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Reviewed April 28, 2018 via mobile

We stayed at Elephant Hills on a 3-day / 2-night package recommended by our travel agent as part of a 3-centre trip to Thailand.
Here are some thoughts on what we found during our Elephant Hills trip.

The Elephants - the highlight of the trip. From what we could tell, the animals seem well cared for. It’s an opportunity to get close to these magnificent creatures at the same time as supporting their efforts with these rescued domestic elephants. It’s a shame that this experience was only a short (2 hour) part of the package.

Communication - poor. Our travel agent arranged our two night trip to include a stay at the lake camp on the second night. Towards the end of the first day’s activities we were told that we could not take our luggage to the lake camp and were only allowed an overnight bag - which we did not have because we had no advance warning. Our travel agent did not know of this condition and subsequent investigation suggests it is something Elephant Hills introduced since we booked the trip - but they did not pass on the information. In fact, the activities board in the main camp area still was showing the old information.

Cash - The camp is only cash based (no credit cards), again something which was not in the information provided beforehand. They make sure you pass by an ATM on one of the activities so you can fit in with their cash-only business model. This approach seems to be dated now.

Activities - Some individual activities good the whole effect seemed to be only average. The issue here is that the whole activity programme seems to be very rigid, from arrival to departure. There was little or no individual flexibility other than not actually taking part in the activity. I would have liked to see a slightly wider choice of activities.

Meals - We couldn’t complain about the quantity of the food provided but overall the quality was average and some (non curry) dishes had little taste. The meal times were also very rigid - 8am, 12noon and 8pm - with no apparent option for eating a little earlier in the evening if one wanted.

Transfers - The collection from Phuketnwent smoothly. The return to a Phuket hotel less. Drivers can be expected to know each and every hotel but surely it might be possible to eliot’s them with sat navs?

Overall - Sad to report that we came away disappointed. This is based on a the communication issues;a feeling that the way the programme is put together is more for the benefit of the management of the business than for the guests’experience. I would recommend asking lots of questions beforehand to make sure you know exactly what you are booking and that this fits your requirements.

Date of stay: April 2018
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
4  Thank Muster39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elephant_Hills, Manager at Elephant Hills, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2018

Dear athegrate,

Thank you very much for your time to review Elephant Hills.

We are very sorry we could not fully meet your expectations, especially since, as you state, this was mostly a communication issue.

The main issue you state certainly regarded the overnight bag for your overnight stay at Rainforest Camp. I have explained all this to your travel agent already, but will happily offer the same answer again, for potential future visitors.

Please note this change, that you travel to Rainforest Camp overnight with hand luggage only, was made back in January 2017. This is when we built a safe, secure and dry storage near the lake pier to store away the main luggage – traveling with hand luggage to the lake is a lot easier. We also communicated this to all our agents.

Ever since we have never had an issue with this. In case clients do forget to bring a small overnight bag, they can either purchase bags at our souvenir store, or we happily offer plastic bags at our bar counter free of charge to use. As you mainly need swimwear, a toothbrush and your camera, this has always sufficed in the past.

The note on our activity board stating ‘bring all your luggage’ is pointing at the fact that you completely check out from The Elephant Camp and take all your luggage away from the camp. As stated above, your big suitcase remains on the main land in a secure storage, and you can travel lightly to Rainforest Camp.

All this information is available on our website as well. We are sorry your agent did not inform you about this, but feel it is unfair to devalue our product based on a miscommunication we did not evoke.

The fact that purchases made at our camp is because we are based in the middle of the rain forest, with occasionally unstable internet /electricity. Again, this is communicated on our website.

The way we organize and run our activities is based on 17 years of experience, during which we constantly refined our tour itineraries. We understand that everybody desires different things, but believe that your agent has made you aware of the way our tours are structured.

Despite palates being different, the vast majority of our clients really enjoys the delicious Thai food we serve (judging from the other TripAdvisor comments). As we do cook and bake all our food on site, we happily cater for different needs, and can also serve spicier if one wanted.

We do have bar food options available for everyone feeling hungry before 8pm, and coming at a cost starting at 1.5 GBP a dish we feel this should not have held you from enjoying some food before the official dinner time.

Regards transfer out, I have not been made aware that there has been an issue. I am honestly sorry if there was, as we understand you do want to reach your next destination as smoothly as possible.

Athegrate, to be honest, I do get the feeling that your review has become a little more negative than it would’ve been if the initial communication with your agent on the overnight bag topic would have been clearer.

Nonetheless, please let me apologize again that we could not fully meet your expectations.

Should you, as a potential future visitor, read this, please feel free to visit our website for all the information you need to make Elephant Hills a truly unforgettable experience!

