10 amazing animal sanctuaries in Thailand

Stock photo via Elephant Nature Park

Ethical tourism is on the rise across the world, and Thailand is making sure it is a pioneer of such experiences. From elephant havens to gibbon rehabilitation centres, the Kingdom has made amazing efforts to help such animals who are marginalised. Moreover, upon visiting one of these sanctuaries, visitors can feel a sense of hope when seeing how these animals are being treated. Thus, one can only feel a warm heart after donating your time to animals rescued or in need.

Thailand’s Top 10 Amazing Animal Sanctuaries

1. Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai

This nature park is primarily focused on elephant rescue and rehabilitation. And, its location is that of beautiful, mountainous terrain. However, the sanctuary also helps dogs, cats, buffaloes, birds and other animals in need. Such animals are typically rescued from a life of hard labour from tourist shows and other unethical work. Visitors here can get close to the elephants when feeding and bathing them, as well as just observing them in a happy environment. Elephant Nature Park also offers a ‘Saddle Off!’ programme in Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia where you can visit different villages and walk with elephants.

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Elephant Nature Park

Opening hours: 07.00 – 17.00 Daily

Pricing: Adults starting from, 2,500 baht – Children starting from, 1,250 baht

Address: 1 Ratmakka Road, Phra Sing, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

2. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Phuket

As gibbons faced the sad plight of extinction 40 years ago in Phuket’s rainforests, this project aims to return them to the wild. Moreover, their goals have been successful with about 50 gibbons being returned to their original homelands, where they can enjoy a life without fear. The operation has saved hundreds of gibbons from unsolicited photo-prop businesses, with some found abandoned in zoos and abused. Visitors here can volunteer to help take care of the gibbons or make a donation towards the centre’s efforts.

Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Phuket
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Phuket

Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Closed: Other days 09.00 – 12.00

Pricing: per person 4,500 baht

Address: 104/3 Moo 3, Paklock, Talang, Phuket 83100, Thailand

3. Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), Petchaburi

This NGO was founded in 2001 and aims at rescuing captive wild animals and those who are unfortunately part of the illegal animal trade. Since founded in 2001, WFFT has been a non-governmental organisation aimed at rescuing and rehabilitating captive wild animals while also advocating against the illegal animal trade in Thailand. Moreover, the foundation has sheltered over 1,000 wild animals, while releasing rehabilitated ones back into the wild. Such animals were rescued from poor living conditions and illegal wildlife trafficking. Visitors here can opt for a half-day experience or a full day. The centre allows such visits, but they must be hands-off to protect the animals.

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Wildlife Friends Foundation

Opening Hours: 08.00 – 17.00 Daily

Pricing: Adults starting from 1,100 baht – Children starting from 700 baht

Address: Moo 6, Tambon Thamairuak, Amphoe Thayang, 76130 Petchaburi, Thailand

4. Lanta Animal Welfare, Koh Lanta

This centre focuses on taking care of suffering animals on the island of Koh Lanta. Moreover, it has helped an impressive 15,000 stray animals with their sterilisation and treatment programmes. As it is open to visitors year-round, the centre relies on donations and volunteers. Such experiences as cuddling with cats and taking the rescued dogs for a walk can have visitors leave with a warm heart. There is no time limit and you can spend as long as you would like helping and socialising with the animals. You may even find an animal that you just can’t live without, which you can adopt and give them a new life.

Backpacking? It's a dog's life! Volunteering with Lanta Animal Welfare in Koh Lanta, Thailand - South East Asia Backpacker
Lanta Animal Welfare

Opening hours: 10.30 – 11.30 and 13.30 – 14.30 Daily, Closed Sunday

Pricing: Adults 250 baht – Children 150 baht

Address: 629 Moo 2, Saladan, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Thailand

5. Elephants World, Kanchanaburi

Nestled in Kanchanaburi, Elephants World is a sanctuary where elephants find solace. Rescued from exploitation, these majestic creatures roam freely, receiving love and care from dedicated mahouts. Visitors witness a transformative experience, actively participating in feeding and bathing elephants, fostering a deep connection. Elephants World transcends tourism, focusing on rehabilitation and preservation, creating a haven for these gentle giants to thrive in a natural environment, reminding us of the importance of compassionate conservation efforts.

