Make Travel Matter

Want to encounter elephants ethically? Visit Phuket with Contiki

What’s six metres high, weighs five tonnes and has slightly smaller ears than the African elephant? 

Nope, it’s not your ego. It’s Asia’s gentle giant, the Asian elephant. And with Contiki, you can meet several of these tusk-tastic mammals… without troubling your conscience.

Welcome to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. They’re on a mission. They want to give Asian elephants a better life and help travellers see them without causing harm. Here, elephants are free to do what they do best: be elephants. 

They play, bathe and forage for food, precisely when they want to, and you can see it all. You’ll even feed them tasty treats, and get up close and personal on Thailand’s longest canopy walkway. 

Image source: Felix M. Dorn - unsplash

The sanctuary was founded by Montri TodTane, who’d previously worked with elephants for over 10 years and even owned an elephant camp. After seeing how much the elephants suffered, Montri began to wonder if there was a better way to introduce Thai and Asian elephants to the public. A natural way, where elephants could display their natural behaviour from an environment that mimicked their natural habitat. Luckily for animal lovers (and elephants)… there is. 

These elephants have been rescued from a life elsewhere in the tourism business, where they’ve lived and worked on camps, been ridden for long hours and suffered other forms of abuse. As you encounter them and learn their names, you’ll also learn their individual stories. 

You’ll also get to experience Thailand’s longest canopy walkway, which means you can cover the same ground as the elephants without getting in their way. 

On this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER ® Experience, you won’t just get to see endangered or at-risk species with your own eyes. You’ll learn how to do your bit to prevent the exploitation of Asian elephants and other species. 



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Visiting Phuket

As Thailand’s largest island, you can rest assured Phuket’s got more than elephants in its trunk. 

First off, it’s home to Thailand’s most popular beaches, renowned for sparkling sands, clear water and stunning views of the Andaman Sea. It’s a must-visit for deep sea divers and shallow sea snorkelers. 

Phuket town boasts Chinese shrines, an upside down house, a museum devoted to art that ‘deceives the eye’, plus lots of arcades. Don’t miss the Buddhist Amulet Market or the Khao Rang Viewpoint. 

Oh, and let’s not forget the food. Phuket’s stand-out culinary delights include mèe pad hokkien (stir-fried noodles served in broth) and mèe gaang pôo (crab meat curry served with noodles). 

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