Elephants in Pattaya
Visitors to Thailand will quickly notice the importance of elephants in the national history and myths of the Thai people.
The elephant (known in Thai as “chang”) is considered a national symbol of Thailand and until about 100 years ago graced the national flag. Although elephants were originally (and to some extent still are) used for logging and pulling huge piles of lumber out of the jungle. Today most people who interact with elephants do so at one of Thailand’s many elephant shows.
For those who would rather see the elephants in an environment somewhat more natural than a show, the Pattaya Elephant Village is a great way to support a good cause and interact with these majestic creatures up close. The elephant village was first set up 40 years ago to act as a sanctuary for working elephants who could no longer do their jobs.
Logging is hard work, even for elephants, and it was not uncommon for elephants to simply wear out their bodies to the extent they could do no more or suffer an injury of some kind. Elephants require huge outlays of time and money to keep well in captivity. An elephant that could not work was of little use to its owners. Because so much of their natural habitat had been destroyed, these elephants had nowhere to go, hence the creation of the elephant village.
Today, the elephant village is home to many elephants both old and young, growing up in a natural environment and being treated with love and respect. Visitors can take part in a number of packages that allow them to interact with and learn more about the elephants. Activities available include things like trekking and yes, a show. However, this show focuses more on teaching and training than the normal fare of kicking soccer balls and the like. Those who love elephants must visit the Pattaya Elephant Village.