We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Up close and personal with”

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Pinnawala
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Up close and personal with”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

This is where you will notice that the elephant is one of the biggest creatures on earth. it is a wonderful experience and the bathing in the river is a must see!

Visited June 2013
Thank Shadibraish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

3,020 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Slovak first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
90 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“good to see the baby elephants..”
Reviewed July 3, 2013

We stopped by the elephant orphanage on way from Dambulla to Colombo.. We landed at the feeding time and it was amazing to see how the baby elephants were fed milk from bottles. Even the lunch in the nearby restaurant overseeing the elephants take a dip in the river was very good.. Nice place to visit.

Visited June 2013
Thank ShilpaVora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
85 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“close up view of elephant herd”
Reviewed July 3, 2013

we make it a point to visit Pinnawala as the first stop from the airport as we head for the hill stations on the colombo- kandy road. The fees has since increased to 2000 rupees for adults and 1000 rupees for chil. but its still good value . Took a bus to the road junction of the pinnawala and Kandy . from there took a tuk tuk for 500 rupees to the orphange. Enroute the driver may tempt you to take elephant rides from other companies at exorbitant prices but be firm. The Pinnawala elephants will take their daily baths late mornings and afternoons. it is fun watching them in the river , both adults and young babies splashing in the waters at close up range. it is a joy to see them move as a herd along the narrow road back to their sheds in the orphange. Easily there are about 60 of them . some injured ones are being treated and nursed in the orphange. we get to see how they are fed within close range . Its a good experience for both young children and adults. From the orphanage , its about 1 hr by bus to Kandy town. for about 100 rupees.

Visited June 2013
3 Thank Jamestankee H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Lovely location, poor maintenance”
Reviewed July 3, 2013

The first thing that hit my mind at Pinnewala, is the location. Elephants are taken for bathing to a heavenly river, which has picturesque view. 30 to 50elephants of all ages were there, enjoying their time. But the saddest parts is, elephants seem to be tortured & hungry. Their legs are tied with chain, that's why there is obvious scar around their legs which seems to be very itchy & painful. That is really pathetic. It's called an 'orphanage', but doesn't work in that way.
And I couldn't stop wondering, why there are so many restaurants & shops beside the river? Isn't that a government own place? All these shops & restaurants have just reduced space, both for the elephants & tourists. Instead of settling those shops, space could be open so that tourists would be able to see the bathing elephants from different views. All you can do beside the river, is standing at only one point & get pushed by other tourists who are also trying to have the view of elephants.
But watching so many elephants at a time is really a enjoyable thing for the tourists.
I think there are still so MANY things to improve in this place.

Visited June 2013
Thank Tanvir_Ayon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed June 27, 2013

Every time we returned to Colombo from Kandy, we made it a point to see Pinnawala. Pinnawala can be reached by A1 Colombo Kandy road with a turn off at Kegalle. It’s approximately 85 kms from Colombo and is a 3 hour ride.
It is a unique elephant orphanage where orphaned elephants are lovingly taken care of; something unheard of in most parts of the world when elephants are killed for their tusks. Both adult-elephants and baby elephants maimed or orphaned in the crossfire during the war or by villagers protecting their paddy fields are sheltered here.
Tickets costing around $20 are a must. The best time to visit Pinnawala is after 1 pm. We were always in time to watch hordes of these majestic creatures lazily strolling towards the river Maha Oya for their bath. Watching the baby elephants playing in the water is really a sight to behold. Photos can be taken up very close. At 5pm, one can participate in the bottle feeding of the elephants at the main center where one can watch the babies greedily quaffing the milk.
The fun part is the shops lining the lanes leading up to the river. One can buy interesting souvenirs ranging from leather bags to elephant-poop papers and bags. Bargaining is a must.
All in all, a wonderful experience.

Visited October 2012
4 Thank Girija_Nagarajan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage also viewed

Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province
Peradeniya, Kandy District

Been to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing