Ko Samui does not only offer pristine white sand beaches, exciting water sports activites, pulsating nightlife, and good food. Aside from these attractions, there are other exciting activities that you can do when you visit the island. Elephant trekking in Samui is an activity that will give you a one of a kind experience of going up to the mountain jungle on the back of an elephant. This tourist attraction is popular not just in Samui but in other parts of Thailand as well, such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, and Nakhon Lampang. This is why it has become a part of almost every tourist’s itinerary when going to Thailand as long as the service is available.
Elephants hold a special place in Thai culture. In the past, these animals were revered by many and were often used by the monarchs in their travels. The white elephant, which was quite rare, was considered sacred and symbolized a just and powerful rule for the monarch and prosperity and peace for the nation. Even now, white elephants are still treated as sacred animals. They are not allowed to perform the same work that ordinary elephants do. The royal white elephant, which is chosen based on a set of criteria, is treated like royalty.
Elephants are among the most intelligent creatures on earth. They are generally safe as long as they do not feel threatened or agitated. In spite of their gentle nature, they can run fast – up to 15 miles an hour. They have very good memory, which makes them highly trainable. Those that are used in elephant trekking in Samui begin their training in their younger years, usually with their own mahout or the person who drives the elephant.
An elephant and its mahout share years of being together and are bonded to each other in a special way. When you go for an elephant trek, make sure the animal’s mahout is there because the mahout is the best person who can control it in case it becomes tense or spooked. If the mahout is not there, then it’s best to wait and not to ride the elephant until the mahout arrives.
Elephant trekking in Samui is often bundled together with other activities in Eco Tour packages, which can go for a half day or a whole day depending on the program you choose. Half day tours typically include round trip transfers to your hotel, a side trip to see the monkey shows near Bophut village, an elephant trek in the jungle, and a short trip to Namuang Waterfall where you can take a dip in the cool water. Whole day tours include pretty much the same activities but are longer, plus additional trips to nearby temples and handicraft shops and a cooking demonstration for Thai curry.
If you don’t want to join an Eco Tour and just want to go elephant trekking in Samui, then you can skip the package tours. Separate elephant treks are offered in Ko Samui. A 30-minute trek to Namuang Jungle usually costs around 700 Baht for adults and 500 Baht for kids while a 60-minute trek costs 1,200 Baht for adults and 800 Baht for kids. Some tours can be customized according to your preference.