Responsible tourism: Thailand wildlife and beach holiday
World Animal Protection and the operator advocate for animals to be kept in the wild, safe from unethical tourism. At the same time, we realise that navigating the world of animal friendly travel can be puzzling at times. So, we’ve taken the guess work out of wildlife travel experiences, and joined forces to bring you this carefully crafted itinerary that offers the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Thailand.
The Thai national parks that you visit in this itinerary are home to some of the most diverse and fascinating wildlife on earth. There’s a chance you will spot populations of wild elephants, gaurs, gibbons, langurs, macaques, barking deer, flying foxes as well as a plethora of birdlife. In order to disturb these animals as less as possible we journey mostly on foot to spot these animals. We don’t visit them in zoos or chained, but in their natural habitat.
We avoid any interaction with animals subjected to cruelty for the purpose of entertainment, such as animal shows, cockerel fights, tiger temples and any festival that causes suffering to animals. Entertainment and culture are not an excuse for animal cruelty. Voice your dislike of these antiquated activities through non-participation.
Elephant tourism experiences can be found throughout Thailand and it can be difficult to resist the temptation to ride these beautiful and incredibly intelligent creatures. In recent years there has been much research into the impact of tourism activities on elephants’ well-being. From the brutal taming of baby elephants called ‘the crush’ to ongoing confinement and the mere fact that the elephant’s spine is not meant to carry heavy weights there are many instances where incorrect management results in a negative impact for the elephants. Because of this, we discourage travellers from riding on the back of elephants and thus this itinerary does not include elephant rides.
We visit the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) to support the good work they do. WFFT is a nationwide effort involved in rescuing domesticated/ captive wild animals. Edwin Wiek heads this project with the help from a team of full time staff, mostly from the local village.
In order for future generations to be able to enjoy the beautiful beaches, pristine ocean, amazing sunsets and incredibly diverse marine life that offers some of the world’s best snorkelling found on the Surin Islands in the Andaman Sea, we also dispose of waste properly, leave what we find, and minimise campfire impacts. In Kuraburi we stay at a nature resort that has been built sympathetic to the natural surrounds.
In the program we visit a minority community that live on remote islands in the Andaman Sea. The friendly people will teach us about their culture and traditions and by respecting them and perhaps exchanging some words in English you can help leave a positive impact. When you find a custom, the environment, their cuisine or a traditional costume of this community beautiful or interesting, tell a local person that you like it and why. This encourages pride in their traditions and culture, and in a small but important way, helps to preserve it. The people have an intriguing culture that should be kept for generations to live and enjoy. We therefore are also considerate of our hosts and other visitors.
The guide that joins us on this trip is Thai and guides and rangers in the national parks are locals who have received extensive training and are from the nearby villages. The park is their home, they grew up in it, and they’ll be able to pass the information on the park/wildlife they learned in trainings on to their families and neighbours. We use open-air pick-up trucks that are driven by locals
Throughout the itinerary we eat at a local restaurants and markets to guarantee profits go directly to local families.
If animal encounters are high on your list for your next adventure, and you want to make sure your experiences aren’t harmful, then this adventure that has been appraised by World Animal Protection, is perfect for you.