Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary or Pusat Pemeliharaan Gajah is in Lanchang, Pahang. It has become the travel destination for many foreigners. However, I suppose most local tourists will give this a pass as they would prefer something tame like a zoo.
The place is very well maintained and organised. The office and park have a lot of well-trained staffs and facilities. In fact, this is probably the first Government-run facility that impressed me. Entrance is free. They probably run on Government grants and help from some NGOs.
Briefly, a trip to the place includes a visit to their elephant museum which depicts histories on elephants and how they had helped in the community. Plus the famous story of the elephant that stayed on the railtrack and refuse to budge.
My husband has a fascination for elephants and that’s how we ended up in the middle of the rainforest, on broken tracks, muddy trails on a dark, stormy evening last week. The trip itself is sort of an adventure for us because we did not exactly plan to go but had armed ourselves with the map and directions.
We were shown a National Geographic documentary about the centre. I found it to be a very nice, touching and heart-warming geography how the centre is trying hard to save the elephants. These elephants are wild animals and sometimes, they enroached into farms and estates. They caused massive amount of damage to crops and sometimes, a threat to humans. In order to protect them from being killed (to protect the humans), the centre will try to relocate these animals deeper into the jungle.
I saw a few European ladies were extremely touched and shed some tears during the documentary. Elephants are really adorable, loveable creatures. The centre have these two elephants whom they will bring to sooth and calm the wild elephant they caught. Thereafter, the elephants will guide the captive elephant into another part of the jungle.
Sometimes, the baby elephants turned orphans when they lost their mothers. Therefore, the centre rear these elephants in their centre to protect these young animals.
Visitors got free elephant rides. We also get to bath the elephant and fed them. I had been to the elephants rides in Phuket and Koh Samui. Compare to this centre, I would say that one has a sense of purpose at Kuala Gandah. There is nothing commercial to it and these elephants aren’t abused for making money. Visitors can make a donation to help the elephant.
One of the highlight is of course, bathing with the elephants in the river nearby. I gave that a miss because the elephant poo-ed in the same river! But obviously this European couple was thrilled. They even brought along a newspaper from their country which featured this centre and took every photo with the newspaper! That’s how interesting the place is to foreign tourists.
I shall not share the location/direction. Please Google for Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. I do not want to miss a turn and cause someone to lost in the jungle.
One can stay at Mentakab or Temerloh for a night if you are travelling from outer states. The centre open at 9 am and close at 4.30 pm. It is only about 2 hrs drive from Kuala Lumpur. I stayed at Mentakab – Bukit Bendera Resort.
Highly recommended! If going to the wild is your cup of tea. There is also an orang asli settlement next to the centre. Photos are not allowed but visitors can take a stroll there. I found those naked toddlers so chubby and adorable.
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