Phuket Elephant Sanctuary has been pioneering ฟื ethical elephant tourism movement in Southern Thailand since 2016 by offering a new and final home to elephants who had worked their entire lives in the logging and tourism industries. Its existing programmes do not only include a short, non-intrusive feeding interaction but the sanctuary has also launched a new, 100% hands-off programme for elephant enthusiasts that are happy to just observe the elephants in their natural habitat.
A number of elephants have been rescued and rehabilitated back into a tropical, 30-acre jungle where they can roam around, socialise and bathe freely in fresh water lagoons, while visitors observe them from a respectful distance and learn about the elephants’ stories from passionate tour guides. And as part of its half-day and full-day programmes, a short feeding moment is offered for only the elephants that are happy to engage in a short encounter.
The “Hands-Off Experience at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary” begins with a scenic drive to the Tree Top Lounge. An educational documentary helps visitors prepare for their visit and to understand why Asian elephants need to be protected. They will meet Kannika and Madee, the sanctuary’s first two elephants, before helping the team to prepare supplementary elephant food hands-on. “Khao Tom Mat” consists of sticky rice, mashed bananas, coconut meat, salt and sugar, all wrapped in a large banana leaf. In the meantime, the sanctuary can be explored with an experienced tour guide and observe the elephants that live in freedom while the nutritious snacks are being steamed. The Khao Tom Mat packets are then delivered into the jungle where quiet observation of the elephants takes place. Finally, a sumptuous, Thai vegetarian dinner buffet is served for visitors back at the Tree Top Lounge.