Samui Elephant Santuary, Koh Samui, Thailand

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Samui Elephant Santuary, Koh Samui, Thailand

When we booked our trip to Thailand top of my list of things to do was to visit an elephant sanctuary. It was therefore a difficult decision when we decided that a visit to Chiang Mai (where the ethical elephant sanctuaries are) was too much to fit in with our trip. Instead we opted for 3 nights in Bangkok followed by a week in Koh Samui. At the time of booking, there was not an elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui and the only option would be to feed and ride elephants. This was not an option for us and I pre warned the boys that we would not be supporting this.

elephant at Sanui elephant Sanctuary

When we arrived at our hotel in Koh Samui, I picked up a magazine and saw that a new sanctuary had opened. I quickly turned to Google to find out more about it as I didn’t want to part with lots of money if it wasn’t ethical. Luckily it all looked good. It transpired that the owner had been to Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai and realised that this was a better way for the elephants to live, rather than giving rides in the forest.

We booked in over the Internet, but it is worth noting that you need to pay cash on arrival. This is quite common in Koh Samui. We found that credit cards are only really accepted in the hotels. It is also worth noting that you must book in and can’t just turn up at the sanctuary. Numbers are limited to around 20 guests per session. We were unable to get a morning slot so booked into the afternoon one.

On arrival we paid and then sat down for tea and biscuits whilst we waited for others to arrive. We then watched a video about the sanctuary and how it had been set up. This included some safety advice. Whilst there were references to how the elephants may have been treated badly in the past, there was nothing that would upset young children.

feeding an elephant at Samui elephant sanctuary


We then went in groups to feed our elephants. There was loads and loads of cut up bananas and watermelon. 75 kilograms to be precise. A perfectly sized afternoon snack for two hungry elephants. You just popped the fruit on their trunk and they ate it. It was lovely and the elephants were beautiful. There was plenty of time to feed them and take photos. It took some time for middle man to feel confident doing this but he got there.

We then went inside the enclosure, armed with a bag of bananas. Here we continued to feed the elephants with nothing standing between us.

Samui elephant sanctuary

We then headed to the pool to watch the baby elephants have a play. They are 5 years old and quite playful. They had fun in their pool.

baby elephants in the pool at samui elephant sanctuary

Their adopted Grandmother then came along as she could smell our bananas. Everyone was a little wary of this elephant. Being blind in one eye, it was important that you stood so she could see you. She was also keen to get VERY close to you. Strangely, when a 3 tonne elephant walks closer to you, it is your instinct to walk back. This just results in her following you!

feeding an elephant at the samui elephant sanctuary


After time watching the elephants we then headed back for dinner. I hadn’t expected it to be very nice but it was. There was a variety of vegetable dishes suitable for everyone. Here is a short video of our afternoon in the sanctuary.



If you are heading to Koh Samui soon, please consider a visit to the sanctuary, rather than a ride. Education is changing the fate of these beautiful creatures, as long as tourists make informed decisions.

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