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Khao Lak Elephant Tours: An Ethical Way To Enjoy The Animals

Elephants are viewed as sacred animals in Thailand. These majestic creatures are frequently referenced in the country’s artworks and literary pieces, and they are even considered the national symbol. However, many people mistake this popularity as an invitation to encroach on their natural way of life, and this is where the problem lies.

The simple truth is that elephants deserve dignity and respect. They are not pets nor performers to cater to our whims. They are wild animals that are extremely intelligent and compassionate, and people who want to view them up close have to abide by certain ethical standards. In this article, we’ll show you some places in Thailand—in Khao Lak, to be more precise—where you can share a moment with these gentle giants in a respectful manner. Let’s begin.

How to find out if your elephant tour is ethical

There are a few ways for you to determine whether you are contributing to the ethical treatment of elephants, or are part of the problem. Take a look below:

  • Ask about how the animals are kept. Approach the keepers and find out what the animals’ living conditions are. Find out how often they’re fed and what their day-to-day activities include. If it involves mostly being paraded in front of humans, then that’s not a good sign.
  • Learn about how the elephants get there in the first place. A legitimate sanctuary will serve as home to elephants that have been rescued from abuse, injury, or old age. If the sanctuary you’re visiting has a lot of babies, this might be an indication that they are simply breeding the animals for people’s enjoyment.
  • Find out what type of interactions are allowed. Ethical sanctuaries should not allow guests to get too close to the elephants. If you are allowed to pet the creatures or bathe them, or worse still, take them for a ride, then view these signs as definite red flags.
  • Learn about the funding involved. Find out how the elephant sanctuary makes money to take care of their animals. See who owns the business and try to inquire about how funds that enter the park are reinvested.

Keep these in mind to know for sure that you’re not adding to the dilemma. The elephants that are found in many tours may give the impression that they are friendly and happy to keep you entertained, but more often than not, it’s because the animals were simply habituated to serve humans.

Which elephant sanctuaries in Khao Lak are ethical?

The most notable one is Phang Nga Elephant Park. It is a 45-minute drive from Khao Lak, and once there, you’ll be able to visit elephants in a natural environment where they can thrive happily. The park is owned by a family who used to put elephants to work, but those times are long gone. Now, the animals enjoy going on about their lives in largely stress-free conditions.

There are also other, smaller elephant parks around Khao Lak. You can head to Lam Ru National Park or a camp near Laem Pakarang beach for more elephant tours but do expect that close interactions might still be permitted.

Unfortunately, however, these parks still allow guests to ride and swim with the elephants. Do your part and avoid participating in these types of activities. Hopefully, with more pressure from tourists, these practices will no longer be allowed to continue.

Wrapping up

We hope this article has enlightened you about the plight that elephants face. Remember, these animals have to be protected, and the responsibility falls on all of us. You can volunteer at an ethical elephant sanctuary to lend your services, and enjoy the marvels these creatures bring at a safe distance.

If you’d like to visit elephants in Khao Lak, book your stay with and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. We’re a luxury resort in Khao Lak, get in touch today to book your stay.