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“One of the best expeiences of our trip”

Woody Elephant Training
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
78 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“One of the best expeiences of our trip”
Reviewed February 12, 2013

I couldnt recommend Woodys elephant trekking highly enough. Its a great location, the elephants look happy and we got to spend loads of time with them and bath them in the river where they splashed us with water and played. I was ever in Chaing Mai again, I would definitely do it all over. Plus Woody and his family are really friendly and it was lovely being invited to dinner in their home. Brilliant

Visited March 2012
Thank EmmaParn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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431 reviews from our community

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English first
Essex, UK
Level Contributor
66 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2013

I went with a group to this day out, and it was not what I expected really ... it was SO MUCH BETTER !! The elephants were loved so much by all of the staff - they are all one big happy family. We had a lesson first in how to talk in Thai to the elephants, not easy to remember so I wrote it all on my hand !! Once we had learned how to get on the elephant and how to get off again, (not easy), we went off on our trek which ended up in a river where we dismounted and were handed scrubbing brushes to go in with them and wash them down - absolutely hilarious !! The elephants splashed and sprayed us all with water. We then got back on them again and went in the lake for a swim .. yes they swam round and round the lake - such fun !! (by the way we were all given outfits to wear before we went out and there were shower facilities to clean ourselves up afterwards) We had lunch there and were supplied with plenty of drinking water, tea or coffee. A very memorable day and the elephants were very well cared for and obviously happy. Their staff took lots of photos and they are all downloaded on to their website so we can upload them for up to 30 days.. what a great idea that was as it would have been impossible to capture it all on our own cameras whilst concentrating on what was going on !!
Some folks are a bit sceptical about the place and think that they elephants must be ill-treated to do what they do but I didn't think so - the staff all were very caring and look after them well.
Thanks Woody.and the team..

Visited January 2013
Thank Jo H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great day!”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

We spend there one of the best days of our trip through Thailand. Woody, Tom, and all the guys there are very nice people, helping you everytime and taking a lot of pictures with your camera! It's good to see how the treat the elephants, you can see they are like bros! They have it everything under control, the lunch is fully thai, like it. Unforgetable and will repeat!

Visited January 2013
Thank Iñigo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ararat, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Fantastic day with the elephants”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We chose this experience as we wanted to get a real experience with the elephants. The day included learning commands, feeding elephants, riding elephant bareback, washing elephant and swimming on the elephant. We were impressed with the care woody and his team show for the elephants. Staff are friendly and willing to take photos for you and there are also photos taken during the day that are uploaded onto the website.

Visited January 2013
Thank megalice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Nothing is worth the risk they put you through to get out there”
Reviewed January 8, 2013

We went to Woody's last week for a half-day tour, based on a recommendation by our hotel concierge. Things started out on the wrong foot right away. We were not given a set pickup time, only a pickup window (from 8:30 to 9 a.m.). Sure enough, the van (driven by a member of Woody's staff) only showed up around 9, so we wasted almost half an hour standing in the lobby waiting.
We then stopped at another hotel to pick up some other guests, who weren't there. The driver was completely confused and left us waiting in the van for over 20 minutes as he used his cell phone and approached random people coming out of the hotel to see if they were the ones he was looking for. Only after we insisted many times that we should leave (we couldn't afford any delays because we had a flight that afternoon and they were made well aware of that by our concierge at the time of booking) did the driver get back in the van and we started on our way.
Now this is where it gets unacceptably dangerous. The driver tried to make up for the lost time by driving like a madman throughout the one-hour drive down to Woody's elephant farm, weaving through traffic and speeding at upwards of 130 km/h through alternating stretches of divided highways and two-lane roads through villages. On top of that, there were no seatbelts for the passengers (only for the driver, of course), even though the van was ironically fitted with custom trimmings and speakers (I guess that's where the money for the seatbelts went).
Fortunately, we did get to the farm in one piece, even tough we were all rattled and sickened by the ride. When we reported the delay and the way the driver drove us there to the guide who was apparently in charge, he laughed it off, refused to lend us a phone (so we could make a local call to our hotel to discuss alternative transportation for the way back), and then got borderline threatening, saying that we were in his family's house and that if we didn't want to go on the tour we should get out.
Luckily, Woody himself showed up and was more polite and understanding. He apologized and said he would talk to the driver to make sure we had a safe ride back.
As for the experience itself in the farm, I had very mixed feelings. We did get to interact with the elephants, feeding them, riding them, and bathing them. But I couldn't shake the feeling those animals should be free in the wild, instead of (literally) shackled under captivity for our entertainment. The briefing we were given in the beginning was particularly disturbing. We were shown the "training tools" they used to train the elephants, and these were a machete and a stick with a metal hook on one end (somewhat akin to a small scythe). They tried to sell us the idea that these were necessary and that the elephants did not get hurt because they had very thick skin, but it was clear that the training method they employed was harsh negative reinforcement. And even though the staff tries to frame the whole experience as a conservationist effort and show themselves as friends and helpers of the elephants, I couldn't help but wonder if this kind of place isn't in fact doing more harm than good and if us tourists aren't encouraging more elephants to be captured in the wild and brought to places like this.
On the way back, the van driver did drive much more responsibly and within the speed limits -- evidently because of Woody's intervention. That does not, however, change the fact that they put their customers' lives at risk in vans with no seatbelts, driven by drivers with a very casual approach to driving and passenger safety. All in all, the dangerous and wreckless transportation and the questionable ethics of the experience made it an experience I wouldn't recommend.

Visited January 2013
2 Thank Gustavoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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