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“one of the best kept secrets in the area”

Wildlife Friends of Thailand
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Tha Yang
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The WFFT wildlife rescue center is a rescue center for injured, confiscated and neglected wild animals. The wildlife rescue center operates a fully equipped wildlife hospital. We care for monkeys, gibbons, wild cats, bears, birds, reptiles and even elephants.
Level 6 Contributor
224 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
“one of the best kept secrets in the area”
Reviewed April 13, 2013

This is really worth visiting if you like animals but two important things to bear in mind following our visit on 12 April. One, they are not taking 'turn up visitors' any more - instead you need to book a guide. The reason for this is to ensure the animals are not stressed by people's activities (such as poking fingers at monkeys etc) and for safety reasons. This change of policy isn't on their website yet (http://www.wfft.org/) so do call before you set off. Second, make sure you get really good directions. We spent an hour and a half trying to find the place using a combination of their website map, tomtom on Ipad, and separate car GPS

Having said that, it was worth the hassle and stress in finding (it's only about 30 minutes from Hua Hin but in a very rural area). This place is HUGE ... there are so many monkeys, elephants, bears and other animals it as to be seen to be believed. Most of the animals are in cages (altough the elephants have a high level of freedom) but on talking to the volunteers and one of the people that runs the place, this is beause the monkeys through their previous (often horrendous training) are not suitable to be going back into the wild. Having said that, the place is absolutely spotless (no mean task when almost all the staff are volunteers who change quickly) and the animals extremely well looked after, with a real level of care shown by the management and volunteer staff

There are lots of 'foundations' in Thailand - most of which are just covers for commercial businesses. This is a true 'foundation' with the emphasis on education of people / tourists although I am unclear where the money comes from - we had to physically ask to make a donation (it wasn't obvious) and equally the foundation is not marketed locally (we found out about it from visiting friends who had watched a TV programme in Dubai and we were all astounded that it existed so close to where we live in Thailand and yet had never heard of it) . However I think this is going to change as they have someone who was a volunteer now working on the management side - we met her (a lovely Dutch lady) and think things will change

My recommendation - forget the other 'foundations' in Hua Hin (and we have visited them all with only the Hutsadin foundation being one that doesn't profit from elephant shows and the like) and visit this one if you care about animals and want to learn more about them (they have fabulous information boards demonstrating the horriffic training that elephants, monkeys and others go through to provide the type of tourist attractions that prevail across Thailand which if you are not conscious of this, should put you off visiting any of them)

We didn't have a guide despite the new policy as we weren't aware of it - we just walked straight in so do not know how good (or how much they cost) but I suspect any visit will be enhanced by a guide (they also do day volunteer experiences) if one is really looking to understand more about what they are saying

Can't recommend enough - to the extent that my niece has decided that she is going to apply for a two week stay there as a volunteer with her boyfriend next year

Visited April 2013
1 Thank Carolineess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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461 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
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English first
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Amazing experience, loved it”
Reviewed April 10, 2013

I came to WFFT to volunteer for 3 weeks and ended up staying an extra week, so a month in total. The work as an elephant volunteer is physically demanding, but so much fun. The animals are amazing, they all have a different story and are at the centre to recover from their previous lifes, where they were abbused or mistreated. The centre does a good job trying to rescue every animal they can and give it a better life.

I had a lot of fun working with the animals, as well as the free time after work where all the volunteers eat together, watch movies, go to the village or a nearby city Hua Hin.
All in all, an amazing month of which I loved every minute.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Jolene88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Columbia, SC
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Not a theme park”
Reviewed April 9, 2013

This wildlife refuge does not look like a true "attraction". My sister in-law has been there for the past six weeks helping with the elephants. She has really enjoyed the hard work and caring for the animals. If you decide to "volunteer", make sure you are ready for hot weather and long hot days working. This is not a spa. Go and help take care of the animals. Just be prepared to live in rugged conditions, so, so food and sweat most of the time. Just Say'in.

Visited April 2013
2 Thank jinx35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Great way to see what it is like to volunteer if you only have one day”
Reviewed April 4, 2013

We recently did the full day experience and got to see what it was like to volunteer for the day. It is a great rescue agency giving wild animals a second chance most coming from the tourist and private pets. They came and picked us up from where we were staying in Hua Hin and brought us to the rescue agency. From there we got to meet all the rescued animal and hear their stories, as well as got a chance to help feed the older elephants and give a snack to the otter. From there we had lunch with the volunteers and it was off to work with the elephants in the afternoon. We got to go for a walk with one then assist the vet team in the afternoon giving food to elephant as distraction while they cleaned out old wounds from before she arrived. It is a great shelter and the nice thing is the money you pay for the experience goes back into helping the animals.

Visited April 2013
Thank Jennifer T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Koper, Slovenia
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Nice animal shelter”
Reviewed March 22, 2013

My overall experience as a One day experience participant is excellent. I got an impression that animals there are treated very well, place is extremely clean and visible well maintained. The food for animals looks very good quality and also the cages looks appropriate size. Our guide Ann or Anna was very nice as well. Animals seemed not being in stress, so I guess this animal shelter is a very good thing over there. Thailand is full of places where people can make photos with wild animals, can ride them, see their human alike behavior and all of that is a result of cruel torturing, no doubt. Wild animal will never submit human, unless tortured badly. There are many volounteers, but I thing even more are needed. I extremely appreciate and respect the good work of the founder and volunteers.

Visited March 2013
Thank Hollidaystraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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