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Elephants – the quintessential image and icon of Indochina. They also feature heavily in many “must do” lists for visiting this part of the world. So it comes as no surprise that many travellers to this region inquire about visiting and spending time with these beautiful creatures.

As a company that is open about our responsible tourism philosophy, we wanted to create this blog to share with you our values, and reasons for them, on riding (or rather, not riding) elephants.

We felt inspired when we read the article “If You Love Elephants, Don’t Ever Ride Them” and think it’s a fantastic resource if you’re considering taking part in an elephant trek. Here are some of the key messages why riding an elephant is not a good idea:

  • Riding can cause stress and exhaustion to the animal
  • Exchanging money for riding an elephant can encourage centre owners to exploit how many hours elephants work for
  • Sometimes they are kept in terrible conditions and are restrained
  • To make elephants perform for tourists, they are often beaten and separated from their mother to break their spirits

If you have a love of elephants, a more moving experience than riding them or watch them perform, is to see them in the wild, or behaving in ways in which they would in their natural environment. Ayana Journeys does not facilitate elephant riding and would recommend our guests to not participate in it.

We’re proud to support Mondulkiri’s Elephant Valley Project (EVP), which we believe is a pioneer of ethical elephant interactions, and remains the best destination for tourists wanting to experience in Cambodia. EVP, and their partner NGO ELIE, have the welfare of the elephants at heart, and work tirelessly to promote habitat conservation through the inclusion of local people in these efforts. If you’re interested in learning about the conservation efforts taking place and to see these majestic animals, ask about booking a trip to Mondulkiri with us.

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