Samui Elephant Sanctuary

Samui Elephant Sanctuary, Bophut: Address, Phone Number, Samui Elephant Sanctuary Reviews: 5/5

Samui Elephant Sanctuary
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**Winners of Best Animal Welfare from the Tourism Authority of Thailand!** **Recognized by leading animal welfare charity World Animal Protection as a Best Practice Elephant Venue** We are very proud to bring the first elephant sanctuary to Koh Samui in Southern Thailand. Set on forest land, we offer a retirement home for elephants who have worked exhausting hours in the logging and tourism industries. Feed, walk with, and observe our gentle giants as they roam, socialise, bathe and enjoy a peaceful life that they so deserve. Join our morning or afternoon program knowing you are supporting ethical elephant tourism and helping to make a difference.
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5.0
1,005 reviews
Excellent
928
Very good
50
Average
14
Poor
4
Terrible
11

katerinaemalina
United Kingdom71 contributions
Super place. This is what responsible tourism is all about. We visited with two young children who adored the place and want to go back. It is quite pricey but the money goes directly to the sanctuary so we didn't mind. For 3 hours you get a pick up/drop off, video, short talk, 2x snacks and drinks, get to make the elephants food, feed them then walk round the sanctuary and see the elephants bathing. No riding. No bathing. There are no fancy things here. No shop so don't come expecting a 'touristy' place. We loved it and what they are doing. Very friendly staff. Hopefully people will start to realise that elephants shouldn't be ridden. Good luck to the sanctuary in the future!
Written August 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tony
London, UK8 contributions
Family
We booked this trip before we came out as we wanted to do something different for Christmas Day. We are having our first Christmas away from home in England and had come to Koh Samui to spend our Christmas together as a family, me, my wife and 2 older children of 12 and 17.
We were a bit unsure at first if we had picked the right sanctuary to visit as there are a few on the island. Within the first hour we knew we had chosen the right place. Literally everyone who works here seems to have a great belief in what they are doing and you could tell that the cost of the morning(approx £80 per person) goes straight back into the running of the sanctuary, food, medicine, staff and above all else paying to rescue more elephants. We didn’t realise but it costs them approx 1-1.5 million Thai bhat to buy the elephants from their owners even though they have mis treated them in some horrible way (you will be told this on your visit).
I should also add the vegetarian Thai style lunch they serve is delicious and all part of your entry costs.

After a brief half hour introduction and question/answer session you get to walk around the sanctuary in small groups of no more than 8 so it’s very personal. We had a guide called Boy, he was brilliant and attentive and told us the story about each elephant we walked over to before feeding them with our bag of bananas given to us before we set off. Some of the stories bring a tear to the eye but it’s only telling people how it is that we can change the way people think about elephant trekking and the abuse the elephants are put through every day of their lives until places like this magical sanctuary rescue them to live the rest of their lives the way they should. One thing I learnt is each elephant (7 at the moment) has their own keeper who literally shadows them for 24hours a day, 7 days a week, amazing.
Anyway I’ll let you judge the rest for yourselves but if you are asking is the the place to come then yes 100%, it was the highlight of our holiday. You will not regret it and it will be your highlight of your holiday. Keep up the good work Samui elephant Sanctuary and thanks Boy for being an amazing guide. Hopefully will see you again another year and good luck with the new exciting upcoming new sanctuary.
Written January 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for visiting Samui Elephant Sanctuary and supporting our rescued elephants. We truly appreciate your kind review and supporting us to raise awareness of the true plight of asian elephants used in traditional tourism. We hope you can visit us again on your next visit to Koh Samui. Thank you, Wittaya Salangam Founder Samui Elephant Sanctuary
Written May 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chelsea P
Houston, TX39 contributions
Couples
My husband and I visited Thailand for our honeymoon, and we knew we wanted to visit an elephant sanctuary. I had done a ton of research to make sure we visited an ethical, true sanctuary and this is definitely one of them. We had other friends visit Thailand and had upsetting experiences with places that pretended to be elephant sanctuaries - so we knew what to avoid going in, and we’re so happy with our visit.

