was an orientation walk about the camp with an opportunity to get up close and personal to some of the elephants, feeding them if you desire. Then after watching the elephants being bathed there was a show in an arena of both traditional skills (log hauling) and game playing/artistry. Finally, we had an elephant ride around the camp grounds.
  • Thanks so much! Your comments were very helpful to me!
  • If an elephant is allowing people to ride it then that elephant has been "broken". The process is pure torture and abuse for the elephant. There are numerous articles online describing this horrible process. Really sad Tauck supports this.
  • Thanks for your reply. My thoughts about this are the same which is why I was hoping to find an alternative tour to go on the day that Tauck visits the Mae Sa Elephant Camp. I have found one called the ELEPHANT NATURE PARK which is a true Elephant Sanctuary whereas the elephants are not performing in any type of entertainment purposes and am hoping that Tauck might consider offering another option for anyone who prefers this. I have a communication into them and there also might be others who perhaps prefer the same option I'm interested in!
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