The Tongsai Bay resort and its staff hopes its guests will book a visit to the Samui Elephant Sanctuary as the elephants are free to roam and are not forced to perform or do anything against their will. They consider the operator of the sanctuary to be a saviour to the elephants as opposed to an exploiter.
The six elephants who live at the sanctuary have been rescued from tourism and logging industries and can now spend their retirement on the 10 acres of forest. Every elephant is treated with dignity and respect and it is clear to see how happy and loved these beautiful creatures are.
Sadly, due to their life in captivity, these elephants would not possess the skills to survive in the wild. Therefore, a new life at the Samui Elephant Sanctuary is a welcomed home for the elephants to live out their retirement.
The Samui Elephant Sanctuary is the first ethical elephant sanctuary on the island of Koh Samui and is inspired and supported by Lek Chailert, world renowned elephant conservationist, the founder of Save Elephant Foundation.
After arriving at the sanctuary, we were given a short, educational talk by the keepers before being loaded up with bags of bananas and energy balls to feel the elephants.
After splitting into small groups, we went with a guide to meet the elephants and feed them. It was fascinating to be so close to these majestic animals. Even just being around them for a short time it was clear to see each of their individual personalities emerging… and we quickly discovered who were the greediest members of the pack!
It was wonderful to see the elephants come and go as they pleased and witness how much love and respect the keepers and the elephants have for one another.
After spending the afternoon at the Samui Elephant Sanctuary, it is clear that this is a very special place for the lucky elephants who get to enjoy their retirement here.
After speaking to one of the keepers, the message that the sanctuary wants tourists to take home is one of education. Spending time with the elephants is an amazing and memorable experience but the purpose of the sanctuary is to teach a new generation how to save the elephants and to prevent further abuse.
All the profits of the sanctuary go back into helping the elephants, but it also means that if a tourist visits the Samui Elephant Sanctuary, they are not spending their time or money supporting some of the less ethical animal destinations on the island such as elephant trekking or shows with performing animals.
Humans have made many mistakes in the past towards our beautiful planet and wildlife. Luxury Travellers have a choice to make when they travel and choosing the right activity to support can have a major influence on the future.