When tourists come to Thailand, they typically have jotted down a few things that they absolutely must do while they are on holiday. Among the popular items on a traveler’s list is visiting an elephant attraction and riding or playing with elephants. One of the most popular places for tourists to visit is Pattaya Elephant Village, reviews of which range from depressing to uninformed. 

Reviews of Pattaya Elephant Village highlight the general population’s incongruous opinions about elephant entertainment centers. On the one hand, many people don’t imagine what a life is like for an elephant in captivity at an entertainment center, whereas on the other, elephant welfare is top of mind. When scrolling through the comments on reviews of Pattaya Elephant Village, you see that most of the comments split this issue.

But the mere fact that there are multiple comments about the elephant’s wellbeing should be enough of a trigger warning to any potential customer that this is a business to avoid. Animal cruelty and poor treatment is no longer an issue that needs to be tolerated just because there is an established industry behind it. 

If you have read reviews of Pattaya Elephant Village and are looking for other places to have an elephant experience that is much more ethical and that treats the animals better, here are a few things to look for when evaluating an alternative site.

Elephant Riding

The first thing you’ll read about when researching reviews for Pattaya Elephant Village is about elephant riding. Pictures of happy customers riding atop an elephant in a bamboo sitting area are front and center on their website and on review aggregators like Tripadvisor or Google. Riding elephants like that sure is fun for humans, but did you know that those bamboo seats are really painful for the elephants?

Subjecting an elephant to that kind of cruelty is unacceptable today and should be disallowed. Seeing that is a major red flag and will immediately alert you that the elephant park you are considering is not good. 

The jury is still out on bareback riding elephants, so to be safe and considerate about the animal’s wellbeing, avoid any place that has elephant riding altogether. 

Elephant Shows

It’s truly amazing how smart and coordinated elephants are. Many of these attractions have dedicated elephant shows where the elephants perform tricks or do activities unnatural to elephant behavior, including things like painting or riding a pedal car. It’s fun to see the elephants show off their skills, but there is a darker underside to the training.

Elephant tamers are taught to use hooked hammers to beat the elephants should they not perform well. They will whack the elephants on the head and neck with the hook to control them, oftentimes breaking the elephant’s incredibly tough skin. No proper elephant sanctuary would have anything remotely similar to an entertainment show, so if you see something like that on a website, skip to the next company