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Elephant Trekking Koh Chang – Companies and Prices

Elephant trekking in Koh Chang is possible at 5 separate camps located either roadside or inland in Klong Son, Klong Prao and Kai Bae Beach on the west coast.

Our guide covers both how the camps work here on the island as well as the obvious ethical issues. We leave it up to you as to whether you should or shouldn’t visit them.

Koh Chang Set-Up | Ethical Issues | Koh Chang Camps

The Koh Chang Set Up

These camps, which house 8 to 10 animals each, offer sessions of either 1 hour, 500bt per person or 2 hours, 900bt per person. For the 1 hour session, you ride in a chair on the elephant’s back over a short trek through the jungle and forest. The 2 hour session starts with this before heading to a local river, where you can swim with the animal.

Children under 10 are 250bt and 450bt respectively, under 3 are free. At certain times of year, if not busy, it may be possible to just swim with the elephant, cost at 500bt per person. Water, fruit and a drink are also provided.

Times are standard across the camps at 09.00, 11.00, 13.00 and 15.00. Transfers from your resort are included, provided the resort is not beyond Bailan Beach and not down the east coast. Times for collection range from 10 minutes to an hour before the above times depending on resort location. They drop you back afterwards.

The Ethical Issues

The Koh Chang elephant trekking camps are not elephant sanctuaries as you can find down in Petchaburi at Elephant Refuge or up in Chiang Mai at Elephant Nature Park.

At those spots, the huge amount of land allows the animals to roam freely and the focus is on rehabilitation and visitor education. Koh Chang simply does not have the space for that, so you might describe the island’s camps as much scaled back versions of Elephants World near Kanchanaburi – see the tripadvisor reviews on these places to get the fuller picture.

How the Elephants are Kept on Koh Chang

On Koh Chang, the elephants are undoubtedly well kept and looked after but the reality is these are animals are working for you. To enable that work to happen safely, the camps use several procedures which are often highlighted as prime examples of the camps’ unethicality.

  • Firstly, the elephants are chained on one ankle whilst standing about in camp to prevent them from dangerously wandering off.
  • Secondly, during the rides, the tourist sits in a wooden seat attached to the animal’s back.
  • Thirdly, the mahouts do use elephant goads (bullhooks) to control the animals.

The Other Side of the Coin

The flipside to the above is were the elephants not working, it is highly questionable they would in fact still be alive. There is no magic solution whereby the animals can be shifted off en masse to sanctuaries – as far from ideal as the existing set-up is, it does, at the very least, provide the elephants a home at which they are fed and cared for.

Similarly, visiting the camps allows you to see these magnificent beasts up close, which can be a hugely positive experience for both children and adults alike. Indeed, this proximity to the elephants, in turn, may foster an understanding which guides the individual’s future thinking to a much more conservational approach.

Koh Chang Elephant Trekking Camps

If you do wish to visit, please do get in contact and we will put everything in place for you. We only use our trusted recommendation, Klong Son Elephant Camp. In your enquiry, please state the date, preferred time (with 2nd time as an alternative), number of people, adults and/or children, resort name. Payment is direct on the day in THB cash only.

elephant and mahout ban kwan chang koh chang

Klong Son Elephant Camp

Klong Son near the waterfall

Located just before the end of the inland road, a very natural feeling camp with 10 elephants – former workers and entertainers, now retired. Treks are into the nearby forest, with about 45 minutes aboard, 30 minutes for the bathing if you take the 2 hour option. Associated with the Asian Elephant Foundation.

elephant camp chang chutiman koh chang

Chang Chutiman

Klong Prao

Down a long, muddy track deep into the valley at Klong Prao, another nice natural and isolated camp. Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation (FAE), with treks through the fields, orchards and rubber trees and swimming in the river. Cafe on site.

elephant and mahout ban konn chang koh chang

Ban Kon Chang

Klong Plu Waterfall, Klong Prao

Small, friendly camp at the start of the road to the main Klong Plu Waterfall, Treks up the hill into the the nearby forest and swimming in the lake and river. Washing the elephants at end of session too.

elephant mahout camp koh chang

Ban Camp Chang

Klong Prao, southern end opp. Tropicana Resort

Located just back from the road with treks into the interior area behind the camp and swimming in the river along the way. Long established, with elephants visible from the road.

elephant tourists kaibae meechai elephant camp koh chang

Kaibae Meechai Elephant Camp

Kai Bae, behind 7/11,southern end

Small friendly camp on the back road leading to the interior and treks in the forest round and about Kai Bae. Friendly mahouts, lots of chance to get up close. Normally take their baby elephants to the beach in the evenings, swimming possible at 400bt per adult, 200bt per child.

elephants trekking ban chang thai koh chang

Ban Chang Thai

Klong Prao, northern end

CLOSED – not returning.

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