Walking with Elephants: Kanchanaburi, Thailand


One of the top attractions that many wish to do while visiting Thailand is to ride an elephant. These gentle giants are incredibly smart and emotional beings that are definitely worth visiting. However, there is a present threat to these endangered animals that many are not aware of.

Because tourism is a high source of profit, riding elephants at “trekking camps” are more popular than ever. Tourists just want to check it off their bucket-list; not really knowing the harm it brings to these animals. These camps overwork the elephants for long hours each day and are not properly nourished.

Although elephants are strong, especially their necks and trunks, they have a weak back and are not meant to support more than 100kg. Ironically, in the trekking camps the elephants are forced to carry a heavy seat along with several passengers on their back. This sad reality can change one’s outlook on riding an elephant, as it did for me.

Fortunately, there are places where the animals are protected, taken care of and where you can come up close and interact with them in their natural environment. I had the opportunity to volunteer at Elephants World, a non-profit organization and a sanctuary, “a retirement home” for sick, old, disabled, abused and rescued elephants.

As a volunteer, you have the chance to gather and plant food for them, prepare their meal, feed them, bathe them, and watch them interact with other elephants. At Elephant World their motto is, ‘we work for the elephants, the elephants do not work for us.’

So I encourage you to not ride an elephant, but to walk with them, to feed them, bathe them and understand these magnificent animals better.




4 thoughts on “Walking with Elephants: Kanchanaburi, Thailand

  1. I love this helping out animals and understanding there health n outcome of there lifespan. I hope what u had post would spread the news to everyone about the life of a elephant and other speices. Taking pictures with lions being drug just to interact with them and taking selfies and not knowing what harm they are doing to them very sad. Humans are selfish only thinks what make them happy,not caring outcome of they doing to other heart beats. And riding elephant just to have enjoyment time thinking it’s OK just to satisfy them self. I would love to volunteer with animals organization. Helping out the elephants. I love animals and I love to brake down every company that use animals for work til death.


    • Thank you for reading. I do hope that sharing this information can allow those that are not aware to understand this issue better, and in turn research places and how they treat animals before going. I encourage you to volunteer, it is very rewarding. There are always many ways to volunteer with animals, wether it is across the world or in your local community.


  2. Thanks for these lovely photos and great narration.Are you the one in these photos touching lovely and even feeding the elephants ? If it is so …I think you are really bold. No doubt Elephants are majestic creatures of God and can understand the emotions but standing next to them that too as a stranger….my God …one must be really courageous .


    • Thank you for reading! Yes, I am the one in the pictures. Honestly, courage was not the main factor of this experience, learning was. I do agree that when interacting with animals it is important to stay safe. That’s why I spoke with the people that work closely with the elephants to listen to all the safety tips before approaching them. Being up close and interacting with them was truly an unforgettable experience.


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