Review: Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang

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!


A Day Out at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang with our kids

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.

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang is a good place to see rescued elephants

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.

Activities at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang

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.

Adult Elephants bathing at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang

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.

Getting there

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.

Contact Detail

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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20 Comments on “Review: Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Pahang

  1. I wish had something like that here. This will help the kids enjoy nature more, definitely!

  2. The last time I saw an elephant up close was in a zoo when I was 7 years old, I think. We were supposed to see a herd during a Safari in Livingstone, Zambia but it wasn’t that right time of the year. They already crossed the Zambezi River and were to faraway for us to appreciate. This elephant sanctuary looks awesome!

  3. I recently read an interesting article about the elephants. It was saying that within some odd number of years elephants will be extinct. So, i’m really glad to see something like this. I love learning and I wish we had something like that here in Florida. Not a zoo with a variety of animals but something dedicated to one specific animal. I enjoyed reading this and I loved the pictures.

  4. I would like to visit an elephant sanctuary where the animals are treated well. If it’s near Singapore, I could have visited this when I last went to Singapore. Maybe next time. :-)

  5. This is definitely worth the semi long drive. It would be a nice experience to visit the elephant sanctuary. I would have been thrilled to be here. I’d visit this the next time I travel to Malaysia.

  6. looks like a good place to visit for animal/elephant lovers! is there any kind of guided tour there from KL, or is a road trip the only choice?

    • Hi Mia, yes there are; such as this from Kuala Lumpur Travel Tour. However we’ve not received any reviews of these tours from our community – if you do use a tour company for a day trip, please let us know about it! We are sure many in our community would love to know!

      Our families @

  7. Thank you for this recommendation. Never would have expected to see elephants in Malaysia. Are they endemic to the country or were these elephants just brought in for this park?

    • HI Fred, yes they are, though their population in the wild is getting smaller. We are glad you brought up this question – elephants, while endemic to South East Asia and most particularly whole land mass that makes up Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia etc, are NOT endemic in many of islands, such as Koh Samui, Phuket, etc, to name a few. It is always wise to do some research before visiting eco-attractions, because some are probably more worthwhile than others.

      Happy travels from all of us at KidsOnBoard!

  8. what a great little place, I am pleased to hear they are being looking after well in the environment. My mum would love to visit this sanctuary if we are eer in the area.

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  10. Recently visited Elephant Sanctuary kuala lumpur with my wife and children. We had booked this tour with Go Tourister. Our Driver and guide was on time to pick us up from our Hotel. On our way to the Elephant Sanctuary kuala lumpur we hvisited Batu cave Temple. It was a great journey from Hotel to Elephant Sanctuary. It was 2 hrs Journey and we enjoyed the beautiful view on our way. My children’s enjoyed a lot with the elephants. Baby elephant was very cute. We even took the elephant for bath. Overall Our Tour was really awesome and I would like to Thank for showing making our journey this best.

  11. Hi there, for those who wishes to visit the elephant santuary at kuala gandah and needs a luxury or budget transportation from the Klia airport or from any airport or from KL city , i am providing the transportation and also i can arrange for the accomodation depending on your choices. Call or whatsapp me at +60 196305920. Tq.

  12. Hi! My 2yo is really into elephants lately. This sounds like an amazing idea of an activity. Is there a minimum age for bathing the baby elephant? Would it be advisable to travel with toddlers below 2yo?

    Also, any good reccomendation for lunch along the way / around the area? If we plan to go, we’ll be traveling from KL and would like to arrive at 1pm as done by the author here

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