Welcome the Elephant Sanctuary on Koh Samui, Their concept of elephant care and welfare is inspired and supported by Lek Chailert, world renowned elephant conservationist, founder of Save Elephant Foundation and world famous Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. Lek is at the forefront of ethical elephant tourism in Thailand and throughout Asia, which is seeing a growing demand for elephant camps to transition from elephant riding to a sanctuary model as promoted by Save Elephant Foundation & Asian Elephant Projects Saddle Off programs.
We offer tours that provide insights into the nature and importance of these majestic giants, with a unique opportunity to feed elephants, walk with them, and observe them as they forage, socialise, and play in their fabulous purpose built pool.
The elephants in our care have previously endured a hard life working long hours for tourist’s entertainment or in the logging industry; a stark contrast to the dignified, peaceful lives they now enjoy. The goal of Samui Elephant Sanctuary is to provide a happy home in nature for the herd where they are free to express their natural instincts and receive the care and respect they deserve.
From Samui Elephant Sanctuary
‘We are very proud to bring the first truly ethical elephant sanctuary to Koh Samui in Southern Thailand. We offer a retirement home for elephants who have worked exhausting hours in the logging and tourism industries. Feed, walk with, and observe our gentle giants as they roam, socialise, bathe and enjoy a peaceful life that they so deserve. Join our morning or afternoon program knowing you are supporting ethical elephant tourism and helping to make a difference to lives of elephants
SAENGDUEAN LEK CHAILERT
Founder, Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation
Lek was born in the small hill tribe village of Baan Lao, two hours north of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Her grandfather was a traditional healer, or shaman, and not only treated the people in his community, but would help heal the sick or injured animals that villagers would bring to him. Lek’s grandfather sought to impart his knowledge of the plant and animal kingdom to Lek, which she gratefully received. Lek realised that all animals strive to be safe and happy and consequently became determined to spend her life saving animals. With a love and respect for her country’s national symbol, and the knowledge that they were becoming endangered, Lek began advocating for the rights and welfare of Asian elephants in Thailand, founding Elephant Nature Park and Save Elephant Foundation.
In an industry steeped in tradition, advocating for both captive and wild Asian elephants has not been an easy battle. However, with hard work and determination, her voice is now internationally recognised and in addition to being featured in several documentaries produced by National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet and the BBC, Lek has also won many honorary awards.
In 2001, Lek was named the Ford Foundation’s “Hero of the Planet”. The National Geographic documentary Vanishing Giants highlights Lek’s work with the Asian elephant and she was recognized by the Humane Society of the United States with the Genesis Award in 2003. In 2005, Lek was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of Asia for her work in conservation. Lek has also earned honorary degrees from Rajabhat Chiang Mai University. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton invited Lek to Washington DC in 2010 to honor her as one of six Women Heroes of Global Conservation.
Today, Lek continues to be at the forefront of elephant and other animal rights causes, raising international awareness and encouraging other countries in the region to follow her lead, as well as helping to provide sustainable alternatives for local villages. Most days, she can be found at Elephant Nature Park spending time with her rescued herd.
WHY WE DO NOT OFFER BATHING OR MUD BATHING WITH OUR ELEPHANTS
Elephants love to socialise and bathe, either on their own, or with other elephants. To do this, they need space to splash, roll around, submerge themselves, and coat their bodies in lovely thick mud. If people are in the water crowding around the elephants, it is stressful for them and also inhibits their natural behaviour. Elephants are highly empathetic animals and when people are near them during these times, they are forced to modify their behaviour to avoid accidentally hurting them.
We want our elephants to enjoy their day as much as our guests, so by limiting human interaction, our elephants get to play with carefree abandon – letting elephants simply be elephants – which is fascinating to observe and provides some amazing photo and video opportunities.
However, we do offer a feeding program as we understand how incredible it is to be up close to an elephant.
Morning and Afternoon Program
Our half day programs offer a memorable experience spending time with our beautiful herd in a natural setting. To be in the presence of elephants is breathtaking and we are sure that your day at Samui Elephant Sanctuary will leave you deeply moved. Join us to witness just how incredible the largest land animal on earth truly is.
To book your time with these magnificent creatures visit our experience pages and pre book your trip to avoid the crowds and take your excursion to the next level!
If you can only dream up scenes of sunbathing, overwater bungalows, and fancy cocktails when you think of the Maldives, you are greatly mistaken. It is practically impossible to hear or see the word Maldives without conjuring up visions of the clear, turquoise waters and powdered-sugar sand beaches. But it’s not just the rest, relaxation, […]
Embark on a 45-minute submarine excursion in Maldives into the underwater world, 100 feet beneath the ocean, in the comfort of an air-conditioned Whale Submarine Maldives. The certified crew of the Whale Submarine in Maldives will make sure that this submarine excursion in Maldives tour into the mysterious depths of the Indian Ocean, making sure […]