Eyes That Never Forget - ELEPHANT SANCTUARY in Vang Vieng


Eyes That Never Forget - ELEPHANT SANCTUARY in Vang Vieng

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Laos is not exactly a famous tourist destination, but once you are there, you will quickly hear about all the must-visit places this beautiful country has to offer. One of these spots is Vang Vieng.

You may have or have not heard of this small little town but in any case, let me tell you what I know about it. While located directly at the Nam Song river, surrounded by beautiful mountains, secluded fairytale lagoons and caves, Vang Vieng is not a tourist favourite because of its stunning nature. It's the party place of Laos, where drugs can easily be bought in many bars, and many backpackers find their way there every year, looking to get high. (More about it in a later post) So imagine my surprise when I heard that Vang Vieng is also home to an elephant sanctuary.

The first one is approaching

I am well aware of the reputation this kind of South-East Asian sanctuaries have in western countries. From forcing Elephants to carry people around for their pleasure all day long, Elephants being straight up mistreated and torture but let me tell you right now, this place is not like that at all.

They say elephants never forget and this lady has been through a lot. 

The Vang Vieng Elephant Sanctuary was founded by a married couple who wanted to do something against how these animals are being exploited for tourists. They put their money together, bought land and started this project together.

Half a day costs 55 Dollars and includes pick up from your hostel or hotel, feeding the elephants, bathing them and a delicious vegetarian lunch. They will also give you a ride back to town, which is around 45 minutes away. 55 Dollars is not exactly cheap, especially if you are on a tight backpacker budget but keep in mind, that all the money goes directly back into the care of these friendly giants.  At the moment this place is home to four elephants, three females and one male who was locked away by the time I was visiting cause it was mating season and apparently, they can harm the visitors, the staff, the other elephants and themselves during that time.

All of those four have been rescued from tourist attractions but the owners are still paying them off. On top of that, each of them needs to eat around 250 Kilograms every day! So I think this is one of the occasions where it is worth spending more money. It is for a good cause after all!

So before I end this post with some more pictures, I want to finish with the words the staff welcomed us at the sanctuary: Here, the elephants don't work for the people but the people work for the elephants.

Beautiful creatures

They walk to the river by themselves

Elephants are such playful souls. 

This is where you get to feed them. They are very gentle, don't worry. 

Wear old clothes if you go there. 

Lunchtime! 

Some views from the way back to the city.

More views

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Comments 13


Congratulations @angielettenmeyer! You received the biggest smile and some love from TravelFeed! Keep up the amazing blog. 😍 Your post was also chosen as top pick of the day and is now featured on the TravelFeed.io front page.

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16.01.2020 21:14
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Congratulations, Your Post Has Been Added To The Steemit Worldmap!
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16.01.2020 21:32
0

I am so happy to read that true elephant sanctuaries where they really care for the gentle giants exist... Thank you for showing us around this one. I am sure it was an unforgettable experience :) Elephants are such majestic creatures...

17.01.2020 10:06
4

It's so good to see a human comment for a change! Thank you :)

Yes, it was indeed! I never knew how gentle and playful elephants are!

17.01.2020 19:07
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17.01.2020 22:26
1

Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I will check out some contests :D

I haven't been here for long but I really enjoy it so far cause travelfeed/steemit makes blogging very easy. So I will just keep going and hopefully followers will come later haha :D

18.01.2020 00:52
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18.01.2020 13:26
1

Thank you! I will definitely check those out :)

18.01.2020 16:52
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17.01.2020 16:01
1

I have seen a lot of agencies in Laos offering elephant riding which is sad because their backs are not designed for riding. It's great to know that there's this real sanctuary in Vang Vieng where it's us who can work for them. They deserve to be cared for after all they've been through. I visited Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai which is also similar to that place and it was a lot of fun. Would love to visit that too if budget permits :)

18.01.2020 05:49
1

I've heard so many great things about the sanctuary in Chiang Mai! Hope I can visit it one day! :D

18.01.2020 10:25
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If you visit, I recommend "Elephant Nature Park" :)

19.01.2020 16:20
1