The sanctuary picks you up from your hotel, round trip transportation was included in the cost of your ticket which was nice! We arrived at the sanctuary, it wasn’t exactly what I had expected. It was actually in the city on some propriety, not deep in the jungle or mountains like you may have expected. There are plenty of trees and a pool for the elephants. The team starts the day with a brief video on how to care for and interact with the elephants. They explain why they don’t offer riding and bathing, just interaction and feeding. They want it to feel as natural for the elephants as possible, which I appreciated. You get broken up into smaller groups (depending on your preferred language) of 8-10 people for more personal interaction with each elephant on the property. Your guide walks you through the property to each elephant and tells you their story, where they were rescued from, what they know about their past life, and their personality. You get to feed, pet and interact with each one. The guide always offers to take photos and answer any and all questions.

They offer a vegetarian lunch at the end, we had pad Thai, fried rice, veggies and then there were some options like French fries and chicken tenders. Then they drop you off at your hotel.

Overall, we had a wonderful experience with the elephants. At first I was disappointed we weren’t bathing them, but after further reading I read why true sanctuaries don’t offer this (it’s not natural for them, bath time is a playful time for them and often bonding experience with other elephants). We loved feeding them, petting them and up close and personal interaction with them. A truly unforgettable experience. You can tell that this sanctuary truly wants to care for these elephants. Many are older in their 50s and 60s, which shows even more that this is a safe haven for them to live out the rest of their lives.

We found out that Samui Elephant Sanctuary just opened their second location a couple of weeks before we visited, which is much larger and has more elephants. I would definitely check out that property!
Written January 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for visiting Samui Elephant Sanctuary and supporting our rescued elephants. We truly appreciate your kind review and supporting us to raise awareness of the true plight of asian elephants used in traditional tourism. We hope you can visit us again on your next visit to Koh Samui. Thank you, Wittaya Salangam Founder Samui Elephant Sanctuary
Written May 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Erich G
2 contributions
We have been in the sanctuary end May 2022. The half day tour was very well organised. It is worth to spend the money for the ticket because with that you support the retired elephants having a better time after hard and painfull working life. The tour is fully safe and you can come close to the elephants for feeding and touching.
Written May 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lyn W
3 contributions
Couples
Amazing experience to see the rescued elephants living in their natural environment.
I booked directly with the sanctuary and their communication was excellent. The email gave all the information on what to bring and at what time we would be picked up. A further two reminder emails were received . The driver arrived promptly and transferred us to the sanctuary. The staff were extremely welcoming and attentive . The elephants were behind a railing but you could go up close to them. We were taught about their diet and made food to feed them. The guides took us into the sanctuary and we were able to feed the elephants, stroke their trunks and have photos taken. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. After the tour we were provided with fresh fruit, fries and vegetable spring roles. There is an opportunity to buy reasonably priced souvenirs and donate to the upkeep of the sanctuary. Such an amazing experience.
Written April 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

