6 independent reviews for Thailand wildlife holiday, elephants & waterfalls

These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.


review 1 Dec 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was all fantastic, but we really enjoyed the elephant experience. Spending two days at a sanctuary, feeding the elephants, learning to ride them bareback and washing them in the pond was just marvellous. They are the most amazing creatures and we learned so much about them. We also loved the Khao Yai national park and trekking in the jungle around Chiang Rai, staying at a lodge that was really remote and rural.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take mosquito repellent.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - we did some home stays and thoroughly enjoyed those. Our hosts were charming and very welcoming - they took us to local markets and gave us cookery lessons at their home. The elephant sanctuary also benefited from tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely brilliant. The whole tour ran to plan and was extremely well organised. It was a great combination of active and relaxing and we had a marvellous time. Highly recommended.

review 23 Jul 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Riding the elephants and seeing Angkor Wat. The lodgings at Ko Samed were also very beautiful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We each had a sick day or two so bring medicine for your stomach. I would also spend at least one more day in Bangkok. Our lodgings in Chiang Rai were too rustic for our spoiled tastes.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely. We stayed in people's homes and shopped in small villages. The hotel in Siem Reap (Shinta Mani) gives some of its revenue to promote local education, building wells and providing school supplies.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a very well run trip. Some parts were more interesting than others. Don't miss Angkor Wat! The people were incredibly friendly and helpful.

review 21 Apr 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Time with elephants!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Enjoy every experience!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, big emphasis on putting money back into the local community and getting to know locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Amazing!

review 29 Oct 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being able to get so close to the elephants, and learning so much about them - a real privilege.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

To make the most of the opportunities afforded by not staying in the 'usual' tourist places.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, on the whole, except that the last hotel we stayed at did not seem in keeping with the focus on the environment elsewhere, despite its name (e.g. towel changes every day).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was amazing - I hesitate to use any clichés, but we had some unique and extremely memorable experiences. A great introduction to the country.

review 18 Jun 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I think there would have to be two - firstly, the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. I didn't want to visit a place where there was rides, or elephants playing football or painting. At the sanctuary, this could not be further from the truth and the work they do there is fantastic. Combine that with the hands-on experience you gain, as well as the insight and education given, it was truly unbelievable. The second would have to be getting an insight into just how hard life is for the people of Cambodia as they rebuild their country and lives following the awful atrocities of not so long ago. Being able to see directly how staying at the hotel and contributing to such basics as clean running water, was very uplifting

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Throw yourself into it. We all like nice hotels and cosy arrangements and indeed, on my trip I had these as well. But doing Homestay was fantastic as the families were so welcoming and they involve you in local life, which you would never get staying in the usual holiday 'bubble'. Also, investing in the use of your own guides etc. is not particularly expensive and the additional value far outweighs the cost.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Totally. Some examples - staying at the sanctuary, in the evening there was an opportunity to have a Thai Massage. The sanctuary uses the local village people to provide the service, directly supporting local life - hotels I stayed in were eco friendly (recycled rainwater for showers) and/or supported the local industry i.e. providing a scholarship in hotel hospitality and whilst the students worked at the hotel, the hotel sent 'home' food to the families as the individual culture is to send home money to dependents. I saw many other examples

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It has totally changed my perspective on how I can holiday, enjoy myself and yet provide genuine, positive, tangible support on the ground. The tour operator (who I used) were fantastic throughout and particularly when I was away. When needed, I was in contact with London and where appropriate, help was available on the ground locally. Everywhere I stayed, seemed to know my whole itinerary, so were able to ensure forward details were checked/reconfirmed etc. It felt very personal and I feel I have made some new friends as a consequence.

review 3 Aug 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We just loved the home stay in Chang Rai. The hosts were wonderful and the adventures we had were fantastic. Both Yui and Leticia could not do enough for us and their children were delightful. The other wonderful part was the food at the clay pot in Chang Mai. Our hosts were wonderful and so very kind to us. Our children would rate the elephant sanctuary as the highlight of their trip.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You will need cash to pay for any expenses in the national park in Khao Yai as they do not accept credit card.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The idea of home stays is a wonderful one. This is by far the best way to meet local people and enjoy real food rather than hotel food.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a wonderful and memorable time in Thailand. We enjoyed every second of it all and would not hesitate to recommend it to all families who like adventure and do not mind roughing it... we just loved it.

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Unedited reviews from other travellers

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
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