Editor’s note: Are you a pachyderm fan? Just 2-hour from Kuala Lumper, an elephant sanctuary for rescued and orphaned elephants, the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang is within reach. J.Koh, a father of three based in Kuala Lumper, Malaysia, shares with us a tale of his afternoon adventures at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang – they had a splashing good time!
Do you know there’s an Elephant Sanctuary right in Malaysia (Pahang) that’s definitely worth your time? They don’t offer elephant rides here, and the animals are really well looked after.
Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang is located near the town of Lancang. It is about a 2-hour drive from Kuala Lumper, up the Karak Highway.
We visited on a weekday afternoon, along with our friends visiting from Japan. We reached the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary just after noon, and registered with the main building. Registration is free. The main “attraction” here is the baby elephant bathing activity, which is only limited to 100 persons per day. To do this, you will need to book a guide (RM50 for the guide per group, plus RM10 per adult and RM5 per child). The main activity starts at 2pm daily.
TIP: You can call to reserve your guide and spot for bathing the baby elephants. I did just that for our group of nine – four adults and five kids between our two families.
Kuala Gandah Elephant Sancutary works with rescued elephants and aim to release them back into the National parks. At 1pm and 1.30pm, they screened a short movie on the efforts of the centre and its ranger to help these rescued animals.
At 2pm, after the movie screening, we followed our guide into the sanctuary. He brought us to a platform by the river, where mahouts were bathing the adult elephants. This is not the bathing session guests get to join in.
After their bath, there’s a short presentation about the elephants, with each elephant showing us something small like how they lie down so their back can be treated, how they helped moved heavy object, how they reach for food in a tree etc. It is very different from tricks you see performed in other “sanctuaries”, where elephants are made to balance on a ball or tight ropes. We were glad – the elephants at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary looked happy and were not abused or trained to do silly tricks.
After the show, we had a chance to feed the adult elephants, with fruits prepared by the ranger. That afternoon, we were given papaya – you have to buy them at RM5 per pack.
Then came the highlight of the visit – bathing with the baby elephant. During our visit, they had two babies, and at any one time only 4 persons are allowed with them. We had to wait for our turn, but it was great fun. The handlers were very friendly and try to splash us too. Ten minutes went by all too quickly.
After everyone had their turn, the baby elephants are sent back. We stayed on in the cool river for another 15 minutes before heading to the (simple) bathroom to wash up and change into fresh cloths. Yes, please bring along a fresh set of cloths and towels, toiletries too if you’d like!
All in all, we like it and would recommend the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang to anyone interested knowing more about the elephants in South East Asia. The elephants are well taken care of and we loved our wildlife encounter with these gentle giants.
From KL – Follow the road signs towards Genting Highlands and continue down the E8 route. You will pass the town of Kampung Bukit Tinggi along the way and when you see the Lancang exit, turn off at the Plaza Toll exit towards the right. Look for signs towards Kuala Gandah. You will pass an Orang Asli village, Bolok, along the way. The sanctuary is right at the end of the road.
National Elephant Conservation Centre
Kuala Gandah, 28500 Lanchang, Pahang, Darul Makmur
Tel: +60 13 9790272
Fax: +60 9279 0398
We also passed signs to another park Deerland on the way; if anyone had been there before, please let us know more about it!
Editor’s note: Probably the nearest Elephant Sanctuary for visitors from Singapore as well – it is a “drivable” distance, and we just need someone to share with us how! 😉 If you have done the drive, please write and let us know how it goes! Or, have you visited another Elephant Sanctuary you’d be happy to recommend? Do leave us a comment or share a review with us – we’d love to hear from you.
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