H7FJH
Norwich, UK147 contributions
Couples
What an incredible morning in this wonderful sanctuary where the elephants wander freely, no chains or restraints, ideally all elephants would be in the wild but these have been rescued from a harsh life where they worked or performed. Aged between 47- 63 years this is their retirement home. It was a very peaceful and humbling experience ❤️x Thank you to our guide Winn he was so informative and enthusiastic, thank you to all the care givers who clearly love their role and there is an unmistakable bond between the elephants and their carers. Finally thank you to the inimitable, wonderful ‘Geetarr’ who welcomed us so warmly and enthused us all with her humour and love for her work xxx😘
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for visiting Samui Elephant Sanctuary and supporting our rescued elephants. We truly appreciate your kind review and supporting us to raise awareness of the true plight of asian elephants used in traditional tourism. We hope you can visit us again on your next visit to Koh Samui. Thank you, Wittaya Salangam Founder Samui Elephant Sanctuary
Written May 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chloe J
4 contributions
Friends
Amazing elephant sanctuary where you can really tell the staff care about the welfare of these beautiful creatures. It was so heartbreaking to hear how they had been treated in a previous life, but are now however living their best lives. Would highly recommend to anyone, totally worth the price, would do it 100 times over if I could!
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for visiting Samui Elephant Sanctuary and supporting our rescued elephants. We truly appreciate your kind review and supporting us to raise awareness of the true plight of asian elephants used in traditional tourism. We hope you can visit us again on your next visit to Koh Samui. Thank you, Wittaya Salangam Founder Samui Elephant Sanctuary
Written May 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alan D
Whitley Bay, UK469 contributions
Couples
I really wanted to mark this place down as the pre booked pick up was 1 hour late, due to a vehicle breakdown which was a very poor start. We even considered not going due to this but pushed on anyway and really pleased we did. We went to the newer sanctuary of the two and we were blown away by these amazing creatures, and the love that the handlers and staff have for them. Fantastic experience, a bit pricey but when you find out what it takes to care for these previously neglected beasts, then the entry fee is a small price to pay. Ri, looked after us and could not make enough apologies for the pick up farce, but just wow. Close interaction and hand feeding the elephants was superb and walking amongst them was mind blowing. Please visit and support this amazing effort. Finally being a meat eater, the thought of a vegetarian lunch sent shivers down my spine, but no fear the food was amazing.
Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for visiting Samui Elephant Sanctuary and supporting our rescued elephants. Once again please do accept our apologies for the lateness of our transport due to one of our transport vehicles breaking down. We truly appreciate your kind review and supporting us to raise awareness of the true plight of asian elephants used in traditional tourism. We hope you can visit us again on your next visit to Koh Samui. Thank you, Wittaya Salangam Founder Samui Elephant Sanctuary
Written May 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Maddie S
1 contribution
Friends
Bad experience from the start.

This organisation has no idea how to communicate with there customers. Firstly they sent a bus to pick us up from an address that we never gave them, finally getting through to someone we were picked up form the right address. Making us late.

The time at the sanctuary was lovely. The people showing us around were lovely. And the animals were well kept

Then coming home we got in a bus with other people from the experience to be the last left to be dropped off and again at the wrong address. This left the driver in a DISGUSTING manner. He was smacking the wheel and got very angry and made to young girls feel very unsafe. We were left in a random place where we were meant to find our own way home.

Overall this experience was ruined and I am very disappointed. An organisation that could be so good if they sort their staff out and employ people that don’t have anger issues.

Never again.
Written April 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Maggie M
5 contributions
We were picked up from the hotel and travelled to the sanctuary by safari jeep, there were six adults in our party and one child. It took about 25 mins to get there from the Buri Rasa hotel, so not too far to go. We were met my Win, our Thai guide, who spoke very good English. First we were shown a short film about the sanctuary and it's aims and whst not to do near an elephant! Then we fed the elephants bananas and were able to stroke their trunks.

All the while Win was telling us about each elephant's sad history, they had been cruelly treated in the logging and tourist industry, some with scars where chains had dug into their ankles and marks where hooks had been inserted to hurt them and make them do things they didn't want to do. Little by little they were becoming less scared and calming down, but it would take time and patience.

Win then took us on a walk through part of the sanctuary, which is very large, where we could see the elephants feeding and swimming. This sanctuary has only been open to the public a few days but I can see it will be well supported by tourists as it is the first ethical sanctuary in Koh Samui and more and more people want to help the elephants and not see them as a "fairground type" tourist attraction.

Well done Win and the lovely people who work there, I will return in a few years time, when, hopefully, the first elephant hospital will have been completed there. It will be for all elephants in Thailand and surrounding countries.

I urge you to visit, your support will help save these beautiful, intelligent creatures.
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for visiting Samui Elephant Sanctuary and supporting our rescued elephants. We truly appreciate your kind review and supporting us to raise awareness of the true plight of asian elephants used in traditional tourism. We hope you can visit us again on your next visit to Koh Samui. Thank you, Wittaya Salangam Founder Samui Elephant Sanctuary
Written May 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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