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“very underwhelming”

Hutsadin Elephant Foundation
Ranked #3 of 94 things to do in Hua Hin
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Attraction details
Owner description: As from 1st October 2017 we are proud to announce that trekking will no longer be offered at Hutsadin, instead we offer our visitors a range of activities that promote a close interaction with our elephants. In a safe environment for both elephant and visitor. Here you can take a bareback ride, walk with an elephant, shower and feed them or simply visit us. We also offer educational talks 3 days a week and a 3 hour mahout experience is available twice a week. Check out our website activities page where you will find full descriptions of the activities that we offer along with costs.
Reviewed October 8, 2013

We wanted to view elephant in a caring environment and we had this impression with the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation base on reviews.
When we arrived at this place, not far from Hua Hin, we were immediately directed towards the reception where a calculator was showed to use indicating the price of the elephant ride. We were with 6 adults and 3 children: 6, 4 and 2 years old, but none of use really wanted to take a ride on the elephants, neither watching a 'Show' as stated by the receptionist.
We liked to have a tour with the elephants, perhaps washing them and feeding them, just a close up experience.... Alas, as soon as we decided NOT to go for a ride or the show it felt like we were given a cold shoulder.
Instructions were given, sure you can have a look, but not the baby elephant ( as we came close towards it (10meter) an employer came to warn us for a second time!
Walking towards the bigger elephants we noted other people feeding and washing one of the elephants, however we, again, had the cold looks and non verbal: Go Away.

Look we love Elephants, impressed every time we see one, however we do not like to ride them, surely there are other ways to enjoy elephants.

Please, unless you really insist to ride an elephant (as they still offer on too many places in thailand), think twice about your support for this foundation.
We left with a weird feeling from this place..

4  Thank Ivo20132013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joanna H, observer at Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2013

I'm so sorry that you experienced such a negative visit to the foundation. We do offer so much more than trekking and shows - it's just very unfortunate that you came on a day when there weren't any English volunteers around.
I'm not trying to make excuses, but please try to look at it from the staffs point of view - they don't speak much if any English and would be overwhelmed by a group of 9.
I, personally have put up notices and photos in the reception area where the different options are displayed to try and help with the language barrier - once again I can only apologize if this wasn't made clear.
I think all previous reviews point out that if visitors just want to look around it is a much better experience if they can do so with one of the volunteers - it is free and can even be booked in advance.
If you were told to stay away from the young elephant it will have been for a safety reason - if her mahout wasn't there at the time she can be unpredictable with people she doesn't know. Sorry but safety has to come first - these are huge animals and can quite unintentionally hurt you.

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Reviewed October 8, 2013

This time 2 weeks ago we had finished our mahout experience. What can I say?? We thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband could not stop going on about the fact that we had taken an elephant for a walk!! It was a fantastic morning. We learnt about all the different elephants there, met them all, gave them medication, fed and washed them and had a go at chopping their food (easier said than done!!). Oh - and massaged Song Kran's tongue!! Jo and her husband clearly care deeply for the welfare of the animals in their care (dogs, cats and other animals, not just the elephants!!) Really pleased we did this rather than going to Elephant Village where it sounds like the elephants are not cared for or looked after, and are exploited. It was an educational yet extremely enjoyable and fascinating morning.

Thank rachygManchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joanna H, observer at Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2013

Thank you for yet another excellent review of the mahout experience. It is proving to be such a huge success with the help of people like yourself spreading the word! It's always a positive thing to see the effort and work that goes into caring for our elephants and it's so good for visitors to see and take part in this and not feel that trekking is the only way to get close to these amazing animals.
Thanks again :)

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Reviewed October 7, 2013

This place was really run with heart. It was clear this organization was run to help and support the elephants, instead of being profit driven. They use our tourist funds to feed, care, and give medical support to these rescued elephants.

They picked us up at our hotel, and every step of the way we were greeted with smiles and help. My wife, 21 month old, and I were riding an elephant very soon after arriving. The trail was clean, and the view was great. The guide even got off the elephant halfway through to take a picture of us with our Camera; (I liked this better than places that will only use their camera to sell you an expensive picture). After the ride there was a Baby Elephant Show. We got so close to the elephants by petting, and being hugged with them.

The best part was meeting the Western Doctors who care for the elephants. They gave us more fruit to feed the elephant, and seeing my 21 month old daughter holding a piece of orange that an elephant was reaching for with its huge trunk, and my daughter not being scared was PRICELESS.

Reading the biography on each elephant also showed how each one made it to the Foundation. From being injured in the Logging Industry, or not being accepted by their original mother, it made me very comfortable to know my money was going for a good cause as well.

Thank KSDolfanic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joanna H, observer at Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely review. We remember your lovely daughter clearly and were so impressed with her complete lack of fear with such a large animal. She was certainly determined to make that orange go a long, long way:)
One thing I must clarify though is that we are not Doctors or even Vets - we are just English volunteers trying to inject a more western approach to the care of these gorgeous animals - but thank you for the compliment.
I'm sure you got some amazing photos that she will look at in the future - I just hope she isn't too young to remember. Maybe you will bring her back again one day.:)

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Reviewed October 6, 2013

they had 3 elephants, the elephant ride was not worth it one bit. the effort, time and money spent was not justified.

Thank Rishabh S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joanna H, observer at Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2013

I'm not sure that you actually visited Hutsadin as we have 6 elephants, not 3 as you mentioned.
However where ever you were I'm amazed that being so close to such an amazing animal left you feeling it was a waste of time, effort and money.
Of course we are all entitled to our own opinions, but as most of our reviews show you are in the minority.

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Reviewed October 4, 2013

We booked the mahout experience with Jo via email and she was extremely helpful throughout the whole process. We were a group of 5 with children, and technically didn't qualify for the experience, but they let us do it nevertheless. What an amazing morning we had with Jo and her husband showing us around and learning about these amazing animals. The teenagers loved learning about the elephants as we'll as washing them and feeding them. Incredible day that we will all remember for a long time. Highly recommend this experience. Thanks heaps Jo!

Thank SusieMc65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joanna H, observer at Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, responded to this reviewResponded October 7, 2013

Thank you for your lovely review. It was a pleasure to work with you all and the teenagers were so enthusiastic that it proved that lowering our age limit was a good decision. In fact because of your visit we are introducing a slightly scaled down version of the mahout experience to include younger children.
We all hope that your memories will last a lifetime. :)

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