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Huay Tho Waterfall Safaris

#39 of 109 Tours in Ao Nang
Features Animals
Ao Nang, Thailand
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Huay Tho Waterfall Safaris
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Chris wrote a review Dec 2019
Ao Nang, Thailand56 contributions52 helpful votes
We have been visiting elephant sanctuaries for the past few years and thought we would check out this safari for ourselves after reading some mixed reviews, and we were impressed. The elephants appear well treated like part of their family , no crazy tricks and stunts like we saw in Phuket years ago, they are simply walked through the jungle and allowed to stop and graze or do whatever whenever they want, which we appreciated The mahout steps down to take some photos for you and no request for money was lovely, and no selling trinkets , just a genuine 45 minute or so stroll through the jungle and along a stream Then for only 40baht you can buy a basket of bananas to hand feed the elephants afterwards, recommend you buy 2 baskets and get a few photos. Some fruit and water and then a short drove to the Waterfall, then a 10 minute walk to the Huay Tho waterfall. Bring some trekking shoes and bathers and then relax in either the stream or in the pond half way up the waterfall, refreshing! We didn’t go to the top due to the need to pull yourself up with a rope as I had my wife and 13 and 10 year old sons to think of , and I didn’t want to risk an injury to them when the experience was already epic. photo of rope attached which is only if you want to go to the top of the waterfall.
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Date of experience: December 2019
2 Helpful votes
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Kitproximity wrote a review Dec 2018
London, United Kingdom4 contributions5 helpful votes
I’ve never done anything like this before and I was very suspicious about such activities. After reading mainly positive reviews regarding how the elephants are treated here I decided to book the b program for a half day trek and visit to the waterfall. The driver collected myself and 2 others from our hotels. He arrived on time and was a kind chatty guy. We got to the safari and 2 others joined us there. There were 3 elephants and I was on the last one. Honestly, 5 mins in and my guide hit the elephant with this pick axe/hook thing. I could see blood on the blade. Just because the elephant ate some leaves. The 2nd time he done it the elephant stuck her trunk up and cried out making the guide more angry and he almost lost control. I really started to feel a rush of anxiety as I held on for dear life (it felt like we were going to fall off the elephant). After that I wanted it to end but being stuck in the middle of the jungle far away from my hotel I had little choice but to carry on....carry on into a soulless silent 45 min trek! No apology from the guide or reassurance we were safe. Next we got to this road and a bunch of kids on mopeds/scooters came racing down. This startled the elephants and I was afraid of what their reactions would be. Thankfully nothing else happened. However, the guide had the handle of the this weapon constantly dug on the top of the elephants head applying pressure on it. Kind of a warning sign to the elephant I guess. When asked if I’d like my photo taken at the end I declined as I wasn’t smiling at that point. Like someone else reviewed - I would of rather just fed the elephants the bananas which you buy for 40 baht at the end as that brought a smile to both mine and the elephants faces. No talk from anyone there about the elephants. I asked if they where male or female to strike the conversation up and I was told they were female. That’s it, nothing else. During the break they gave us some water and pineapple and we mainly talked about politics as my fellow trekkers brought the subject up. Afterwards we went to the waterfall. The surrounding area was gorgeous but I couldn’t enjoy it due to what I had witnessed. Be extremely careful when going up there to the waterfall if you even choose to go to this. The rocks at the top are wet and you can easily slip. The nice chatty guy was saying I didn’t have confidence in my footing as he was trying to encourage me to jump from one wet rock over part of the waterfall to another wet rock. Both extremely wet and slippery so I just walked around it in the little pool of water. Yeah my feet got soaked but It’s more like I’ve got brains and can sense danger. I’m an experienced hiker and just 2 days before I hiked Khao Ngon Nak (Dragon Crest Mountain) solo both up and down. Later he explained people have slipped and have fallen down the waterfall. Afterwards they dropped me back at my hotel. Won’t be planning to do anything like this ever again. It’s not right. I deleted every video I shot off my phone to delete this awful experience from my memory. Not sure how others have come to the conclusion that this place is good. It should be shut down.
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Date of experience: November 2018
4 Helpful votes
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sunnysal wrote a review Dec 2018
Franklin, Massachusetts358 contributions170 helpful votes
It was exciting to ride the elephants but sad to see they had 3 people on the back of the elephant. I later found out that that much weight can hurt the elephant. The elephants were also intimidated by the mahouts with bull picks (?). When I booked the trip I thought they were not used on the elephants and this was the more ethical choice but...I was wrong. :( Left feeling sad. The waterfall is pretty to see.
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Date of experience: October 2018
1 Helpful vote
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hannahlsmith wrote a review Aug 2018
Scunthorpe, United Kingdom81 contributions33 helpful votes
We booked this excursion through Krabitrek after a quick google of ethical elephant trips in the Krabi area. I was quite concerned with finding somewhere that elephants weren’t mistreated and found lots of info on the Krabitrek website about this little business being owned by 4 local families who clubbed their elephants together to make a tourist business when they were no longer needed for agricultural and forest work. To me, this was a relief as it means that these elephants are these families’ livelihoods and actually, may have been killed had they not been able to make an income from them (as they are expensive to keep and feed!). We were picked up by a kind of ‘truck’ - a land rover type pick up truck with benches in the back and open back (it had a cover over the top). We’d seen lots of these about for tourist trips so we weren’t too surprised but we did feel slightly uncomfortable at the safety of it for a 40 min trip on main roads! However, we got used to the idea and arrived safely. When we got there, we had a 40 min elephant ride - it had a seat on its back with lots of rugs to protect its skin from hurt. The trainer sat on its bare back in front of us. To us, their relationship seemed really genuine - the elephant we were on was a little cheeky and adventurous, she would go off track and play around, trying to pull bushes up with her trunk and snacking and the trainer allowed this to happen, only moving her away when it had been a long stop (as you would a dog on a lead on a walk). The trainer also got off and took pictures for us, the elephant was very patient and gentle and just waited standing still for him to get back on. After our ride, we got to buy a basket of bananas (40baht) and feed the elephant we’d ridden, take pictures etc. Then we were taken across to the river to bathe the baby elephant. We brushed him and he squirted water at us. I also sat on his bare back and he squirted water. Overall, we had an amazing experience and felt that the elephants were well treated - they were allowed to roam slightly and snack and stop when they wanted, none had marks like they had been hit or beaten at all. We would recommend this is an ‘authentic’ and local elephant experience.
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Date of experience: August 2018
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Megi68 wrote a review May 2018
Toronto, Canada860 contributions93 helpful votes
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We had a half day tour with trekking, feeding and bathing elephants. We were picked up on time at our Ao Nang hotel and after stopping in another hotel for more people we were there after 40 min.The place is quiet and rich of flora and fauna. The people take a good care of elephants. After almost one hour trekking we bought some bananas and fed the elephants and took some pictures with them. Next was bathing with an 8 year old elephant. We enjoyed it a lot as well as the little elephant did. Wonderful way to spent a day or morning in the nature.
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Date of experience: April 2018
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