thailand elephant sanctuary near Bangkok

Thailand Elephant Sanctuary Near Bangkok

(Last Updated On: February 13, 2024)

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Why this is the best ethical elephant sanctuary near Bangkok?

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand is a rescue centre for animals. It is considered the best ethical elephant sanctuary near Bangkok because this organisation truly dedicates themselves to the rescue of elephants and proving a safe and natural environment for them, where they can live out the rest of their days.

Are there ethical elephant sanctuaries in Thailand?

Yes there are some but there are many that are not ethical. To find out if an elephant sanctuary is ethical, the most important questions to research are:

  • Is the elephant refuge putting the elephants welfare first or are they putting profits first?
  • Is the elephant sanctuary using bullhooks (a tool to control elephants)?
  • Is the Thailand elephant sanctuary offering riding?
  • Do they call themselves a Thailand elephant camp?
  • Are the elephants forced to work or do unnatural activities for the purpose of entertaining the visitors?
  • Does the Thailand elephant sanctuary push the elephants to bathe or swim with tourists?
  • Are the elephants allowed to roam in their enclosures and spend time doing what they want?
  • Are they breeding the animals? If so, for what purpose?
Thailand elephant sanctuary near bangkok
Rescue elephants at the I Love Phants lodge, roaming around their elephant enclosure

Nearest elephant sanctuary to Bangkok: WFFT

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand allows the rescue elephants to spend their days roaming around their spacious enclosures, socialising with other elephants, swimming when the elephants choose to swim and eating multiple times a day. They also provide enrichment for the elephants. This means providing activities and tasks in order to forage for food to mimic what the elephants would do in a natural environment.

WFFT educate visitors about the importance of ethical elephant tourism and the negative impacts of riding or performing elephants which is elephant abuse, and unfortunately rife in the Thailand elephant industry.

Animal Rescue Thailand: Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

WFFT is not just a sanctuary for elephants, but also a haven for many other animals that have been rescued from the exotic pet trade or from abusive situations. This means that when you visit, you have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of animals in addition to the elephants. These animals include tigers, leopards, a mountain lion, an orangutan, a chimpanzee, bears, otters, monkeys, gibbons, birds, leopard cats, deer, a casawari just to name a few of the rescued animals.

The exotic pet trade is an awful, abusive industry that exists in Thailand, proven as recently as the shocking news of lion cubs found in a Bentley driving around Pattaya in 2024. WFFT do their best to rescue these animals when owners are open to letting them go. WFFT never pay for the rescue of animals and this contributes to the problem.

Where possible, the animals rescued will be rehabilitated and released into the wild. Monkeys such as macaques and dusky langurs as well as the gibbons and otters will be released in the wild once they are ready to survive on their own.

For some animals such as the tigers, elephants and bears, it is unlikely that they would ever be able to learn to survive on their own and would become an immediate, easy target for poachers as they are too accustomed to humans and would seek them out.

Thailand elephant sanctuary near Bangkok, image of a rescue tiger
Rescue tiger from an abusive zoo

So, if you’re looking for an ethical elephant sanctuary near Bangkok that also offers the chance to see and learn about other rescued animals, WFFT is the best ethical elephant sanctuary in Thailand.

Where to See Elephants in Thailand: I Love Phants Lodge

The ‘I Love Phants’ lodge offers a unique opportunity to stay with elephants, located on the grounds of WFFT. This lodge provides really comfortable and well-designed rooms that overlook the elephant enclosure, allowing you to wake up to the sight of elephants and gibbons right outside your window, from your balcony or even from the bed in some cases!

Imagine starting your day with a cup of tea on your private balcony, watching as the elephants roam freely and interact with each other. The close proximity to the elephant enclosure allows for an intimate and unforgettable experience, as you witness their daily routines and behaviors up close.

In addition to the incredible views, I Love Phants offers comfortable amenities such as tea, coffee and a small fridge in the room. It has a really peaceful atmosphere, ensuring a relaxing, comfortable and once-in-a-lifetime stay. There are a small number of rooms so it has an intimate feel.

Wake up to the magic of elephants at I Love Phants. It’s an unforgettable opportunity to connect with nature and support the ethical practices of the best ethical elephant sanctuary near Bangkok.

Image of balcony view and elephant near Bangkok
Balcony Views at I Love Phants lodge

I Love Phants Review – Restaurant

At the I Love Phants Lodge, not only can you wake up to the incredible sight of elephants, but you can also enjoy a unique dining experience at the on-site restaurant. The restaurant offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to eat and drink while viewing the elephants in their natural habitat.
Sit on the terrace sipping a refreshing cocktail or enjoying a delicious meal, all while observing these rescue elephants up close. The restaurant provides a wide range of Thai and Western food, a great cocktail menu (try Hugo the Elephant – a personal favourite!), a small wine list and local beers. A buffet lunch is included for those on the full day tour of WFFT.

