Exploration (2 overnights)
When you have arrived to the pier at Nam Tien Lake, we will transfer you to the center by boat. You might be able to catch a quick glimpse of one of our elephants while our boat docks. You will have some time to install yourself in your private bungalow before lunch is served. After enjoying a Laotian style meal, your guide will take you for a visit of the Center’s facilities and present our ongoing projects. During the hospital visit our veterinarian and biologist will take you into their world and explain about the projects they are undertaking. Through the visit of the only Elephant Hospital in Laos, you will discover the conservation actions implemented by The Elephant Conservation Center. You will then observe the elephants’ daily bath and learn more about our giant guests’ playful characters. Elephants are surprisingly good swimmers and love water. They also use this time to socialize.
After the elephants have washed themselves, you will meet our mahouts, who are the keepers of our elephants. Our guide will tell you a little about the background of each elephant. They have all worked hard before they came here. You will then have the opportunity to interact with the elephants with the mahouts at your side. Get a feel for the elephant’s amazing skin and prickly hair, and experience up close the dexterity of their trunk as you offer them some food. Feel free to take photos standing next to our giants!
While walking the elephants to their nightly resting ground you will witness the unique bond between the mahout and his elephant. Our experienced mahouts use vocal commands to steer the animals through the thick foliage. As you stroll together with these magnificent creatures into the dense forest of Nam Tien, take a moment! This is the REAL land of elephants! Your guide will give you some interesting information about the biodiversity of our protected forest. Before dinner, take some time to take in the surroundings from our viewpoint. You can also go for a swim in the lake or visit the museum. During meal time, feel free to ask your unresolved questions to the staff or share one of the Lao style cocktails!
On the second day you will meet up with the elephants in the forest. After spending the night grazing in the jungle it is time for another bath. Enjoy strolling together with these magnificent creatures in their natural environment.
When they have had their fill of water they are brought to the Socialization Area. This is an area where the elephants can freely interact during a big part of the day, recreating a semi-natural living environment. Here the elephants can enjoy being... elephants. Follow the guide around the perimeter to learn more about the elephants. Take your time on the different platforms to see how a new herd is being formed. This rare opportunity will bring you closer to their natural life, something which is very special about our program and difficult to find anywhere else in Laos.
Lunch is served at one of the viewing platforms. You have some time to let everything sink in. Following the forest picnic, you can see the resident mother and baby at the nursery. The mahout of the mother stays close by while she and her baby have a bath and play. The mother trusts him around her offspring and even lets him play with her a little bit. Afterwards, board our boat for a trip back to the center in time to see the afternoon bath. You will meet our veterinarian or biologist again as they will conduct a target training session. All our elephants are being trained using ‘positive reinforcement’ techniques to facilitate any necessary treatments. We offer you the chance to follow their work from a safe distance. Afterwards you can walk the elephant back to the forest.
On the third day, our guide and biologist will explain the enrichment activities. Enrichment is a dynamic process for enhancing animal environments within the context of the animal’s behavioral biology. We are providing cognitive enrichment in the form of hidden food, toys, a mud bath etc. to give the elephants mental stimulation and avoid boredom. They love it! We invite you to take part in this amazing experience by helping our team to prepare the socialization area: cut and hide the food, create elephant toys etc. to give the elephants a challenge. Once they arrive, you will have the opportunity to observe how the elephants interact with what you have created! This is a novel and unique way to interact with our elephants, contributing directly to their well-being. After Lunch at the restaurant you can take your time to pack your bags and say goodbye to the staff. Perhaps you would like to take in the scenery for one last time before we bring you back to Luang Prabang or the bus station to your next destination.
This programme starts before lunch on day 1 and ends after lunch on day 3. We will pick you up at our meeting point in Luang Prabang and take you back after lunch on day 3. Meals will be provided at our restaurant. Accommodation is in lakeside bamboo bungalows with private terrace. Bathrooms are communal with hot water. Please note that we try to adapt to the rhythm of the animals, so schedules and activities may vary. Visitors to the Center must be open-minded and ready for a flexible programme.
The price includes
The price excludes