Close to the banks of the Nam Khan River, the Elephant Village Sanctuary (also known as the Elephant Park Project) works towards providing a peaceful future for rescued Lao elephants. Starting by saving the elephants from often brutal logging work, they are then given a home in the jungle where they can rest and recover. Some of the elephants at the sanctuary are disabled and are offered a chance of rehabilitation with an onsite fulltime vet to help those in need.
The village is located in a lush river valley which is on a long government lease so long as the sanctuary opens its doors for tourists to see the programmer. Excursions are offered through Tiger Trail Outdoor Adventures and include elephant riding and a mahout experience with anything from a half-day to a two-day tour. Whatever trip you book will go towards ensuring the existence of this sanctuary benefiting both animals and the 40 staff employed from the local villages that would otherwise be most likely without work.
One-of-a-kind elephant riding experience
The Elephant Village Sanctuary offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to get really up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. A one-day mahout tour includes basic mahout training in how to control an elephant, a one-hour elephant ride through the jungle and also a trip to the Tad Sae waterfall located close by. This experience can be extended into two days with the additional opportunity to bathe ‘your’ elephant in the Nam Khan River plus an evening ride to take the elephant to their jungle home. There is also a full day elephant excursion which includes trekking the ‘Train of Falls’ – the natural mountain stream that provides the water to the Tad Sae Waterfall.
If you’re feeling more energetic you can also combine your trip with a bike ride where you cycle from a forest temple through villages to the sanctuary before stopping by the waterfall, or with three hours kayaking downstream following your elephant ride. All tour programmes include lunch and refreshments plus accommodation where applicable.
Good to know
- Location: The Elephant Village Sanctuary is situated in the village of Xieng Lom 15km southeast of Luang Prabang close to the Nam Khan River.
- Remarks: Proceeds from your visit will help support the elephants (with nine rescued from logging work and given a new home at the park so far). The sanctuary is private with no support from any other organisations so it really does depend on the help of visitors to continue in operation and offer a similar happy future for more elephants.