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“An amazing week - one we will never forget”
Review of Elephantstay

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Elephantstay
Reviewed September 11, 2010

Our family of 4 (including children aged 12 and 8) wanted a hands-on experience with Elephants. We dont mind getting back to basics and getting dirty, and we wanted to get involved (not just watch).
We got all that and more at Elephant Stay.
All of the wonderful people who work there made us feel a part of the place from the first day. There was no pressure to do anything we didnt want to do, and there were clear guidelines and expectations set right up front.
The pace is relaxed, with plenty of time to do your own thing in between the daily routine of looking after your elephants.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank sammells
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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32 - 38 of 40 reviews

Reviewed June 1, 2010

Elephantstay is not a 5 star hotel but it does have many elephants. As a guest you are allocated and care for one of the older elephants including riding, washing and cleaning. It is a marvellous experience working with these gentle giants and seeing how they react to you. It was an unbelievable 3 days and is on the agenda for another visit. Staff arre great and patient with the visitor as you learn how to mount, ride and command your elephant. Food quite good. Go while you can - take the kids.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Mike-Margaret
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2010

Have just returned from two weeks in Thailand - one week at Elephantstay. I wish I'd spent the whole two weeks at Elephantstay. From the moment I opened the car door to be greeted warmly by Buddy (the Blue Heeler) to the tearful farewell - this is a holiday I will never forget. Yes you get dirty, hot and sweaty but the rewards are endless. As they say you get out of it what you put in. Being so close to so many elephants and all the activity that goes into the daily life of the village is great. I will miss waking up to the roar and trumpeting of the elephants, watching them go to the river early morning and late afternoon along with playing with the babies, and of course, the main reason you are there - looking after the retired girls. A real highlight.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled with friends
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2  Thank BNG007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2009

If you ask my kids they had the best time ever. My husband and I left feeling a little unsure about the whole experience. The guidance was great during the orientation but after that we were left to our own devices. We found some of the instructions contracdictory eg, don't approach the elephants unless you had someone with you but then the there was an expectation that you are self directed about what you do with the elephants. It became a little awkard. The cost of the experience is expensive and yet their was very little staff involvement (unless pursued by yourself). Inspite of the money you pay upfront there was some pressure to donate with numerous stories of how expensive it is to run the program. We found the Aussie hosts not the most hospitable.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with family
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11  Thank Swirl5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2009

I cried for literally two hours when I left this place, and I am not a big crier! If you are looking for luxury, head elsewhere. If you are looking for one of those experiences that you remember fondly for the rest of your life, this is it! My husband and I got there after a series of luxury hotels throughout Thailand and Cambodia and were pretty disappointed that we were staying in what was essentially a straw hut

We actually spent the first day complaining, about the heat (there is air conditioning indoors but you spend almost the whole day outside), the fact that we were making elephant food and cleaning up their poop, and the fact that our clothes got dirty within our first 30 minutes there. Then, at some point, we fell in love with the place, the animals, and the people. Like Toi, who is the head mahout for the elephantstay experience. He is incredibly smart, funny, and knows the animals so well. My husband got so into the experience that we kept going back during the breaks asking for more ways we could help out. By the end, we were looking into ways to delay our flight so we could stay a few more days. The babies are the cutest thing you'll ever, ever see. They run around at night and get into all kinds of trouble chasing dogs and you hear them hooting and howling running around the camp. One of them head-butted my rear-end because he'd gotten used to getting treats from me and I didn't have any for him on the last day.

On my last day there, I went to my elephant (Sin Nuan) and hugged her trunk while I cried and said goodbye. She wrapped her trunk around me and squeezed me goodbye; she could tell I was leaving. They are very intelligent animals and they are definitely used to the experience of having people come in and out caring for them. Even my husband got teary eyed watching us say goodbye, it was such an emotional connection that developed over only three days!

The food, by the way, is awesome. Breakfast is pretty simple (continental-style), but lunch/dinner are awesome, and the final dinner was an incredible feast. Beer is not included, but we had some Aussies there who kept buying rounds for everyone (plus, Beer, and everything for that matter, is SO cheap in Thailand compared to the US). The fellow program attendees were overall incredibly nice, and we've even kept in touch with a couple of them.

I can see how people who are really into doing absolutely nothing on their vacation and just vegging out at a hotel might not enjoy this place. There was a prima donna from Canada during our stay there and she just didn't get as involved in the day to day life there as the other guests did and was often late to everything (in fact, we got a little resentful towards her as a result--everyone else was SO engaged in the experience). But if the thought of riding an elephant and really interacting with and caring for elephants is vaguely enticing to you, I am sure you'd enjoy this place! We are already trying to think of ways to get back there, and have recommended it to anyone who will listen! Please feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions. This is one of those vacations that, more than six months have gone by and it still comes up in our conversations regularly because it made such a tremendous impression on us.

By the way, we did this on our honeymoon!! My only regret is that we didn't stay longer.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank lululauren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2009

Do you love elephants and total immersion experiences? This is the final word in an ultimate elephant experience... You get your own elephant in this wonderful Thai village, and with guidance from Ewa and Michelle , (the managers, concierge, and program coordinators, ) you learn how to feed, bathe, clean and ride your elephant, with direction and support from your own mahout, in this program called Elephantstay . From the time we arrived we were surrounded by the 90 elephants that are supported by this unique program. And roaming freely are the adorable babies that are coming up to you while you are eating, or walking, that I couldn't stop hugging. Watching their mischevious antics alone was like living in a reality show. Taking the elephants to the river twice a day and sitting on them while they dunk their heads and bodies in the water, was like being on a giant air mattress that had a trunk. You are taught verbal and foot commands by the mahouts, who are the elephant trainers. Have you ever seen an elephant paint? Imagine walking out of your bungalow and there, in front of an easel, is an elephant making conscious decisions about which brush and how the paint should be applied. Yes, they actually have different styles..... Our comfortable accommadations were spacious and had airconditioning! Our meals prepared at the restaurant in the village, were extremely tasty , and the people who ran the restaurant lovely. The program supports the people in this village, so we at least felt like we were making a mark in their existance. The one regret.... we should have stayed much longer. We will return....
We are very well traveled, and look for the most truthful experiences.....We still can't stop talking about it!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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6  Thank fluffie26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2009

What an absolute delight this was--SO full of heart. People, elephants, elephant babies. The dedication of Ewa and Michelle and Pi Om to the well-being of the elephants was inspiring. The elephants are individuals and cared for in that way.
Food is phenomenal, accommodations immaculate, people friendly.
My partner and I enjoyed 9 days, each with our own elephant, and I thoroughly enjoyed the connection that developed with Si No Won my elephant. I cleaned washed and fed her and massaged her too. But the highlight was always the trip to the river riding my elephants or just walking beside the Moms and the babies, who are delightful to watch frollicking in the river--We took a thousand photos! and two hours of video.
We are planning to return this year, and in the time we were there we met 8 other people who were back for a second time! That has to be as good an endorsement as you can have for one of life's more delightful transformational opportunities.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank SerenitybytheSea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Elephantstay

Address: 74/1 M 3 Tumbol Suanpik | Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Ayutthaya Province > Ayutthaya
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 61 Specialty Lodging in Ayutthaya
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Elephantstay is a close up and personal hands on experience with elephants staying in a working elephant village. ... more   less 

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