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Overview

Connect with one of Laos’ most incredible animals, the Asian Elephant. Spend two days immersed in the rugged wilds of Laos living alongside the elephants. Trek alongside as they go into the forest to forage for food and join them in mountain streams for their daily bath.

Trip Highlights

Sayaboury Elephant Trail

Connect with Asian Elephants

Spend two days interacting with, taking care of and living alongside Asian elephants.

Explore Sayaboury Province

Step away from the normal tourist trail and explore the ruggedly beautiful Sayaboury Province, southwest of Luang Prabang. 

Learn about elephant conservation

Understand the role that Asian elephants play in Lao culture and the importance of preserving their natural habitats.

Itinerary

1

Luang Prabang - Sayaboury - The ECC

Luang Prabang – Sayaboury (119 km): 2,5 hours

Be met by the guide and driver this morning for a 3-hour transfer from the hotel in Luang Prabang to Sayaboury.

Located Southwest of Luang Prabang, Sayaboury is a mountainous province with peaks of more than 1,000 metres. Travel to this remote province and be amazed by the many beautiful mountains and flower gardens. It is also home to the largest population of elephants in Laos.

Arrive at the Nam Tien Lake pier and embark on a short boat trip to the Elephant Conservation Center (ECC). Upon arrival the staff will assist with check-in formalities, followed by lunch.

Take a leisurely time to settle into the private bungalow before exploring the forest with the guide. Along the way, walk past the different enclosures where the main activities will take place. After enjoying a Laotian style picnic, watch the resident mother and baby elephants at the nursery. The mahout of the mother stays close by while she and her baby have a bath and play. See the amazing relationship between these gentle giants and their mahouts.

Then, return to the forest and take the boat back to the Center for a on-site hospital visit. The Laotian vet assistant or an in-hour biologist will introduce all about the health of these elephants including their common and uncommon injuries and respective treatments. It is also the perfect time to ask any questions on the biology of the elephants.

Then, observe the elephants’ daily bath and learn more about their playful characters. Elephants are surprisingly good swimmers and love the water. Bath time is also a time for socialisation and to strengthen ties in the herd.

After their baths, be introduced on how to interact with the elephants. Get a feel of the elephant’s amazing skin and prickly hair, and experience up-close the dexterity of their trunk. Then, walk them back to the forest. After a short trek the mahouts will decide on a place where the elephants can graze for a while. Listen to the stories and background of each elephant from the guide. Learn to recognise the elephants while observing them.

Before dinner, take a moment to enjoy the surroundings from one of the viewpoints. There is an option to go for a swim in the lake, take out a canoe, or visit the museum where one of the staff will give a small presentation on the centre’s conservation efforts. During meal time, feel free to ask any questions while enjoying a delicious Lao-style cocktail.

Dinner and overnight at the Elephant Conservation Center

2

Meet the Elephants- Observation in Socialisation area

A safety briefing will follow breakfast before joining the elephants for their daily exercise, an hour walk in the surrounding tropical forest.

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 group and its dynamics. 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.

Lunch is served at the center. You have some time to relax before the elephants come down for their afternoon bath.

You will meet our Laotian Vet Assistant or the 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 and to reduce the stress that these treatments or routine checks can give to them. We offer you the chance to follow their work from a safe distance.

Overnight at the Elephant Conservation Center

3

Enrichement– Transfer to Luang Prabang

Sayaboury – Luang Prabang (119 km): 2,5 hours

This morning enjoy a western-style breakfast served at the restaurant overlooking the lake.

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 enclosure by cutting and hiding the food. to give the elephants a challenge. Once they arrive, you will have the opportunity to observe how the elephants try to find what you have hidden! This is a novel and unique way to interact with our elephants, contributing directly to their well-being.

Lunch is served at the restaurant. You have some time to relax before we bring you back to Luang Prabang by minivan. You can say your goodbyes to the staff or walk around the center one last time.

After a last lunch, say goodbye and depart the Elephant Conservation Center. Transport will be provided (by boat and then car) back to Luang Prabang.

Special note: Medical Care of the elephants at the Elephant Hospital is only carried out by qualified vets. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to participate in this activity. Thank you for your understanding.

Important Information

Our Services Include:

  • Hotel accommodation in shared twin/double room with daily breakfast.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles.
  • English speaking local guide (for other languages supplements apply).
  • All entrance fees as indicated in itinerary.

Our Services do not Include:

  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately).
  • Meals other than mentioned above.
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance, tips, visa
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

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