Best regards,

Chris

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2018

We were very excited for our time at Elephant Hills. From the time we booked until the time we were dropped off in Phuket at the end of our stay, it was clear that customer service is very important to this team. It was very convenient to be picked up in Krabi, and dropped off in Phuket- it helped us along with our overall itinerary. Once at the camp, we were immediately welcomed by staff and given an explanation of how the day would go. We were given time to have lunch and hang out at the pool before the adventures began, which was nice. Our guide for all of the excursions, Aon, was absolutely wonderful and we were happy to have her with us! The first afternoon included a visit to their elephant sanctuary, where we got to help feed and bathe these retired logging elephants- it was quite magical. Following our elephant visit, we were taken on a canoe ride down a beautiful river. Back at the camp, we had time to relax before dinner, and optional evening entertainment included a nature documentary, a performance by local school kids, and Thai cooking demonstrations (same for night 2). The next day included a trip to their rainforest camp at Cheow Lan Lake, which was amazingly gorgeous, however it was quite a ways away, so we felt like we spent much of the day in the truck and on boats. Day 3 involved a morning jungle hike and an campfire lunch. It was, overall, a lot of fun. There are some things that they could improve upon, however, given the price they charge for their packages:
-They are constantly handing out bottled water, which goes against the conservation ethic they are trying to emulate. Perhaps they might consider giving every guest a non-disposable bottle and make refill stations more readily available
-The tents, while decent, are very packed in together- we could constantly hear our neighbors when they were in their tents
-Given the description of the camp, we were under the impression that we'd be deeper into the jungle and more remote, however, the reality is that the camp is located right off the highway, so we could hear cars and trucks driving by
-The pool was small and somewhat dirty
-There was not a ton of wildlife around, probably due to its proximity to the highway

If you are going to book a package with this group, I highly recommend you do the rainforest camp option as opposed to the elephant camp option, as the rainforest camp is truly remote and on the amazing lake, with an abundance of wildlife in the surrounding jungle. We tried to book that ourselves, but it wasn't available when we were planning to visit. We would like to pay another visit, next time to the rainforest camp exclusively!

Date of stay: April 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank Amy Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elephant_Hills, Manager at Elephant Hills, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2018

Dear Amy Y,

Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us.

We are glad to hear that you liked our transfer service and professionalism of your staff. We're of course saddened to read that you did not fully enjoy your Elephant Hills Experience.

At Elephant Hills, guests do not have to accept any free water bottles given out if they do not wish to, we have refill stations at all of our locations and clients can refill their bottle should they choose at these stations. We also have aluminum bottles available in our shop for those who do not like plastic bottles. However, we are not going to force our clients (who pay a lot for a tour with us) to re-use their bottles if they do not want to – we do also recycle those which are discarded.

However, we appreciate your valuable feedback as it helps us identify the areas we can improve the guest experience.

Thank you once again for your review and suggestions, we will look into it and improve it accordingly.

Best regards,
Kwang and Elephant Hills team

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Reviewed April 26, 2018 via mobile

This experience is incredible! The elephant experience is amazing and all the staff are so friendly. We were made to feel to welcome and learnt so much from all the guides. If you are looking for an out of this world experience with elephants and jungle trekking then this trip is for you! Also the food is to die for!

Date of stay: April 2018
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Thank laurenmorgan94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elephant_Hills, Manager at Elephant Hills, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2018

Dear laurenmorgan94,

Thank you for taking the time to share your kind words with us.

We are delighted to hear that you had a great stay with us and our team is doing a good Job!

We do hope to have you with us soon again!

All the best,
Kwang and Elephant Hills team

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Reviewed April 25, 2018

If you are a lover of Elephants like myself, then add this to your bucket list. On the first day if you are getting picked up from Phuket you may have a bit of down time before other guests arrive. We were waiting for about 2 hours before we started. I wished you could spend a little more time with the Elephants but I still really enjoyed myself. The tents on the lake are so picturesque and peaceful. The tents are very comfortable and spacious.
If you love a good walk take the jungle hike (it is very humid so pack water!) the hike itself isn't too hard but it is up 300m. You may get the chance to spot some animals in the jungle we unfortunately didn't but you could see where they had been, at the top you go into the bat cave which in my experience was awful as there are a lot of spiders and crickets in there.
The staff are incredible. Our guide was Sam and he was very helpful.
Book now you won't be disappointed!!!!

Date of stay: April 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank rachelhamilton27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elephant_Hills, Manager at Elephant Hills, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2018

Dear rachelhamilton27,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review on your recent stay with us.

We are pleased to hear that your experience was most enjoyable and that you enjoyed our location and the professionalism of our staff. Please be assured that we will share your feedback with our staff, especially Sam as making your stay memorable is our first priority :)

We are looking forward to welcoming you back soon.

Best regards,
Kwang and Elephant Hills team

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Reviewed April 25, 2018 via mobile

I would advise anybody to visit elephant hills tented camp.
The experience was superb.
To get a taste of the jungle but safely .
To experience the elephants and feed and help wash them
And to see how well they are treated
And the good work they are doing
Mixed with an enjoyable outing long boat ride and swimming
A big thanks to our knowledgeable guide
Pii / pi / pye ??!!!
Who made us enjoy the stay even more
I wish him a prosperous career
Even though it is tented
Do not think it’s not a five star experience
Clean everywhere and food served was delicious . Staff where so genuinely hospital
A must visit for everyone
Many thanks to ALL at this quality venue

Date of stay: April 2018
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank justinsP6962UC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elephant_Hills, Manager at Elephant Hills, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2018

Dear Justin S,

Thank you for giving us a perfect rating and for recommending Elephant Hills to other travelers.

We're sure our entire staff, especially, Pype enjoyed catering to your needs as much as you enjoyed your stay. I will pass on your kind words to all staff and Pype and I am sure they will be delighted :)

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Elephant Hills.

All the best,
Kwang and Elephant Hills team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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