10 amazing animal sanctuaries in Thailand | News by Thaiger
Image via Elephantworld

Opening hours: 09.00 – 16.00 Daily

Pricing: Adults starting from 1800 baht – Children starting from 1300 baht

Address: 90, 9, Wang Dong, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71190

6. Rescue Paws, Hua Hin

This somewhat newer organisation focuses on reducing the stray dog and cat population in the beach town of Hua Hin. Such efforts include sterilisation, education, and medical care. Furthermore, if you want to visit the organisation, you can take part in a day visit where you can find out more about the projects and spend time walking dogs on the beach. Moreover, you can sign up to volunteer or adopt one of these furry friends.

10 amazing animal sanctuaries in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Opening hours: 08.30 – 16.30 Daily, Closed Weekends

Pricing: Adults 2600 baht – Children 1300 baht

Address: 65 Khao Tao Temple, Nong Kae, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand

7. Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES), Sukhothai

BLES is dedicated to protecting elephants by rescuing them from abuse and extinction. The owner was inspired to start the sanctuary after rescuing a baby elephant named Boon Lott, which suffered from extreme abuse. Hence, the sanctuary was named after the elephant, which means ‘survivor’ in English. The sanctuary’s core belief is that elephants should live in dignity and respect in their natural environment.

Thus, with over 600 acres of forest land, the elephants have access to wide-roaming grasslands, fresh-water rivers, and many types of fruit trees. Just visiting the sanctuary can provide a beautiful experience while helping these majestic animals. Furthermore, the sanctuary also takes other animals into their care, such as cats, monkeys, dogs, bears, crocodiles and turtles. Visiting the sanctuary requires visitors to stay for a week, however, occasional exceptions can be made.

10 amazing animal sanctuaries in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Opening hours: 24/7

Pricing: Adults 7000 baht a day – Children 3500 baht a day

Address: 304 Mu 5, Baan Na Ton Jan, Tambon Baan Tuek, Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai 64130, Thailand

8. Krabi Elephant Sanctuary, Krabi

As Krabi province’s first ethical elephant tourism attraction, the sanctuary provides a haven for abused elephants from the logging and tourism industry. Here, visitors can go on half-day visits and interact with the free-roaming elephants. Moreover, you can also feed them and give them a mud treatment if you want. Afterwards, you can join them in a river pond for a relaxing bath, while helping bathe and brush them. Thus, helping these elephants is a great experience to see them interact in their new homes while getting a bit more educated about their plights.

10 amazing animal sanctuaries in Thailand | News by Thaiger
Image via Amanda Yates

Opening hours: 07.00 – 18.00 Daily

Pricing: Adults 2500 baht – Children 2000 baht

Address: 83/13 Ao Luek Tai, Ao Luek District, Krabi 81110, Thailand

9. Samui Elephant Haven

This haven is set on the tropical island of Koh Samui. With a beautiful land for roaming, it is a great experience to see how these elephants have been rescued and transformed from a life of hard labour. The founder, Maew Suriya, ensures that the rescued elephants can enjoy a natural environment with plenty of play and interaction. The property features native plants and various pools for the elephants to enjoy. Visitors can feed, pet, and learn about elephants while engaging in ethical tourism. Moreover, a few other animals can be seen here, such as chickens, dogs, and cows.

Samui Elephant Sanctuary – Bophut, Koh Samui
Samui Elephant Haven

Opening hours: 09.00 – 17.00 Daily

Pricing: Adult 3000 baht – Children 1500 baht

Address: 137/31 Koh Samui Surat Thani 84320

10. Into the Wild

Established in 2016, Into the Wild Elephant Camp is an ethical elephant camp in the southern part of Chiang Mai. Their main mission is to give retired and rescued elephants a home that is safe and sustainable in which there is plenty of space for them to roam and live as naturally as possible. Located in Chiang Mai’s Mae Wang District, their ethical and sustainable camp is surrounded by lush tropical jungle where the elephants can go foraging for food and enjoy bathing in the river that flows through the camp all at their own wants.

10 amazing animal sanctuaries in Thailand | News by Thaiger
Image via Backpackers Wanderlust

Opening hours: 08.00 – 22.00 Daily

Pricing: Adult 1700 baht – Children 1200 baht

Address: 52/1-2 Changhuak Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200

These sanctuaries are great for those who are animal lovers and those who want to take part in changing the plight of abused wildlife. Thus, when visiting these sanctuaries, just donating your time is often highly appreciated as is a donation. One thing’s for sure, those who work at such sanctuaries are spending long hours to help change the future of such animals. Many holidaymakers choose to take part in ethical animal tourism, as they say, it makes them feel good to give a helping hand while experiencing Thailand.

If you love animals very much, you will be happy to know that there are still more places where you will have a chance to see them. You can find them here in this list of zoos and safari parks here!

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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