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“Consider this an “elephant exhibit” instead of “elephant interaction””

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
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Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Tour from Kuala Lumpur
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Private Day Tour to Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary
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Full Day Batu Caves and Elephant Sanctuary Tour from Kuala Lumpur
Ranked #10 of 157 things to do in Pahang
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Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: You'll never forget the day you helped give an elephant a bath (additional request with the help of a guide). Currently elephant riding has been temporary stopped until further notice. Get up close and personal with the amazing semi-wild elephants at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. Be sure to book in advance because the center has strict daily visitor quotas.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed February 28, 2013

2013 - ALL ELEPHANT DUNKING/RIDING HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED INDEFINITELY. When reading other reviews, make sure to check the dates of their VISIT and not the date the review was written.

If your heart is set on having one-on-one interactions with the animals, you will probably be disappointed. We understood going in that there would be minimal animal interaction. We were fine with this (as it is a rescue facility) but thought this was going to be like the ones in Thailand where the elephants roam around and people can sit on platforms and watch the ones that want to hang out – it is not. The visitor area is more like a nicely landscaped elephant exhibit at a zoo. They brought us some “elephant food” (plant stalks, fruit, etc.) and we were able to hold the food out and the elephants would grab it with their trunks over the fence. That was neat, but of course, there was “that guy” who kept throwing food at the elephants and there wasn't any staff around to tell him to stop harassing the animals.

We were there on a Saturday afternoon and got to watch the larger elephants go into the river and splash around with their mahouts. No visitors were in the water and a low-medium sized crowd watched the activities. Maybe if we arrived earlier in the day (or on a different day) people could have "bathed" with the smaller ones. Though it seems like having a huge crowd (yelling and jumping all over it) could be particularly stressful to the elephant so I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have done that even if it had been available. If that is interesting to you, I would call the office and ask if the “bathing” is still offered.

I am torn on this activity. On the one hand there are rescued animals that have obviously had a hard life, but then the animals have chains around their ankles and the mahouts have bull hooks (we didn’t see them in use). After they say that “this isn’t a circus” the animals do a “demonstration” where they drag chains, lay down, pick up something off the ground and bow. I am by no means an animal behaviorist, but while the animals were waiting their turn some of them were rocking back and forth which made me think that they were stressed out. Not sure if this is because of the treatment at the sanctuary or the life it led before it arrived at the center. I didn't watch the video so they might have addressed these issues.

If you only have a few days in KL you might want to reconsider visiting as it does take up a good bit of the day. But if you really like elephants and realize that this is more of an “elephant exhibit” instead of “elephant interaction” then it could be a good excuse for 3 hours of down time (1.5 hours each way) and a way to see the Malaysian countryside. It does seem like the animals are getting treated better here than they were getting treated in their previous life. One can hope that the entrance fees are spent on elephant well-being/ fund future rescues and that this isn’t a different form of animal exploitation/elaborate ploy for donations.

10  Thank Mary D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 24, 2013

It was a lovely experience to feed and bathe the baby elephant. Get a private guide.. Watch the video and its very educational as well.

4  Thank ZaidahL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2013

This seemed like an interesting day out away from the city, visits to a deer park, batik factory, rubber plantation and lunch, but alas not what it says on the tin, batik was glorified shop, you weren't allowed into rubber plantation as it is considered dangerous, deer had been taken away because they were not being cared for properly, and lunch was just awful,then the end game , to see the elephants which to be honest reminded me of an old fashioned circus,only plus was the guide who was very well informed and courteous.,

3  Thank murphyScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

If you never seen elephants close before - maybe it worth visiting. Otherwise I'd give it a second thought.
This place is located about 100km from Kuala Lumpur, which is 1.5h ride on the cab. They have 4 main attractions:

- Elephants show - they wash elephants in the river and then show some basic tricks with them (like ordering to lie down). You will get a chance to feed an elephant as well.
- Video about elephants, which is what it is - you are watching video about elephants.
- Jungle trail - walk in the jungle.
- Bathing with a young elephant - don't expect much, this is just getting to the shallow place of the dirty river with elephant and other tourists and taking some pictures of this process. Experience isn't personal at all (although, if you are lucky and there are no other people - I assume you may get a personal 'bathing'). Frankly, we bought a ticket for this (which is 10MYR) but decided not to do it because getting wet to get a photo with elephant and a crowd around didn't worth it.

They don't do elephant rides anymore because of the some new law in Malaysia.
In overall, comparing with elephants shows/rides in Thailand - this experience was pretty poor.

If you still decide to go and take a jungle trial - make sure you guide speaks English, our almost didn't speak it and was almost worthless.
There is a dear park nearby this sanctuary where you can feed deers and see some other animals - this one worth visiting, it doesn't take long but is a fun place.
If you are going to buy a tour to this place - consider asking a taxi driver about the price to get you there and back. If you are a group of 2+ people you may get a better deal and better control of your time.

4  Thank Alexander A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

Visited during a fantastic Viator-booked private tour to the elephant orphanage (which also took in local silk painting which was interesting, and the Deerland park, which was a bit wierd!) The private tour guide, Michael, was fantastic at the elephant sanctuary, getting us to stand in just the right spots to be really involved with the feeding and washing the elephants and bathing with them in the river and riding them. He took great photographs throughout the day too, of us with the elephants and I'd really recommend doing the tour through Viator. Although an expensive way of doing it I thought it represented great value for money having a personal guide who drove us around and gave us local knowledge. We were also lucky our guide was so nice.

We arrived at the sanctuary and watched a video about the excellent work they are involved with in relocating elephants which would otherwise be at risk of being shot as the habitats of man and the elephant collide It was a great way to educate and raise awareness and gave really interesting background, especially into the way the older elephants are trained and used to assist in the relocation of others and it's clea all the staff care greatly about the really important work they do.

Following the video we then went and fed some elephants, watched a demonstration, fed some more elephants, stroked them and got up so close to them. We then rode on an elephant before the real highlight of bathing in the river with an elephant. It was a lot of splashing and huge fun.

Just being so close to such wonderful creatures the whole afternoon was a really memorable experience; it's hard to put into words, but it was amazing. Experience it yourselves, I'm sure you'll be glad you did and the memories will stay with you forever.

4  Thank Timday10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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