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“Highlight of our trip to Thailand” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hutsadin Elephant Foundation

Hutsadin Elephant Foundation
Ranked #3 of 94 things to do in Hua Hin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Hutsadin Elephant Foundation offers the visitor a variety of attractions. At present we have 4 elephants available for trekking or for our latest option of bareback riding. Each trek or ride will take you through the surrounding areas. After your trek you will be able to watch a small show by our youngest elephant, or if you would prefer you are welcome to wash her instead and there will be plenty of opportunities for some amazing photos. After this you may want to visit our retired elephants. If you prefer a more hands approach, you may want to try our 'mahout experience' where you will get a talk about the foundation and its ethos plus the individual stories of all our elephants and why they were rescued, you will also help to take care of our retired elephants for the morning(9.00a.m - 12.00), in this time you will get to prepare food, give medication, clean their shelters, take one for a walk and then give her a wash. Will receive a t shirt to remember your time with us and you are welcome to have a free vegetarian lunch and ice cream to finish your morning. (please e mail for details as only available on certain days and only small groups are taken). If you can't spare three hours but still want something 'hands on' you can take one of elephants for a walk and then wash then on return - approximately 1/2 hour. If you just want to have a look around the foundation and chat to some of the English speaking volunteers you are more than welcome and there is no charge, however they are only there on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday morning. All of our elephants have been rescued and all have their own story, there is an information board near the seating area where you can learn more about each individual elephant.A final word to clarify the situation :- you may be asked for a tip or to buy trinkets from the mahouts - this is entirely up to you and is not supported by the foundation. Any money that you give to the mahouts DOES NOT go into the foundation funds and is not used to buy food etc (no matter what you may be told). Should you wish to make a donation please put it into the box in the front office or give to one of the volunteers. As a warning, some taxi/tuk tuk drivers will try to take you to other elephant attractions - to ensure that you come to Hutsadin phone the number at the top of the page we can provide a taxi that will bring you here. If you are making your own way, our staff all wear white clothing, volunteers wear Hutsadin t shirts. We are located at the very top of the hill (coming from town) on the right hand side, go past the signs and turning for Elephant Village We hope that you enjoy your visit and find it a memorable experience.Please post your comments on tripadvisor for the benefit of others.
Salem, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
82 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Highlight of our trip to Thailand”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2014

Last week we did the Mahout experience and it was the highlight of our trip to Thailand. Getting up close and personal with these giant, beautiful animals was a fantastic experience for us. We spent the morning with Jo, one of the volunteers, and she was fantastic. We went at our own pace and were able to ask as many questions as needed. It was very relaxed. The grounds are very well kept and the residents, e.g. elephants, are very well cared for and well fed. This was clear because they could be picky about that they did and did not eat. The bananas that were not quite ripe enough were usually dropped and the trunk was reaching out again hoping for something better.

We saw the baby of the group, Song Kran, go through his daily prayers with his Mahout. Considering no one taught him to do this, it was quite incredible to watch. We also saw Song Kran do his little show for visitors. This was not part of the experience but he was performing for another group so we watched. Jo told us that he will do the show on his own when he is bored because he has fun with it. At least it truly looked as if he was having fun when he was dancing or playing his harmonica.

We learned about the organization and the Mahouts while we fed Raem Roy. We spent most of our time with Tong Kam who is incredibly gentle. We took her for a long walk around the grounds giving her treats along the way. She followed us most of the time but sometimes she went her own way; especially when she spotted her favorite vines among the dense vegetation. After the walk we gave her a bath. Of course Jo told us that she’d get herself all dusty again at first chance only because that is what she prefers.

When all was done, we were given a simple but delicious vegetarian, Thai lunch along with our Mahout experience T-shirts. Knowing that they rely strictly on donations, I gave an extra donation after the lunch. However, at no time did anyone asked for or even allude to additional donations or purchases. Once again, it was a fantastic experience for us and we are so glad we did it. We would highly recommend the Mahout experience at Hutsadin.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Rob B
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 review, January 5, 2014
Thanks for your review, it was a pleasure to meet you both and a joy to talk you through our foundation and residents :)
The mahout experience is turning into a real hit and the volunteers are all so proud of what we are doing.
It's definitely the place to come for that real 'hands on' experience :)
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Mahout Experience Fantastic”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

Heartily reccomend if you want a really special experience with elephants without them performing tricks etc.
Spent christmas day with the elephants. The whole experience was wonderful. We did not do a ride and the whole experience felt very ethical and non-explotive of the elephants. Instead we did a Mahout experience which felt very ethical, and cost 1000THB each.
Jo recomended a taxi for us to get from our hotel, we were shown around, fed the older elephants, went for a walk (no chains or leads needed, the elephants were quite content to follow their mahouts with no interference.) we also gave one a bath and scrub. Finally we were offered a free lunch which was delicious.
Other reviewers have mentioned the elephants were chained up, and when they weren't on a walk they did have a chain around one ankle, however I would liken this to the same way you bridle a horse and tie it up or use a leash on a dog. The chains were not tight and they did not interfere with the elephants.

Book ahead for the Mahout experience and you will not be disappointed.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Kathryn 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 review, January 5, 2014
Thanks for taking the time to write your review. It was a pleasure to spend our Christmas morning with you.
Taking an elephant for a walk and then giving her a wash isn't something you get to do every day of the week and it really is a unique experience.
Thank you for mentioning the issue of chains - in an ideal world none of the elephants would have chains and just roam freely in a secure area, however we don't live in an ideal world and the safety of our visitors is paramount. It's a simple choice really, if you want to get up close to the elephants they need to be on a chain for your safety. If you don't want to see them on a chain then a zoo is the best option for you but of course you then forego the personal interaction.
The foundation is not perfect but we are doing all we can under the circumstances to ensure that our elephants get as much freedom as possible. Those who take part in the mahout experience seem to come away with an understanding of what we're about :)
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Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Want a real elephant experience? This is it! Do the Mahout experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2014

We took an elephant for a walk!! Fed elephants and gave a beautiful 65 year old dame a bath! Yes, we bathed an elephant!

If you are looking for a tourist trap that pretends to take good care of their elephants, this isn't for you. However, if you want to get up close and personal with these magnificent animals and make a difference taking care of the less fortunate elephants that have been so lucky to be rescued by this foundation - the Mahout experience is a once in a lifetime experience.

Note: you can do a "trek" here, but that is NOT the Mahout experience. The money you pay for this does not benefit the elephants, but rather the owners of the establishment ( nothing wrong with that, everyone needs to make a living).
It is the volunteers of the foundation that are making the difference in the lives of elephants here. To support the elephants you need to do the Mahout experience.

First: Book early. The foundation keeps groups very small so you can get a full experience, and with a limited number of volunteers, they are only capable of a limited number of tours per week.

Second: be prepared to get dirty (c'mon you are going to bath an elephant and take them for a walk!)

Third: book now! If helping animals is your thing, or you just want to get up close to a wild animal, this is mind boggling!

We made a 3000 baht donation after our tour, which we were NOT asked to do, not even suggested to do and we're actually asked "if we were sure as this was so generous".
This is the real deal folks. The real deal. Our donation is about $100 back home, which we wouldn't think twice to spend on supper at a restaurant or on a pair of jeans. Instead we supplied medicine for 3 weeks to our "gentle giant".

My advice: dig deep and give what you can. These folks are making a difference in the world.

Special thanks to Jo and her husband. You truly made our vacation ( well, you and our special lady!)

Sue
Nova Scotia, Canada

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank GregsGT15
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 review, January 5, 2014
Thanks Sue for the amazing review, it really makes our day when we hear that people have enjoyed their visit to the foundation so much.
Even though some of the sad stories made you cry a little at least you were able to leave knowing that our gentle giants are now in a much happier place and for those that are retired life couldn't get much better.
Please keep checking the website just in case Tong Kham does decide to produce a baby.
Hope to see you and your family again one day soon.
P.S. With your donation we were able to buy 3 weeks supply of Rham Rhouys high protein food, so she's one happy elephant :)
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UK
Level Contributor
24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A place to have a great elephant experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2013 via mobile

We went to this place with an open mind because last year, we visited the Hua Hin winery & had an amazing experience riding on one of their elephants around the vineyard. This year we were planning to do the same, but sadly the elephants are not there any longer & we had to look for something else. Going to an
"elephant show" just did not appeal to us, though our hotel (Dusit Thani Hua Hin) recommended the Hutsadini Elephant Foundation & we were very pleased to have experienced it.
They have a few adult elephants there ; a 30-min ride is 600 Baht for adult & 400 Baht for a child, which we was very reasonable. For an additional 250 Baht, you can also have a photograph of you riding on the elephant.
The baby elephant show was very good; we didn't feel like the elephant was badly treated at all. I know some of the reviewers were saying that it was more like a business then a foundation, but like any other place they have to be organised with groups of visitors and they need to make money to keep the foundation going. We certainly didn't feel pressured to spend more than we wanted.
We had a fantastic time and took great photos with these amazing animals.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank languagegirl
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 review, December 30, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write your review.
We are so pleased that you enjoyed your time with us and were realistic enough to realize that we need to generate money in order to pay for medication and the general care of all of our elephants including the retired ones.
We offer real hands on activities through our mahout experience for those who ethically don't want to take a trek and of course you can always take one of gentle giants for a walk in the surrounding area. Anyone is welcome to just come in and look around for free and if you are lucky enough to come in when there are English speaking volunteers around the time spent there at no cost is well worth it.
Check out our website for the options available :)
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Duisburg
Level Contributor
25 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“very badly maintained attraction”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2013

This is an elephant ride and show. Not some sort of sanctuary which is what I was expectign. Badly maintained facilities. Staff bugging you to buy extras... I stumped up 1800 THB which covered a ride for my 2 teenagers and show for my wife and I. For the money the staff hanging around could have been bought a pot or 2 of paint to tart the place up a bit.....
I felt embarassed to have brought my family there.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank MarkGM1957
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 review, December 30, 2013
I'm sorry but I'm not sure that you actually visited Hutsadin Elephant foundation at all.
We most definitely have rescued animals here that do not work at all. We do have 3 elephants for trekking but the price of a trek includes a small show.
We have been so busy here that the staff definitely haven't had time to hang around and as for the place needing 'tarting up', - all of our main building have only been in place for a year and are not badly maintained at all. In fact to the rear of the foundation we still have builders in painting and constructing new shelters for our retired elephants.
Perhaps this is a case of unscrupulous taxi drivers taking you to another nearby attraction where they get a commission for bringing in customers.
Potential visitors should make sure that they are taken to Hutsadin Elephant Foundation and not Elephant Village which is situated only 2 minutes from us.
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