The Elephant Safari Park advertises itself as the most popular tourist attraction in Bali, with the Trip Advisor reviews to back that up. Although, it is also hands down one of the most expensive (hence why I haven’t visited in my 9 previous trips to Indonesia). Now that I have been however, I can offer my own opinion.
Firstly, what to expect…
– There will be many photo opportunities (and you can use your own camera).
– The elephant ride is really short (about 20-25 minutes) and although track is well landscaped, the sound of cars and motorbikes driving up the road destroys the sense of being in a Sumatran rainforest.
– Your visit to the park will be strictly scheduled (regardless of whether or not you’re merely day-tripping or staying overnight (possibly so as to avoid panic amongst the elephants when there are hundreds of people milling around and taking photos.
– The elephants are also chained at times throughout the day (signs around the park explain why so read these before you judge too harshly.
– The mahouts carry tools (similar to the Ańkuśa) but these are rarely used.
– Dinner at the park carries 5-star price tags without the 5-star quality to back it up but breakfast was excellent (and there was lots of it).
– The elephant “talent show” is run several times a day and will not be enjoyed by all (though it does provide much need mental stimulation for the elephants). Personally, I think it should focus more on education and what the park hopes to achieve.
– Super friendly staff who will remember your name… And your room number.
For the best experience…
– Stay overnight at the Elephant Safari Park Lodge! Being able to bathe and swim with the elephants before the park opened was definitely the highlight and provided a much more hands-on experience than simply riding an elephant, taking some pictures and then feeding them through a fence.