by Lena de Leon
Join the “Dawn Patrol” at Pattaya Elephant Village!
Elephants are so deeply ingrained in Thailand’s culture and history, that they are considered to be the country’s national symbol.
At a certain point in history, the magnificent animals even graced Thailand’s own national flag. Stables of beautiful Royal White Elephants used to be kept for the personal use of Thai Kings and have even been used in military combats.
In more recent times, Elephants were used for heavy jungle work, this has involved primarily tree clearing within the logging industry, in the absence of heavy machinery. As unlawful logging became illegal many elephants & their mahout owners were forced to beg an existance on the streets of the Major Cities of Thailand.
The Pattaya Elephant Village was founded for the very reason of offering these giant pachyderms a home. The sanctuary, located on Phonpraphanimit Road in Pattaya, was opened in 1973 as a safe haven for elephants that were unable to work anymore.
These elephants could not safely be returned to the wild due to complete de-forestation, and the village became a kind of “retirement” home for these weary & old animals.
The entrance fees charged by the village go directly towards the care of its elephant residents. Feeding these gigantic animals is not cheap, as they require on average 200 kilograms of food each day!.
A day tour of the Pattaya Elephant Village offers a unique experience, as they educate visitors about the elephants’ behaviors and their role in Thai culture. Taking a quick ride on an elephant is highly recommended. You can also try feeding them with bananas that are readily available for a price.
The village also stages elephant shows for the visitors’ entertainment. These shows are normally about how elephants are caught in the wild, how elephants work in the jungle, a parade of elephants and elephants playing football (which is great fun to watch).
The highlight of the show is a drum ceremony that involves a warelephant called “Glong Sabad Chai”.
Aside from the elephant shows, there are many other activities in the Pattaya Elephant Village.
Visitors may also try different types of trekking, either with elephants or other modes of transportation.
You can also opt to go rafting. You may watch other shows like Muay Thai Boxing ,Thai dancing or sword fighting.
There is certainly something in the village that a whole family will be able to enjoy!.