The elephant is seen as a symbol of the nation and a talisman for the Thai people. With their wrinkly grey skin and swaying trunk, they are a fascinating combination of brute force, gentleness and remarkable intelligence and agility that inspires both respect and affection.
Elephant riding tour
While in general we do not condone elephant trekking, with elephants fast disappearing from the wild in Thailand, and “sanctuaries” often charging astronomical prices, we do recognise that one of the most affordable places to see these fascinating animals up close remains in a trekking camp. Carrying tourists means the elephants are able to earn their keep, while living as freely as is possible. Elephants are very costly to feed (each one consuming 200-300kg of food per day) and, as there are limited places in the sanctuaries and no longer any space in the wild, the alternatives for these gentle giants – begging, illegal logging, or inactivity in a zoo – are far worse than being cared for in a camp.
There are only a few elephant camps in Krabi – such establishments must in theory follow strict guidelines as set by the National Livestock Department regarding the provision of adequate food, water and shade for their animals, as well as proper health care. Trekking tours – usually 30 – 45 mins ride on the elephant, optionally combined with another sightseeing activity – are bookable below, or through any local agent. If you don’t wish to ride or do a tour, you can also visit most camps directly just to observe and photograph the elephants: in this case you would normally be expected to purchase some food for them – usually bananas or pineapples – which will also give you an opportunity to meet and feed the ever-hungry pachyderms.