Ethical elephant sanctuary close to Bangkok
Restaurant Views at I Love Phants lodge

I Love Phants Review – Swimming Pool

The swimming pool at I Love Phants Lodge is undoubtedly one of its best features. As you relax in the pool, you can see the elephants walking past or hear their gentle trumpeting in the distance. The swimming pool area is designed to provide a tranquil and serene atmosphere, allowing you to unwind and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.  There are private pools under the pool villa options when booking accommodation.

Ethical elephant sanctuary close to Bangkok
Pool Goals: Elephant Viewing from the swimming pool overlooking the elephant enclosure

I Love Phants Lodge Review – Resort with Rescue Elephants

This Thailand elephant sanctuary near Bangkok is a great place for couples, friends, or families to visit. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a fun adventure with friends, or a memorable experience for the whole family, this sanctuary has something for everyone.

Couples can enjoy the peaceful and romantic atmosphere of the sanctuary, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the gentle presence of elephants. Friends can stay in the larger rooms down in the forest and wake up the calls of gibbons, one of the most amazing sounds in nature.

Families will find this ethical elephant sanctuary near Bangkok to be a perfect destination for a meaningful and educational trip. Children will be fascinated by the elephants and can learn about the importance of wildlife conservation, the dangers of the exotic pet trade and how the best way to appreciate animals is when they are in the wild and free.

No matter who you visit with, this Thailand elephant sanctuary near Bangkok promises an unforgettable experience that combines adventure, education, and supporting a worthy cause that rescues and rehabilitates wildlife.

Location Bangkok Elephant Sanctuary

Located just 2 hours and 45 minutes from Bangkok, this ethical elephant sanctuary near Bangkok is the perfect destination for animal lovers and adventure seekers alike. Situated a 45 minute drive from Hua Hin, it offers a convenient and accessible location for visitors. Either to move on to the beach afterwards, or even take the train down the coast to Surathani. For one of my Thailand travel itineraries that includes the I Love Phants lodge, read these Thailand itineraries.

The sanctuary’s proximity to Hua Hin also allows visitors to explore the charming coastal town and its attractions. After spending a day with the elephants, you can unwind on beach, enjoy local food and explore Hua Hin night markets.

The best way to travel to I Love Phants lodge is by taxi. The lodge can arrange this for you once your booking is complete.

So, if you’re looking for the best ethical elephant sanctuary near Bangkok, with a convenient location and a chance to make a positive impact without heading too far from Bangkok, this is the best sanctuary to visit.

Bangkok Elephant Sanctuary Day Trip

A Bangkok elephant sanctuary day trip is a fantastic opportunity to experience the beauty and majesty of these gentle giants up close. While the sanctuary is located near Bangkok, it is important to note that a day trip from the city is not possible due to the distance. However, if you are staying in Hua Hin, an elephant sanctuary day tour is definitely possible.

Hua Hin, a charming coastal town just a short drive from the sanctuary, offers a convenient base for exploring the area. From Hua Hin, you can easily arrange a day trip to the Thailand elephant sanctuary for a full day tour and support this amazing animal rescue centre in Thailand.

Staying at this sanctuary is ideal for a weekend trip as it is the nearest ethical elephant sanctuary to Bangkok and makes for a perfect nature weekend with some luxury! Because there are a limited number of rooms, make sure you book your accommodation at I Love Phants in advance. You can book your stay through Agoda here or if you prefer to use Booking.com then you can check dates and book here.

Nearest Bangkok Elephant Sanctuary Day Trip Price

The nearest Bangkok elephant sanctuary offers a day trip option with a reasonable price. The full day tour costs around 1300 baht per person, which includes a buffet lunch. If you are on a budget in Thailand, then consider a half day tour instead. In my opinion the best option is to stay overnight at the I Love Phants lodge. The price for one night depends on the size of the room, but it starts from around 4000 baht.

By choosing the day trip option, you can experience the wonders of the sanctuary without having to commit to a longer stay. This is especially convenient for those who are short on time or prefer a shorter visit, or staying one night or the weekend in Hua Hin.

What to Bring to an Elephant Sanctuary?

  • sun cream
  • sunglasses
  • trainers or comfortable walking shoes
  • phone or camera
  • a sun hat
  • swimwear
  • mosquito repellent

Where to see wild elephants in Thailand?

The most ethical place for elephants in Thailand is to see them in the wild. Read my article here about where to see wild elephants in Thailand in Khao Yai National Park

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