Elephant camps

We'd think twice

Photo of Elephant camps, , Ko Chang

What we say: Half a star

The most humane of these is supposedly Baan Kwan Chang, which is supported by the Asian Elephants Foundation. While its remote jungle atmosphere in Khlong Son certainly beats the other camps that are set up close to the main roads, reports suggest that Baan Kwan Chang's elephants carry up to three people on relatively long treks several times per day, which any true friend of these sensitive animals knows is not a humane treatment.

Elephants' necks are strong enough to support an immense amount of weight, but their backs (where the heavy seats are attached) are not suited to carrying more than 100 kilos at a time. Some of the island's other elephant camps are an outright disgrace, forcing the animals to perform dance routines up to a dozen times per day and generally overworking and underfeeding them.

If you're interested in an elephant experience that benefits the animals, check out Elephant's World in Kanchanaburi, Elephant Nature Park and Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai, or Wildlife Friends Foundation in Petchaburi.

Last updated: 3rd March, 2014

About the author:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.
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