Krabi Nature - tours of Thailand's finest wildlife and natural wilderness.

Krabi Elephant Trekking in 2024 – Is It ETHICAL?

There are Many Places that Force Elephants to Give You a Ride in Krabi. We Don’t Recommend that you Go to Any of Them.

Over the years, many videos have surfaced about elephants being mistreated in Thailand and all over the world. Personally, I have seen an elephant beaten wildly by a crazed mahout (elephant trainer) here in Krabi beside the Wat Tham Seua Buddhist Temple, when the elephant would simply not stand perfectly still for a shower of water and a scrubbing with a brush.

The bamboo stick the elephant was beaten with was 2 inches in thickness and a meter long and the man swung it very hard, cracking the elephant on the legs with it as the elephant flinched with each hit.

In order to break elephants of their natural instinct to avoid humans and avoid people riding on their backs, an intensive period of torture and cruelty is needed. Here is a video about how it’s done:

Ringling Brothers Circus Method for Breaking Elephants

Sorry, they restricted the video. We found another one.

How about this video? Breaking the Spirit of the Elephant!!!!! (SICK)

Elephants are, of course, WILD ANIMALS. In order to be tame enough for you to RIDE THEM, they must be broken like horses, but so much worse. An elephant doesn’t just go along with someone on its back after a brief ‘breaking’ stage like you see in the movies with horses broken in 15 minutes. An elephant can take WEEKS of torture.

How Are Baby Elephants Tamed for Tourist Exploitation in Thailand?

The process of training or taming elephants for use in the tourist trade, particularly for activities like elephant riding, involves a practice known as “elephant breaking” or “phajaan.”

It’s important to note that this practice is widely criticized by animal welfare organizations as it involves inhumane methods. However, there has been a growing shift towards more ethical and humane approaches to elephant tourism. You will find both in Krabi.

Traditional Methods (Phajaan) of Breaking Baby Elephants Will

Traditionally, the phajaan process involves subjecting young elephants to physical and psychological abuse in order to break their spirit and make them submissive to human control.

Here is How Baby Elephants Are Broken (Tortured)

Physical Abuse – Physical abuse is used to instill fear and dominance. It may include beatings with sharp objects, metal hooks, or hard sticks. Elephants are often deprived of food and water during this process.

Confinement – Elephants are confined in small enclosures or “crush boxes” where they are unable to move freely. This restricts their natural behaviors and reinforces submission to human commands. Elephants are never exposed to anything like this in the wild, and it destroys their spirit.

Emotional Distress – The baby elephants are removed from their mother at a very early age and paired up with a surrogate mother that is already broken in. The biological mother is often killed because she won’t stand for it.

Baby elephants are exposed to stressful situations, loud noises, and other stimuli to break their spirit and force them to comply with human demands. All so you can ride on the poor elephants back and make the owners money.

Ethical and Humane Approaches To Elephant Tourism (Exploiting elephants for tourists)

There has been a growing recognition of the need for more humane treatment of elephants in the tourism industry. Many responsible elephant tourism initiatives have emerged that prioritize the well-being of elephants. These ethical approaches focus on observation, conservation, and promoting natural behaviors, rather than using elephants for riding.

These are mostly ignored in areas like Krabi, Phuket, Ko Samui, and other tourist-hungry areas where they do whatever the hell they want and continue to exploit elephants for making more money off tourists.

Better Approaches to Elephant Tourism (but not perfect)

Observational Tourism – Visitors are encouraged to observe elephants in their natural habitat without direct interactions. This approach allows elephants to live more freely and engage in natural behaviors.

This really means, looking at them in confinement. Which, essentially, is also exploitation but without the physical beatings, emotional stress (other than confinement), and letting the elephants do generally what they want within the confines of their artificial home.

Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centers – Some organizations establish sanctuaries or rehabilitation centers that provide a safe and natural environment for rescued or retired elephants. These centers prioritize elephant welfare, provide veterinary care, and promote conservation education.

They can never have too much land, too much natural variety, or too little restriction on the elephants, but it’s the best we seem to be able to do after elephants have been broken and grew up with humans throwing food at them daily. They cannot survive in the wild at this point.

Positive Reinforcement Training – This approach uses reward-based training methods instead of punishment. By reinforcing desired behaviors with treats or positive stimuli, elephants can be trained to participate voluntarily in activities such as health checks and veterinary care.

Or, you could just leave them alone entirely and let them live and die as they will without human intervention at all. This is just a way to keep their investment alive so more tourists can come and donate money and make money for the owners.

Conservation and Protection – Emphasizing the conservation of wild elephant populations and their habitats is vital. Protecting natural habitats and implementing measures to reduce human-elephant conflict are crucial for the long-term well-being of elephants.

At the moment there are few places where elephants can roam free in Thailand. This is being reduced all the time. Baby elephants are STILL being forced into slavery because mahouts with no other life-skills apparently don’t know what else to do to make money except by exploiting animals.

It is important for tourists to be discerning and choose responsible and ethical elephant tourism options that prioritize the welfare and conservation of elephants. Supporting initiatives that promote observation, conservation, and the well-being of elephants contributes to the shift towards more humane practices in the industry.


Have a heart… stop elephant cruelty. Get the hell off the elephant and let it do as it wishes, not as cruel mahouts and owners insist they do to make them money.

Do you know how many tourists and mahouts have been killed in Thailand by elephants over the last ten years? We don’t either, but we see the headlines often! Elephants are beaten into submission from DAY 1. It is no joke that “Elephants don’t forget.” They really seem not to forget. They also seem to have a level of tolerance that, once reached, they explode and trample and gore any human in their way.

Here are some Elephants in the News. These are just links to media resources outside Thailand because they shouldn’t expire, or be removed.

Are Asian Elephants Found in Krabi? >

Krabi Wildlife Tours - night time trek for three hours in tropical primary rainforest.

* * * * * *

Krabi Attractions >

For Tours Info around Krabi Town and Beaches – Click HERE.

More Krabi Wildlife Info >

3 thoughts on “Krabi Elephant Trekking in 2024 – Is It ETHICAL?”

  1. Good for you for letting the world know!
    Is there anything similar to the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai near Krabi?
    Thank you

  2. For elephants? Not yet. There is supposed to be some development like that coming. I haven’t seen any more about it. If anyone has info – send to me please.

  3. i m going Krabi next month but for sure i’m not going to ride the elephants.
    i also don’t support all this cruelty to any animals.
    Human are most heartless to treat animal this way. i also teach all my children about being good to animal and do not support any animals shows or Circus that involve animals to preform tricks

Comments are closed.