Who would expect that a country famous for an epic nightlife and amazing massages will also have an incredible wildlife? But guess what? Thailand is a country that abounds in thriving natural landscapes. Exotic animals are sheltered in several sanctuaries where they flourish in safety. Taking wildlife journeys in Thailand will be a great experience of exploring the country and don’t forget to visit the great wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand. It comes in all sizes and shapes.
8 Top Wildlife Sanctuaries In Thailand
If you were planning to visit Thailand and wish to explore the rich fauna of the region but don’t know where to go to do so, then here are some of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand to choose from.
1. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Phuket
Did you know that gibbons were killed illegally to eradication in the last tropical rain forest in Phuket around 40 years ago? This became the momentum for the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, as it pursues to alter the consequences of poaching, to optimistically return a handful of the gibbons into the forests. The good announcement is that under their liberation and reestablishment program, the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project has effectively reintroduced almost 50 gibbons back into the wild, now swaying recklessly in their innate habitat. Moreover, the rescue and supervision operations have also rescued more than hundreds of gibbons from unwanted photo-prop business, of which few were established unattended in rejected zoos and even mistreated, abused and exploited as a means of entertainment. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is thus one of the moist brilliant sanctuaries in Thailand to know about gibbons and the preservation steps behind gibbons, encouraging to be an exhilarating and enhancing experience for families and kids!
Location: 104/3 Moo 3, Padlock, Talang, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Timing: 9 am – 4.30 pm from Sunday to Friday; 9 am – 3 pm on Saturdays
Entry fee: no entrance fee is necessary for this sanctuary. An entry fee has to be paid to visit the plant conservation department and the national park wildlife.
2. Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai
Next on the list of sanctuaries in Thailand is The Elephant Nature Park which chiefly is a rehabilitation and an elephant rescue center situated in the hilly altitude of Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand. Established in the 1990s, this sanctuary also houses dogs, birds, buffaloes, cats and several other rescued animals besides elephants. These animals are brought here to prevent them from the abuse they receive in tourist rides and trick shows. The elephant nature park is nestled between majestic mountains and valleys of Chiang Mai. Tourists not only enjoy the scenic beauty of this place, but also the buffet lunch that is served here. The hotel where tourists stay takes care of their transport arrangements. Tourists get opportunities to get up close with the animals here, without doing any elephant riding course. They can indulge in activities within the park-like bathing and feeding the elephants and other animals, water rafting or simply enjoying the elephants swimming, bathing or eating at their place. Besides allowing tourists to spend time with the elephants in the park, the elephant nature park also organises excursions to the various villages around Chiang Mai. Visitors can also spend time, feed and interact with the animals residing in the nearby villages.
Location: 1Ratmakka Road, Phra Sing, Chiang Mai in Thailand
Timing: 7 am to 5 pm, all the days of the week.
Entry fee: From 2500 Thai BAHT. Prices depend on the duration of the visit and the package taken.
3. Lanta Animal Welfare, Koh Lanta
Established in 2005 by Junie Kovacs, the Lanta animal welfare in Koh Lanta aims at bringing an end to the numerous cases of animal suffering in and around Koh Lanta. This is one of the highly reputed and well-known wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand, which houses more than 15000 stray animals successfully, equipped with their planned sterilisation and treatment programs. This animal sanctuary is open to tourists all through the year. Visitors are introduced to some of the rehabilitated animals and the facilities being provided at the sanctuary under the strict guidance of volunteers. This animal sanctuary like others also provides exciting activities that tourists can indulge in like cuddling with felines, taking the rescued dogs for a walk on the designated walking routes. Also, tourists can volunteer to assist the other volunteers in doing the daily tasks of grooming, shampooing and de-ticking the dogs and cats or simply choose to interact and enjoy with the animals in the sanctuary.
Location: 629 Moo 2, Saladan, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Thailand
Timing: 9 am – 5 pm every day of the week.
Entry fees: Free; tourists often donate for the development of this facility.
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4. Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), Petchaburi
Established in 2001, the wildlife friends foundation Thailand in Phetchaburi is an autonomous establishment that provides shelter to more than 1000 wild animals and is one of those wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand. It aims at rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals that are held captive. Besides this, the organisation also advocates against the illegal animal trade practiced in Thailand. Ever since its inception, it has been striving towards achieving its objectives successfully. The rehabilitated animals are released again in the jungles, while the others are housed and looked after in the park for life. Most animals found here were rescued either from poor living conditions or held captive for long or from illegal trading or attacks or road accidents. Tourists are given the options of either a half-day visit or a full-day visit to the elephant refuge and wildlife rescue center where animals are housed in a more diversified way. There are reptiles, gibbons, langur, otters, macaque, birds and other animals sheltered at the wildlife rescue center.
Location: Moo 6, Tambon Tha Mai Ruak, Amphoe Thayang, Petchaburi, Thailand
Timing: Daily last entry at 4 pm.
Entry fee: From ฿900 onwards for children, ฿1100 onwards for adults.
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5. Rescue Paws, Hua Hin
There are uncountable stray dogs in Thailand as are the convenience stores there. All over the country, these dogs roam about here and there in search of food, company, and shelter. The streets of Thailand have taken most for these stray dogs for defense purposes, the others have been rescued. This is where Rescue Paws comes into being. This non-profit foundation has been improving the conditions of these stray dogs by giving them food and shelter since 2013 and although its not really one of the wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand, it’s much more. They strive tirelessly and have achieved impressive results, 741 sterilisations, 3539 vaccinations and rabies, 4252 parasite treatments and so on. Due to the increasing number of stray dogs and cats in his tin, this non-profit organization aims to control their numbers through sterilisation and education.
