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“Wonderful experience, a highlight.”

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
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Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Tour from Kuala Lumpur
Ranked #7 of 149 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
Bath, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
197 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience, a highlight.”
Reviewed September 12, 2013

We drove over from the east coast, as it is virtually equidistant from KL, very pleasant drive.
It is free to enter, and there appear to be a few elephants to view on large compounds at all times.
however at a set time there is a video about the work they do to relocate elephants who need it due to buildings or palm oil plantations cutting them off form their usual haunts.
we paid a small amount to use the services of a local "keeper/guide" which was necessary to participate in the elephant bathing.
After the video, you can feed the elephants in pens with bananas or sugar cane bought cheaply on site, no external food allowed. Following that some large elephants wade in the river then go to a large enclosure to demonstrate their "tricks" which needed to be taught to eg allow veterinary examination.
The elephants who are permanent residents are all disabled in some way.
these larger elephants can also be hand fed- this part os all f.o.c.
After that, a couple of baby elephants went into the river and groups of 6 could rub them with river gravel, then splash them, and get soaked by the keepers.
it was great fun. some took bathing costumes, but be warned bikinis or underwear are strictly prohibited, and we just wore our shorts and t shirts, which dried very quickly in the heat.
there is a small cafe there too and a very small, inexpensive souvenir shop.
The elephants all appeared very happy, we are not a big fan of zoos but this seemd to be serving a genuine purpose, and the visits gain it a small amount of income- they should be able to charge more.
giving a donation involved form filling in triplicate- you can't just put some money in a collecion jar unfortunately- that would make it much easier and generate more income I'm sure.

Visited July 2013
4 Thank CatherineBath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Fantastic trip to the sanctuary!”
Reviewed September 11, 2013

I visited Kualah Gandah on a full day trip organised by Razali (jungletrekker69@gmail.com) who has been a volunteer at the sanctuary for many years. I would definitely recommend Razali as a guide as he was very informative and is extremely knowledgable about the elephants and the work the sanctuary does.

The sanctuary's elephant rescue team translocate wild elephants which have come into conflict with humans or have had their habitat destroyed. The sanctuary's working elephants help in this process as the presence of another elephant reassures the wild elephants.

The sanctuary also rescues and cares for injured elephants.

On our trip we got to help prepare food for the elephants and feed them. Members of our group also got to help fit a prosthetic leg to one of the elephants to help her to walk better. It was a great experience to help out at the sanctuary and this gave us a greater insight into the elephants and the sanctuary's work.

We also got to bathe with some of the smaller elephants in the river - a memorable experience!

It was clear that everyone working at the sanctuary genuinely cares about the elephants and their welfare and the elephants responded well to them.

I had a fantastic time at the sanctuary and would definitely recommend a visit.

Visited August 2013
20 Thank Lea_maria_23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Victoria
Level 6 Contributor
186 reviews
95 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“didnt get what we paid for”
Reviewed September 9, 2013

We paid a lot of money to attend a private tour here, run by the sanctuary itself with the promise of getting to ride the elephants through the jungle as well as getting private time swimming with the elephants.
Instead, in terms of interaction with the elephants, all we got given pretty much was a loaf of bread to feed the elephants, and a short 1 minute ride around a circle track, and a plant tour in place of our elephant trek.

We pretty much paid to do the chores of the sanctuary, like moving tree branches etc.
our private time in the river was nil, as there was probably 100 other people in there with us who did not pay the extra money we paid, and infact i didnt get to even get near the elephant in the water.

I would probably never go back here, and i am an intense lover of elephants, but we basically all felt like we got scammed money for no more benefit than the people who didnt pay the large sum.

It seems to be the only place you will see an elephant in malaysia though so, whether its worth it or not, i dont know.

Visited November 2012
2 Thank DCB95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“The closest you will ever get to an elephant in Malaysia”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

Only about an hour and forty-five minutes away from the heart of KL, a trip to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary is a day trip that could be undertaken by urbanites who needs a little escape or an interesting way to spend quality time.

Driving through kampungs and views of our majestic mountain range, you will find yourself going deeper into the heart of our jungles, and further away from ringing mobile phones. The route is easy to locate as there are sufficient signages, and if you are an avid user of Waze or Google Maps, you are bound to find the place quite easily.

This sanctuary is the place where abandoned and wild elephants are rehabilitated. Here, visitors will get to experience activities you will not be able to find at our local zoos: elephant feeding and elephant bathing. Kuala Gandah is part of The Department of Wildlife and National Parks, there is no entrance fee and guests are encouraged to donate for the welfare and sustainability of the sanctuary. First rule of thumb before visiting Kuala Gandah, always call the centre to find out if the river level is suitable for elephant bathing activity. As we were not privy to such information, our day out at the sanctuary was lacking of one of the 2 unique experience. Second lesson we learnt: Get to the sanctuary only at 12pm, not earlier. This is to ensure you do not have a lot of idle time before the activities begin at 1.00pm with the introductory video.

Upon entering the sanctuary, you will find yourself walking through a little garden of sorts, with various types of plants and trees, before arriving at the main area, where it's right next to the river. You will be able to purchase either bananas, peanuts or sugar cane to be fed to the baby elephants in their enclosures. It was an amazing experience to be able to get so close to the elephants and feel the texture of their trunks as they extend to grab the food from your hands. Occasionally, you will get their spit and breath in your general direction as they excitedly sniff you out. We were fortunate enough to experience the bellowing of a baby elephant right in front of us, as she ranted in frustration at us for giving away her bananas to the others.

There is an introductory video shown to the guests at the main office, which starts at 1.00pm. The video is about the origins of the elephants and how a rescue project happens. Next, you will be treated to a performance by the elephants at the arena at 2.00pm, followed by a feeding session. The wardens will provide the guests with baskets of fruits and sugar canes, which you can feed to the pachyderms. You will also be able to take photos with these giants, up close and personal. After that session, the baby elephants will usually be led to the river for a bath. Adventurous visitors can opt to join them in the river for a splashing good time, or just observe from the jetty. Do remember to bring an extra change of clothes, and mosquito repellents.

Kuala Gandah is definitely worth a visit, even for locals. It gives you a new perspective of animal life in Malaysia and a chance to be in touch with nature. We hope to be back again another time to catch the bathing activity, and this time, we will call ahead.

Visited September 2013
3 Thank Michelle Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andover, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Great day out - recommend book through Zali”
Reviewed September 6, 2013

We booked our trip to Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary with Zali (jungletrekker69@gmail.com) which was a great decision. Zali is an enthusiastic, knowledgable, passionate conservationist volunteer who is able to give his party a unique behind the scenes tour. During the day we prepared food for the ever hungry elephants, fitted a prosthetic leg to an injured elephant and assisted in bathing elephants in the river.
The day is not only fantastic fun but also educational. The sanctuary is both clean and well run with those involved obviously passionate about the wellbeing of the elephants.

Visited August 2013
16 Thank pipples1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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