Photo Flashbacks: Phuket Elephant at the Resort 33

During our family holiday to Phuket with kid(s) staying at the Outrigger Laguna Beach Resort we really enjoy engaging with Candi the elephant.

So what did Candi the elephant do?

Candi the elephant is still a baby and lives with her handler down the road from the Phuket resort entrance.  Twice a day she and her handler walk up to the resort to entertain the guests.

We see her most mornings on her stage as we return from the lovely buffet breakfast.  She puts on quite the show.

Standing on her hind legs.

Phuket elephant

Doing a handstand.

Phuket elephant

She then expects a little reward for her efforts – banana and/or money.

Phuket elephant

She is very polite and bows to say thank you, before heading back home for a well deserved rest.

Phuket elephant

Mid afternoon she returns and makes her way towards the pool.

She stops to give anyone a kiss who’ll let her.  I have to say it is the weirdest sensation, a bit wet and slobbery as she wraps her strong trunk around my neck – it gives me goose bumps.

Phuket elephant

Then proceeds to give the kids a shower, who shout in delight and beg for more.

Phuket elephant

Afterwards the kids hop out the pool and shake hands to say thank you and give her a little reward.

Phuket elephant

Whilst we all so enjoy our daily interactions with Candi the elephant, I am also torn with the fact she is kept in captivity and utilised in this way to make money for handler.

But it is a different way of life in Thailand from Australia.  So I just accept and enjoy the experience.

Would you or your kids enjoy meeting Candi the Phuket elephant?

Phuket Elephant

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About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.

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33 thoughts on “Photo Flashbacks: Phuket Elephant at the Resort

  • Jen

    How fascinating! I love her – that face is just so expressive! I too share your reservations and hesitations about an animal kept in captivity to serve as entertainment for the rest of us. I don’t quite know how to reconcile that.

    Thank you for sharing with us for Photo Friday!

  • samiya selim

    I personally found this post so very sad and disturbing…you say “it’s a different way of life in Thailand from Australia. So I just accept and enjoy the experience.” Enjoying it, writing about it, promoting it is just encouraging this kind of unethical tourism, if we opposed such horrible practices and don’t partake in them, the demand for it will go down. As travellers and even more so as travel bloggers, surely we can take on that much responsibility, no matter where we come from, to say NO to such practices and not promote it like this.

  • Anda

    Sally-Ann, will you please be so kind and display our badge at the end of your post? You most likely forgot, but it’s a rule that we ask everybody to abide by. You can copy the code at the end of the post on which you link-ed up and paste into the text editor mode at the end of your post. Or, if it’s easier to you, you can display this code in a widget, on your side bar. This way you don’t have to worry about displaying your code every week. Thank you for understanding. Hope to see you here again next week.

  • Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One

    It’s a difficult one isn’t it. I remember we went to see the Elephants at the Rose Garden when we stayed in Bangkok many years ago and it made me feel very uncomfortable. But you have to hope that this would give children a love of elephants and a thirst to learn more about them and what they should really be doing #MondayEscapes

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      It is a difficult one Mary. I looked at Candi the elephant and thought she looked happy, well cared for, not abused, and well fed. We stayed at the resort for 2 weeks and saw her handler with her all the time, not just at the resort but also in the large lush fields outside the hotel where she lived.

  • Ting at My Travel Monkey

    It’s a tough one isn’t it? While you want to enjoy it, you wonder how life in captivity can be cruel for these animals and the training they have to endure to perform these tricks. I am the same as Monkey loves watching dolphin shows and I’ve watched Black Fish, which doesn’t make good viewing. But like you said, you just have to enjoy the moment. Great photos! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      I think Ting if I can see the animals are not mistreated, but have learnt to perform for a treat, I can enjoy the performance. Because in away don’t we do that with our household pets.

  • Ruthie

    I would love to experience an encounter like this with a baby elephant, perhaps it would be better in their natural environment. I think they are beautiful creatures. I also share you reservations about her being held in captivity like this. It’s sad to see, however what can you do when your in a foreign country?

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      The more and more comments I have read from this post has really got me thinking and reflecting about how we as humans treat animals and it really just isn’t people in foreign countries who are responsible for this. We all contain our pets in our homes too small for them to run wild, we enjoy going to see magic shows with tigers on the stage in cages and take the kids to the circus with animal trapped in small trailers. In a way this little baby elephant was far better treated than what we do to animals in the western world.

      • Ruthie

        I totally agree with you Sally-Ann! By no means did I mean to portray that I believe it only happens in foreign countries. We are not exempt from the way we treat animals in our care. I don’t agree with animals being still allowed to be part of a circus performance at all. It’s a complex issue that the world faces. I think in situations like this meeting with the baby elephant I would be inclined to not pay for a trick or show and perhaps donate that money to an animal sanctuary in that country.

        • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

          Hi Ruthie, I didn’t mean to imply that you believed it only happened in foreign countries. Just that the entire issue is becoming quite a lively discussion. I really like your idea of a donation to an animal sanctuary.

  • budget jan

    Once upon a time I would have been happy but now I would be too guilty, especially as she was probably taken away from her mother. I guess there are humans in very poor conditions in these countries too. Thanks for posting though because discussion is always good. She is very cute!

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    I just read through all the other comments. Yes, I’d agree that it’d be so hard to tear my kids away from a cute, adorable baby elephant like Candi. Still, it does get a person thinking about what life holds for this animal. If you ever have a chance to visit Chiang Mai, Thailand, I encourage you to spend at least a day at Elephant Nature Park. They offer an alternative experience with elephants — one where humans go visit the elephants in their home instead of vice versa. None of that elephant riding, though. It’s all about serving the elephants, not the other way around. There’s a rather heart wrenching documentary movie that they show at the end about the difficult life of elephants who are trained to perform, give rides to tourists or beg at the side of the road.

  • Nancie

    Candi is a cutie! I have to admit that it makes me sad to see this. I have spent a lot of time in Thailand, and have learned that quite often the animals are treated very badly when learning the tricks. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      I agree Nancie it can be appalling how badly animals are treated to learn how we humans want them to behave. I felt a little better knowing that Candi was rescued from being orphaned and appears well treated now.