Location: 65 Khao Tao Temple, Nong Kae, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand
Timing: 8.15 am – 5 pm daily, advanced booking needed
Entry fee: free
6. Soi Dog Foundation, Phuket
Soi Dog Foundation was established in the year 2003 on the resort island of Phuket, Thailand, to provide sustainable and humane solutions to deal with the problem of overpopulation of stray dogs and cats. The overpopulation issues have been brought under control due to their constant efforts and strenuous hard work and dedication at their sterilisation programs. Around 50,000 stray dogs used to roam about in the streets of Phuket, which has now drastically reduced. Besides conducting sterilisation programs, the soi dog foundation also responds to the medical needs of these stray dogs and takes part in advocating against illegal dog meat trade, animal cruelty and abuse. There are tourist guides from Monday to Friday available at 9:30 am, 11 am, 1:30 pm and 2:00 pm. No prior booking is required to visit this place.
Location: 167/9 Moo 4, Soi Mai Khao 10, Tambon Mai Khao, Amphoe Thalang, Chang Wat Phuket 83110, Thailand
Timing: 9 am – 3.30 pm on weekdays; 9 am – 12 pm on Saturday
Entry fee: Free
7. Burm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary (BEES), Chiang Mai
This is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand, where humans work for the elephants. Welcoming and sheltering elephants that had been subjected to tortures and abuse is their motto. BEES also aims to create an ambiance that is as close as it can get to the natural environment, where elephants can forage, roam and socialize freely. BEES also shelters rescued dogs and cats in the area and has launched its own domestic animal outreach campaigns to offer sterilisation and care and protection to animals in need. Tourists besides enjoying the elephants roaming about in the forests can also participate in the harvesting of Bananas. It is a part of preparing afternoon meals for the elephants. Other exciting activities include teaching English to the residents of the place, cleaning the spaces where elephants are kept and planting grasses for the elephants. Advanced booking is necessary if visitors look forward to visiting this place overnight. This will be undoubtedly the best experience of your life!
Location: 188/1, Tambon Chang Keung, Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai 50270, Thailand
Timing: 8 am – 3 pm daily; advanced booking required
Entry fee: Tourists have to enquire directly from their office.
8. Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES), Sukhothai
The boon Lott’s elephant sanctuary is another foundation located in the Sukhothai region of Thailand that is dedicated to rescuing and protecting elephants from being abused and becoming extinct which makes it another one of the rescue wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand. This sanctuary has been named after the majestic and courageous baby elephant named boon Lott who endured serious maltreatment and abuse before being rescued. The word boon lost when translated into English means survivor. They believe that elephants should be treated with respect and dignity. Here, there are no animal shows hosted, no animal rides; animals are simply sheltered to live and roam about freely in the natural environment. Spanning across 600 acres of forested lands comprising of banana plantations, open fields, grasslands, freshwater rivers and various fruit trees, this sanctuary is as close as it is possible to get to the natural wilderness for the animals sheltered in this place.
Location: 304 Mu 5, Baan Na Ton Jan, Tambon Baan Tuek, Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai 64130, Thailand
Timing: advanced booking required
Entry fee: ฿6000 (~S$264.77) per night; the price includes meals and transport costs
With such a wide variety of wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand, one should always do their research and examine their practices before planning to visit there. It should not happen that you went to a sanctuary only to visualise illicit animal trade and animal abuse and end up becoming critical in perpetuating the dangerous cycle of animal trafficking and abuse. Thailand is famous among us for its amazing food and festive markets and shopping paradise. At the same time, it becomes our responsibility to volunteer and donate an amount to help in improving the conditions of the sanctuaries further so that they can take care, protect and shelter the animals that live among us. So, be a little sane and a lot more humane on your trip to Thailand.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wildlife Sanctuaries In Thailand
A. The official national animal of Thailand is the Thai elephant, which is a subspecies of the Asian elephant.
A. Thung Yai is the largest sanctuary in Thailand. It is a forest complex that happens to the largest tiger reserve in the entire Southeast Asia region. Apart from tigers, around 200 species of animals live here. This is known as the natural breeding place for tigers in Thailand.
A. Thailand has about 127 national parks that are protected because they have unexploited landscapes and diverse flora and fauna. Of the 127 national parks in Thailand, 22 are marine national parks. These are home to a wide number of endangered species.
A. Tourists can feed the animals in the sanctuaries, bath them and interact with them. They can even take the rescued dogs and cats for a walk along a designated path.
A. The famous species of animals that are found in the zoos of Thailand include tigers, elephants, leopards, Malaysian bears, deer, sambars, otters, monkeys, gibbons, sheep, goats, macaques, zebras, gazelles, antelopes, camels, rhinos and an amazing variety of birds like pelicans, cranes, ostriches, and nightmarish marabou storks.
A. Yes, options for overnight tours are available in some of the wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand.
A. Yes, the wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand can be visited any time in a year.
A. More than 10% of the world’s animals are found in Thailand. Generally found here are 285 mammal species that include leopards, tigers, elephants, sun bears, sambar, deer, and otters. A variety of primitive species like monkeys, gibbons, macaques are also found here. Wild cattle, sheep, goats and wild hogs are also found.
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