Green Elephant Sanctuary Park

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Entry Fee : THB 2500

Timings : 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Green Elephant Sanctuary Park, Phuket Overview

The Green Elephant Sanctuary Park is a sprawling park spread over 40,000 metres. It’s in the middle of a lush green jungle with a stream running through it; the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park is home to many rescued elephants from around Asia. You can learn all about the lives of these elephants before they were saved, feed them and even bathe them.

There are elephant trainers who look after both the majestic animals and the visitors at all times. From 50,000 in 1950, the number of elephants in Thailand has gone down to 3,000 to 3,500 today. The Green Elephant Sanctuary Park is committed to the protection of elephants by offering them both a cruelty-free environment and a healthy life in the elephant sanctuary.

An elephant consumes up to 200 kilograms of food a day, and it is expensive to care for these mighty animals, costing several hundred dollars a month. This sanctuary park bears the same for them. It is an ethical tourist attraction, instead of the many other shows that treat these gentle giants quite cruelly. They do not allow riding, which is for the benefit of the elephants.

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Green Elephant Sanctuary Park Tours

There are two kinds of tours available at the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park in Phuket – the Morning Tour and the Afternoon Tour.
The charges for both are the same, they are as follows:
Adult - THB 2500 
Children (5 to 10 years) - THB 1900
Children (below 5 years) - Free

This includes not just sightseeing, learning about the slavery and ill abuse of the elephants, an incredible experience of watching, feeding and bathing the elephants with both mud and water, a delicious buffet lunch, and photographs with these beautiful animals.

History of Elephants in Thailand

Green Elephant Sanctuary Park
Source
Thai Significance of Elephants 
Elephants are an integral part of Thai culture and are considered to be holy in Thailand. It is for this reason that it is the national animal of Thailand. Many of the ancient temples and monasteries of Thailand, like Wat Pichai Songkram and Wat Yanasen in Ayutthaya, have busts and statues of elephants. It is believed that the first elephant to be carved in stone in Thailand, was in the inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai (1297-1298), which is currently kept in Bangkok.

Elephant Cruelty 
For thousands of years, elephants were captured and made to do heavy labour, as well as used as a means of transport. Before 1989, when logging was finally banned, elephants were frequently used to haul massive logs through forests. They were rampantly used in circuses and shows as well. Records show that during the time of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai, Thais used to even hunt and trade in elephants.

Warrior Elephants
These strong, intelligent animals were also used in war in Thailand since the 9th century, particularly the males, who tend to be more aggressive. Elephants were trained by lightly pricking them with a spear on their skin in a loud environment of shouting and drum sounds so that they would get accustomed to a war scene. Dressed in armour, armed soldiers sitting on these elephants would charge at speeds of up to 25 kilometres per hour!

Famous Historic Elephants
The Thai royals also had a special relationship with elephants. When King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai was only nineteen, he and his elephant Bekhpon, advanced an attack on Khun Sam Chon to protect his father, King Pho Khun Si Inthrathit. Another famous royal elephant was Chao Praya Prabhongsawadee, the elephant of the great King Naresuan. He won in the elephant duel between the King of Burma and King Naresuan, during the Burmese war.

Eventual Developments
With the advent of gunpowder, they finally stopped using elephants in warfare. Even today they are put in front of buildings and sold as motifs on clothing, housewares and souvenirs, as they are considered lucky. However, the number of elephants in Thailand is steadily dwindling.

How to Reach Green Elephant Sanctuary

Located in Choeng Thale outside of the central city of Phuket, there are several ways to reach the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park.

With a Tour
You can become a part of an existing tour of 10 or 20 persons. They will pick you up from your hotel or resort and drop you back at your hotel for an additional cost of around THB 300 to THB 400 per person. If you are staying somewhere very close to the elephant sanctuary, there may be no further transfer charges. This is the most convenient and hassle-free way to reach the elephant sanctuary.

By Songthaews
You can take an open-air bus called Songthaews, from Phuket Town to Surin Beach and then another one from Surin Beach to Boat Avenue Cherng Talay. This will take around 2 hours. The fares range from THB 30 to THB 50, and it is the cheapest way to reach the sanctuary park.

By Taxi
You can take a taxi from Phuket City to Choeng Thale and reach the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park in only 20 mins. This is the fastest but can be a bit steep option. You can ask your hotel or resort to arrange the same for you. This should cost you somewhere between THB 350 to THB 500.

By GRAB
If you’ve decided to book a taxi, you can use the mobile app GRAB to get better deals, or even share the cab to Choeng Thale.

By Rental Car
You can hire a car for the day from many places in the city if you have an International licence. This will cost you around THB 150 or THB 200 for the day, plus fuel.

By Rental Bike
You can also hire a bike for the day from many places in Phuket, provided you have an International licence and can handle the uneven Thai terrain. This will cost you around THB 150 per day.

Visitor Tips

  • You can get quite dirty during the mud bath. But there are bamboo showers here that have both clean water and shower gel and where you can conveniently wash it off.
  • Wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty during the mud bath.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, so you don’t slip and fall while playing with them or bathing them.
  • You can download all the photographs taken by the sanctuary photographers at the end of the day, free of cost. So don’t forget to do the same.
  • Carry a camera to capture the majestic beauty of these stately animals and the picturesque vistas all around.
  • Most Mahouts are very friendly, and if you ask them, they will tell share their experiences with these elephants with you.
  • You can also ask questions to the guide about these animals and the park; they will be happy to answer them.
  • Ideally, unplug for the day to savour this experience. But if you urgently need to go online for something, this place offers free WiFi as well.
  • Prices can vary if you book through hotels or other intermediaries. So it is best to book the tickets directly online.
  • Do not poke, prod or harm the elephants in any way. The whole purpose of this park is to provide them with a cruelty-free home.

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