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“Not sure I would recommend this.”
Review of Camp Chang Kalim

Camp Chang Kalim
Ranked #32 of 38 Tours in Patong
Attraction details
Reviewed March 3, 2014

We were quite keen to do some elephant trekking, but I wish we had read these reviews before going. I have to say I didn't expect too much and personally was quite scared once I arrived. We were picked up in the back of a dingy old pick up and I thought I might die before I even reached the place! It is up a steep hill passing what looks like the absolute slum of Phuket. The place is dingy and there is rubbish absolutely everywhere. Our guides were quite good though and stopped to take photos for us when we reached the top. We chose the 45 min trek but only paid 900 Thai baht per adult and 400 for our 9 year old. They made the kids ride on the smaller elephant and we rode upon the adult. They didn't mistreat them at all, and they are ever so gentle with their footing. Overall I wouldn't recommend it, as these days it is appalling to see animals enclosed this way. Very sad.

1  Thank AJ L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 24, 2014

We booked an elephant trek from a street vendor in Patong on the 22nd February, 2014. On the 23rd February a beat up & overloaded pick up ute collected us from our hotel and drove us & 11 other people to Camp Chang Kalim, Patong, Kathu, Phuket for a booked elephant trek. We paid for the 45 minute trek at $1,100 Baht per person {approx $40 AUD per person}

Upon arrival our first site was a skinny, mangey looking monkey in a small bamboo cage, lying almost lifeless on the ground. Turning around I outwardly gasped at the 3 small monkeys with metal collars, chained by metal chains less than a metre long to a wooden structure. Each money had approx 2 metre length in which to climb back and forth along the wood - that was it - this is where these poor creatures live, 24 / 7, fed by tourists buying bananas to feed them and then taking photos next to a chained animal.

Unfortunately the treatment of the elephants was not any better. In a small circled lot, there were 6 adult elephants and 1 baby elephant - all chained with no movement - on a dry dusty ground that was scattered with dry grass for them to eat.

The baby elephant was made to perform trick after trick, all whilst chained to the pole, hit with a stick to encourage it. For 50 Baht tourists were encouraged to have their photo taken with the baby elephant, apart from that no cameras were allowed.

We didn't do the trek, I gave the head lady a piece of my mind in regards to cruelty to animals and we left. Unfortunately, without education & a change to the law, this sort of animal abuse will continue. A couple of the tourists on our trek commented on how sad it was but they still went on the trek, thus supporting the abuse.

This was my first time to Patong and I was under the impression that the island was made predominantly of Buddhist Thai's, thus why I was so shocked as Buddhist followers would not allow such abuse and exploitation.

3  Thank Kirsty M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

Don't waste your time at Camp Chang Kalim.

We went for a one hour elephant trek and the whole thing ended up being over 3 hours...and only 55 minutes or so of that was on an actual elephant.

We were told we'd be picked up at our hotel. And we were, but in a pick up truck with the back chock-full of other tourists. We were forced to squeeze into the narrow back seat and the remaining front seat. Then they stopped at another hotel to pick up two more quests who squeezed into the back. Cramped BEYOND safety.

Upon arrival at the camp, we were herded off the truck and all jostled around as the employees screamed across the area at each other in Thai. Nobody told you where to go, nobody said what to do. Well, all except a man with a baby elephant who would yell at you if you didn't pay him to take a picture with the elephant.

It took well over an hour for them to finally get us onto an elephant. We just stood and waited and they just kept yelling to each other. Ours was to be a sunset trek and we were anticipating (based on the pictures) climbing the hills/mountains and getting great sunset views of the water. In reality the trail is rather short and views are mostly obscured by brush (you also aren't up that high in the hills to begin with).

Our elephant was exhausted and shouldn't have been forced to continue working that day. He would take one step and stop. The guide would just walk ahead and not realize we were so far behind. At some points (even when there was no view) we would stop and the guide would sit on a rock and eat berries or some food out of a styrofoam take-out container. We did nothing but sit there, too.

At one point, the guide rubbed his belly and told us that we needed to tip him when the trek is over because he was hungry and wanted food.

The guide seemed not to care about the customer experience (nor the elephant). The walk back was through some back yard driveway or something with an old dilapidated building. Not the scenic sunset we expected.

Within 15 minutes we were wishing we did just the 30 minute tour. Within 45 minutes we were wishing we'd have skipped doing this altogether.

Of the 55 or so minutes of "trekking" we were probably moving for only 20-25 minutes. The rest was spent sitting in place on the elephant.

Back at the base, there are two monkeys on chains no longer than 4 feet long. They have limited ability to climb or swing or play. And one accidental slip while perched/swinging on the stand and they'd be hanging themselves.

The elephants appeared to get fed and sprayed down to cool off (which was nice). But everything else about this operation is third world and disorganized (to be generous).

We rented scooters the next day and rode around the island and saw other elephant trek options that (from the street) looked much nicer. Some up high on mountain tops already with incredible views even from the street. I can only imagine that those experiences would have been better.

After our ride, we ended up having to wait for the ride back to the town...it was pitch black in mosquito infested woods as we waited and waited (with no explanation when we asked when we could leave).

There was nothing enjoyable about this experience (and it's rare for me to dislike something this much as I'm normally the kind of guy willing to find the silver lining in anything.

2  Thank snarl71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2013

You can find better elephant tour in Thailand. We did one in the north inside the jungle and it was really nice.
This one is inside a very small area plenty of stone. Good enough if you have kids but don't expect too much.
Looking at other review, it is correct that the elephant "driver" is using a kind of metal pin to push his elephant on the right direction but this is everywhere the same. Not specific to that camp.
Be aware that the guide will stop in the middle of the tour to sell you some souvenir. He will also probably take your camera for some photo, this is on purpose to get tips. If you don't give, don't be surprise if the second half of the tour become much boring,.....

Last, they have only 6-7 elephants so you'll have to wait your turn

2  Thank Doriphore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013 via mobile

After reading all the comments we were a little hesitant about going however when we got there we were pleasantly surprised. The elephants are tied up but with rope. They are treated with respect and are guided by sounds and pressure from the feet of the guides. Throughout the trip the elephants got plenty of food and water. This is a different culture and people need to understand this. The peoples living conditions are just as bad as the elephants.

Thank motothefo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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