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Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Nature & wildlife areas, Nature & Parks
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Address: Colombo-Kandy Road | 90km from Colombo, Pinnawala, Sri Lanka

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Most recent review
So sorry I went

The good: you can get up close to an elephant. The bad: this is not an orphanage where any attempt to move the elephants onto a 'real life' is made. They are tourist attractions... read more

1 of 5 starsReviewed March 4, 2015
Ek3
,
London
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1,231 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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London
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
14 attraction reviews
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2015 NEW

The good: you can get up close to an elephant. The bad: this is not an orphanage where any attempt to move the elephants onto a 'real life' is made. They are tourist attractions and are herded constantly into the bottle feeding/bathing cycle. Having previously seen wild elephants joyously bathing and playing it was truly awful to see them taken... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Bristol, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
11 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2015 NEW

Clearly this is not just an orphanage - some elephants were born here, already in captivity. This is now a very commercial venture. Really liked seeing the elephants in the river, especially the youngsters who were having a great time. Did not like seeing some of them in chains, dragging their chains up or down the road as they travelled... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2015 NEW

Nice to sit in the cafe and have a cool dring while watching the elephants in the river. A bit sad to see some of them chained up to the rocks and a couple of them seemed to be a bit stressed but overall a great experience

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Ossett, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2015 NEW

We were given a free trip to the orphanage as part of our honeymoon package, after reading some of the negative reviews we nearly cancelled but we decided we would see how it was and if we didn't like it we would leave. Can honestly say it was nothing like some of the scare stories I have read on here,... More 

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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2015 NEW

What a joy to see these elephants being cared for after they had suffered so much. Was a pleasure to have a photo taken with them as a happy memory of the visit.

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Herts
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
20 attraction reviews
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2015 NEW

I found the main site almost distressing because the animals were chained and paraded around but when the elephants went to the river it felt almost naturally wild. We stood watching them and stroking their trunks, yiu can buy bananas at the river edge for a few hundred rupees or if like us yiu have lunch at the restaurant which... More 

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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2015 NEW

This place gives mixed emotions. On the positive side it was truly amazing to see a huge heard of elephants go lumbering down the street, cross a busy road then bathe in the river. It was truly amazing to be able to buy a bag of bananas (200 rupee) from some hawker looking to make a buck and have an... More 

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Beirut, Lebanon
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
24 attraction reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015 NEW

Having been around elephants before there was not exceptional about this time. Nevertheless, we certainly appreciate the work of the orphanage. We did not get to see a feeding or elephant bathing. Seeing those activities might have made the experience better. There was a light on and off rain during our visit, which resulted in open umbrellas.

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Norwich, Norfolk
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
44 attraction reviews
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015 NEW via mobile

We watched the elephants walk down the road to the river , then you are allowed to feed them,it's a great chance to get close to them. It's not cheap but in relation to hotel prices all attractions in Sri Lanka are expensive. We had a drink at the hotel overlooking the rive and observed the elephants enjoying the water... More 

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Bromley, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2015 NEW

Stopped here on the way back to Negombo on the last day of our Sri Lankan tour. Whilst our guide got our tickets (lot more expensive if you are a tourist!) saw we could have got an extra ticket to bottle feed a baby elephant but were a bit late arriving to take part in this. As it turned out... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and other visitors
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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?