Elephant Sanctuaries by Country in Asia – Non-elephant riding, abuse free sanctuaries

Tourists often have no idea what elephants have to go through in order for them to experience them on treks, rides, see them painting, begging on beaches or any other number of things that elephants naturally would not be doing. In order for elephants to perform including being ridden they have to be ‘broken’. Elephants are wild animals. I believe that if people really understood what they were contributing to when they participated in or supported any of these activities that they would not do it.

For elephants to be ridden or used in tourism in any way they go through a process called “phajaan” meaning ‘breaking an elephant’s spirit.” Elephants after all are wild animals. The process of phajaan is when a baby elephant is taken from its family and its mother and aunties are killed. They are put in crates, starved and beaten, its legs bound closely together so it can’t move, until its spirit is broken and the elephant can be forced into a life of labour. You can find more about this here,

We know a lot about elephants. Everybody understands that they are endangered both in Asia and in Africa and more than that that they are the equivalent of humans in emotional and social sophistication. Elephants, of course, lack the malice and cruelty of people. Increasingly people are becoming aware that elephants need to be supported as much as possible in the wild or in sanctuaries that allow them to live as close to a natural existence as possible.

The tourist trade is getting better, but still has a long way to go to direct people to sanctuaries….Many operations pose as ‘sanctuaries’ but in fact are not. This list was compiled by a friend of mine Leanne Fogarty who works who works tirelessly on behalf of Asian elephant captured in the tourist trade.  Please share this list with your friends and family.

Thanks, Tessa

List of Elephant Sanctuaries by Country


Elephant Sanctuary Cambodiahttp://www.saveelephant.org/elephant-sanctuary-cambodia/

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia is located inside the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.

Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuaryhttp://www.cambodiawildlifesanctuary.com

Provinces of Preah Vihear, Siem Reap and Odor Mean Chey

Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary is located inside Kulen-Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary.

Elephant Valley Projecthttp://www.elephantvalleyproject.org

Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Zoological Park & Rescue Centrehttp://www.phnomtamaozoo.com

Phnom Penh, Takeo

This is a zoo but the Elephant Rescue inside it has a very good reputation.


Wildlife SOShttp://www.wildlifesos.org

Agra, Uttar Pradesh

There is a Bear Sanctuary and Elephant Conservation & Care Center and they are situated side by side.

Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary –  http://www.orissatourism.org/wildlife-in-orissa/chandaka-elephant-reserve.html

Bhubaneswar, Odisha (formerly known as Orissa)

This sanctuary is actually a wildlife reserve.

Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centrehttp://www.wrrcbangalore.org

Bangalore, Karnataka


Elephant Conservation Centrehttp://www.elephantconservationcenter.com

Sayaboury City, Sayaboury


Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp – http://www.ghvelephant.com

Kalaw, Myanmar

They do allow “short” rides on the elephant, but best camp we know of in Myanmar.


National Trust for Nature Conservation’s Biodiversity Conservation Centre – http://www.ntnc.org.np

Baharatpur, Chitwan

Sri Lanka

Elephant Transit Homehttps://www.facebook.com/ElephantTransitHomeSriLanka

Udawalawe National Park, Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa” to front of name – my mistake.)

Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Societyhttp://www.slwcs.org

Udahamulla, Nugegoda

Elephant Freedom Project – http://www.elephantfreedomproject.com

Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa


Elephant Nature Parkhttp://www.saveelephant.org/elephant-nature-park/

Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai

The Surin Projecthttp://www.surinproject.org

Tha Tum, Surin

Erawan Elephant Retirement Parkhttp://www.saveelephant.org/erawan-elephant-retirement-park/

Kanchanaburi City, Kanchanaburi

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand’s Wildlife Rescue Centerhttp://www.wfft.org

Tha Mai Ruak, Petchaburi

Burm & Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary – http://www.bees-elesanctuary.org

Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai

Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospitalhttp://www.elephant-soraida.com

Lampang City, Lampang

Elephant’s Worldhttp://www.elephantsworld.org

Kanchanaburi City, Kanchanaburi

Elephant Hillshttp://www.elephant-hills.com

Phanom District, Surat Thani

Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuaryhttp://www.blesele.org

Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai

Usually booked out 6 months in advance and they only take 6 people per night.



Filed under Animal Activism, elephant supportive tourism, sanctuaries for elephants in asia

7 responses to “Elephant Sanctuaries by Country in Asia – Non-elephant riding, abuse free sanctuaries

  1. a friend of mine and her husband spent 5-6 days at the Surin Project sanctuary. It looked amazing! They got to hang out with the elephants, help out at the sanctuary, help care for the elephants. It is definitely great to promote a list of the places that are doing good work! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Dark Side of Animal Tourism in Thailand | Condofire

  3. Pingback: Thailand Day 2- The Dark Side of Elephant Tourism | Condofire

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