Sunday, February 03, 2013

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary

A bunch of friends wanted to take KS on a surprise day trip for his birthday this year and after much discussion, they decided to take him to Kuala Gantah Elephant Sanctuary located in Lanchang, near Bentong, Pahang.

It's a 1.5 hour drive from PJ so it's not very far. Entrance is free while bathing with a baby elephant in the river is priced at only RM10 per person. If you're planning to go, do bring a change of clothes and shampoo, towels and plastic bag to keep your soggy clothes.

We stopped by a really nice place to eat off the Karak highway at Bukit Tinggi called Foon Lock. Food was really good and fairly reasonable at about RM15 per head with 6 dishes for 7 people. We had fried bacon, yam pork, two veg, chilli sotong and a tofu. So good, I'm tempted to see if KS would ever make that trip back just to eat there again!

Anyway, with filled bellies, we headed to Kuala Gandah and found it easily with clear road signs (and a pre-printed Google Maps instructions as connection was a problem).

Cut out boards comparing how large a mammoth, an Asian elephant and a pygmy elephant is.

After registering, we waited to be shown a video on what this sanctuary does. There were some informational boards for you to read up.

The video is educational, showing their efforts in relocating Malaysian elephants whose habitat has shrunk and that they are destroying plantations due to their invaded home. They also showed how they use the elephants in this sanctuary to help calm the captured elephant while transportation.

We were assigned a tour guide, a young man who explained that this sanctuary was set up in 1998. It's very well maintained, I must say! We were shown to where the baby elephants were kept, waiting for us to feed them with snacks which we purchased from a nearby stall.

Shortly after that, at about 2:30, the adult elephants were brought in for their daily bath and show.

The adults arriving and heading straight to the river

We were lucky to have favourable water levels to enjoy this activity. I've read other reviews who said the water was too high and dangerous for them to participate in the elephant bathing.

The adult elephants gave a little show, lying down, pulling chains etc and then were brought to the edges for us to interact and feed them.

After that, was the highlight of our trip, the bathing of the elephant!

In high spirits! Since only 4 were allowed per elephant, I decided to stay back and let the boys go in one group.
Here they are busy bathing the elephant...
And here they are, busy showering each other. It didn't matter that the elephant just defecated  in the water seconds before. Yums. See, this was why I decided not to join them.
My group consisted of a father and his two kids, a 7 year old and a toddler, and a mother with her toddler. No splashing! I was dry waist up! #win

After a quick shower, we then made our way back to KL, stopping by for a quick snack at McD's along the way. Did we have fun? Loads!

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