Elephant Hills Safari Camps are a wonderful totally natural experience .
The Elephant Hills Safari Lodge is easily accessible from Phuket or Khao Lak, a 2 to 3 hour transfer from most hotels. Khao Sok is the largest rainforest in southern Thailand. Dense jungle, Mangrove Rivers and lakes, limestone peaks, the area is incredibly dramatic. This is a true eco-experience offering you the opportunity to get up close and personal with elephants – washing them and learning their habits, as well as enjoying jungle walks and canoeing.
The main camp offers 66 tents, each with shower and toilet, simple but totally in-tune with the natural surroundings. Within the Lodge you have a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.
Further into the jungle you have the unique Rainforest Floating Camp, just 20 tents positioned on the very edge of Cheow Lam Lake ( See main image ). The journey between the 2 camps is an experience in itself , with the last hour completed by longtail boat . Each tent has shower and toilet and there is a restaurant within the camp. The Main camp can be visited as a two day (one night ) tour. The Floating camp is arranged on a three day (2 night tour) or can be visited as part of a three day tour.
For ethical reasons, elephant riding is not arranged, a stance that has now been followed by other camps in the north of the country. But the up close and personal experience is much more rewarding, and is pleasurable rather than painful to the elephants.
Within both camps you have a restaurant
Swimming pool at Elephant camp , lake swimming at Floating resort
A Jungle Bar
There are essentially three touring options. See below for detailed itineraries. Additional tours can be requested.
Elephant Hills Safari is delightfully simple, in every aspect. You will need to be comfortable with nature, and view a ‘creepy crawly’ with fascination and curiosity, rather than life threatening trepidation! Both accommodation options are wonderfully authentic simple (and comfortable), but that just adds to the feeling of being close to nature. It is luxurious but as a totally unique experience rather than just judging the tented accommodation, good as they are.
Note – Although not essential, we do suggest some precaution against malaria. You must have personal travel insurance. It is not suggested for children under 7 years, those with mobility issues, or if you suffer from ill health.
The price guides include transportation from and to your main resort (might be shared transfer with other guests), all meals, elephant bathing, jungle walks and canoe trip as shown below. Please note all activities depend on local conditions and may be subject to change. Private transfers from your resorts in Khao Lak, Phuket and even Krabi can be arranged on request.
The total camp is open year round. November to April are the most popular months, and are slightly more expensive. May to October can see some increased rain and humidity.
2 days | 1 night – Jungle Safari
Day One: Transfer from airport or hotel mid morning. If you are flying into Phuket you will need to arrive before 08.30 generally.
Arrive at Elephant Hills, buffet lunch and explanation of the camp. In the afternoon jungle river canoe with experienced guide. Usually you will see hornbill birds, or jungle reptiles lazing by the river bank, as you pass limestone mountains and cliffs. From your canoe you can see some of the last areas of primary rainforest.
Return to base and head over to the elephant sanctuary. Here you can see, touch, and learn about the life of Thai elephants. You get the chance to interact with them. You will prepare food for them, then watch them bathe before you scrub and wash them clean.
Dinner at the camp, before retiring to your comfortable tent, with en-suite shower.
Day Two: Wake up to the sounds of nature, with the distinctive morning call of the gibbons. After breakfast commence a jungle trek, with experienced guide of course. It is not an arduous survival exercise, but a wonderful opportunity to explore the ecology of one of the world’s oldest tropical forests. Walk slowly, look, learn and listen. Each day is different, but normally you will see hornbills, gibbons, macaque or small leaf monkeys.
Lunch either in the jungle or return to base camp.
Depart early afternoon to your chosen resort hotel or Phuket Airport.
The tour will be a taster -teaser of the experience, ideal for those with limited time or unsure if time in the jungle is really for them.
Price guide from £388 per person as extension from Phuket or Khao Lak .
3 days | 2 nights – Jungle Safari with visit Cheow Lan Lake and Rainforest Floating Camp
Day One: As above.
Day Two: Depart base camp by long-tail boat to Cheow Lan Lake. The scenery has been compared to Guilin in China or Halong Bay in Vietnam. Visit a local market in Takhun to experience totally authentic rural life. Lunch at the Rainforest camp, with self paddle canoes available to explore the lake.
Return to base camp late afternoon for dinner.
Day Three: Morning Jungle Trek – (as day 2 of itinerary above).
One of our most popular tours, particularly those with children.
Price guide from £538 per person
3 days | 2 nights – with a night at both Elephant Camp and Rainforest Floating Camp
Day One: (As above).
Day Two: Explore Cheow Lan lake by longtail boat. Arrive at the floating Rainforest Camp for lunch and check into your luxury tent with en suite shower. Relax by the lake side with optional swimming or self peddle canoe.
Mid afternoon take an escorted walk deep into the jungle. Slightly more challenging than the trek mentioned above as some of the paths are steep and can be slippery. But the experience is unique and totally memorable.
Return to your floating camp for a well earned shower before dinner.
Day Three: Breakfast of course, followed by a guided canoe safari into the little channels and side arms of the lake. You will find yourself in the heart of the forest. Return to camp for lunch and then continue by boat or road depending on conditions, and from there transfer to your beach resort or Krabi or Phuket Airport.
Fantastic, an incredible twin experience.
Price guide from £668 per person
Just as a suggestion , we think 5 nights at the Devasom Khao Lak followed by the 3 day combination of Tented camp and Floating Lodge , and then end with 5 nights at Tubkaak in Krabi . Prices will start from £2248 per person , including air travel .
Both David and Marie-Helene ( MH ) from Chic have personally stayed at Elephant Hills and would be delighted to share their experiences with you .
” Just amazing . One of my best ever travel experiences . It was so well organised , yet at the same time adventurous . Loved everything about it . Exceeded expectations at every turn , including the food . The zip-up tents are well equipped with en-suite showers and toilets , and the setting , particularly the floating camp , unique ” — Marie -Helene .
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