Wednesday, November 20th 2019

Why you should never go to elephant shows or camps in Thailand

What is wrong in going to elephant shows or take elephant treks?

If you go to Thailand one of the main attractions are elephant shows and elephant camps. Tourists visit them to play with animals or watch elephants dancing, painting and doing other unnatural. They can also have an elephant ride or trek. There are plenty of elephant camps in the Northern Thailand. Some friends asked us if we had had an elephant ride. We did not plan to have one. I saw some pictures of elephants doing tricks and it made me feel uneasy about all this “elephant business”. I don’t like all this animal circus since my childhood.

Elephant camp Inthanon Thailand 01

After we came across an elephant camp during our trip to the Doi Inthanon I had even stronger doubts about elephant entertainments. The camp is located right next to the road we were taking to Chiang Mai and were surprised to see the animals. We stopped to have a look at them but we did not pay any money for that. The elephants were about to have their evening food. Of course, it was nice to see these big animals so close and play with a baby elephant.  But the animals did not look really fine. There was something strange in their behavior.  The people taking care of them seemed not to treat the elephants in a good way. One guy was jumping and hitting a small elephant on the head (see video below – a man in the background with a young elephant).

YouTube Direkt

It looked as if they were playing but it made me think that most probably the elephants are not treated well. All of them were chained and they were moving from side to side like dancing. I remembered seeing somewhere that animals behave like this in cages when they are going “crazy” in captivity. This looked looked very similar. After a while we left and I did not think about it anymore.

Not long ago I came across an article about Baby elephant tortured into submission before illegal smuggling from Burma to Thailand. In the picture below taken from this article you can see that a baby elephant is being severely beaten by mahouts. 

elephant torture burma


Yes, it is the same baby elephant that will soon become an “actor” in thrilling pictures for hundreds or thousands of tourists. They will be sincerely happy to play with a baby elephant, hug it, caress it and get great pictures to show to their family and friends back home. But these people don’t think that such behavior is very unnatural for animals. This and other tricks are not performed by wild animals. It means these elephants were trained to behave abnormally, trained into submission as they don’t dare to reject anything people want to do with them.

The article made me search more on the subject. I found more about tortures of animals used to break their free spirit and program them into full submission and obedience. The video below uncovers some of the terrible truth about “elephant business” in Thailand.

YouTube Direkt


So what is wrong in attending elephant shows and taking elephant treks?

I believe any smart person understands that when people pay money for this kind of entertainment they pay money to the people who torture animals. And the more people are paying the more animals will suffer as the increased demand will cause more young elephants be captured and ruthlessly trained into obedient “circus” animals.

I do hope you agree with me and smart enough to over come your desire to play with a small cute baby elephant in order to avoid supporting this bloody practices.

Please share it with your friends if you agree!


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8 Comments on “Why you should never go to elephant shows or camps in Thailand”

  1. I think that death penalty should be extended to those local elephant businessmen.

    1. Agree, there must be some kind of punishment for this. Unfortunately locally police is also involved.

  2. Alex, am really happy you shared this experience. I keep telling everybody who comes here to never take an elephant ride for exact same reasons. But its hard for most to resist such exotic temptation. Very sad indeed.
    The swinging – dancing motion is a sign of depressed animal. They have lack of movement (chained) and in nature they are used to walk hundred kilometers. They need to move so dancing is last weak cry for movement.

    1. I did not really know the details, but I felt there must be something wrong with all these elephant dancing, painting and so on. Some time ago I also read about the Tiger Kingdom, how tigers are mistreated by monks. All this makes me never pay for such questionable entertainments.

  3. Being in India in the temple of Rameshwaram, we happened to see how a temple elephant got beaten up as he had to ly down in order to get washed. The poor animal was screaming. We saw other temple elephantd showing the same behaviour (dancing movements and generally scared) as described above. Apparently buying these elephants for the temple is illegal, but not if they are received as a present, so that ‘s one way go go around the law.

    1. I know, Susanna. These are the terrible practices which take places in many countries. What we can do is not support this kind of things.

  4. Very well thought and written Guys! Seriously, leave the poor animals alone!

    1. Thank you, Ali. I think as well we should leave the animals alone!

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