Traditionally, elephants have played an important role in Thailand. For thousands of years they were captured and trained to drag logs in the forests, but as machinery began to replace them, they became a popular attraction offering rides to tourists. Many of the elephant camps today that offer rides keep their animals in poor conditions. The elephants are often poorly fed and spend long hours chained up, while the special chairs that are used to carry tourists during elephant rides can cause permanent injuries to their backs.
At Anurak Community Lodge, we do not support animal cruelty in any shape or form, and therefore we do not work with elephant camps that offer regular elephant rides using these chairs. During our Elephant Experience we take a different approach by providing guests the chance to interact with these animals directly – helping the mahouts and handlers to feed and bathe them. If guests want to pose for photos sitting on the elephants during their bathing period, this is allowed, as it does not cause the animals any injury. However, regular elephant rides are not part of the activities that we provide. In addition, groups of visitors are smaller, so that the elephants do not become stressed.
NOTE: When booking our Elephant Experience, guests are requested to do so as early as possible, so that the visits we arrange don’t interfere with the elephants’ rest schedule.