Animals are just fabulous. Period. How else can we explain watching clumsy little kittens stumble and heartbreakingly cute gibbons being tickled for hours and hours on YouTube? Don’t try to deny it. We all can’t get enough of the sweet furry companions! Of course tropical Thailand is home to more exotic animals in the wild than just cats and dogs. Unfortunately not all of them are treated appropriately. HiveSters picked 10 activities that are enjoyable for humans and our four-legged friends.
1. Hang Out with Elephants
The elephant is the national animal of the Land of Smiles and an obligatory must-see for almost every tourist traveling to Thailand. However due to the high demand for activities involving them these animals are treated poorly, often suffering abuse while living under harsh and painful conditions. Fortunately there is another trend on the horizon – those trying to protect this national treasure. The Thai Elephant Home Maetang close to Chiang Mai believes that elephants should live as normal a life in nature as possible. Visitors will not only enjoy a personal one-on-one time with elephants but will also be educated about elephant care and conservation of the surrounding habitat.
Also in the area of Chiang Mai is BEES (Burm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary). They focus on fostering old, injured or retired elephants. Another great project comes from our friends from WFFT conservation. They do something good for our beloved pachyderms closer to Bangkok, in the Phetchaburi province.
2. Farm Mor Por
Close to Khao Yai National Park in Thailand lives a man called “Dr. Por” who has an obess…eh passion for horses. He is taking care of over 70 horses from the UK, Europe and America. He has made his farm Mor Por, a real working horse farm, open to the public. Apart from horses there can be found over 400 free-range chickens, teacup pigs, goats, ducks and geese. TEACUP-PIGS! Do we need to say more? There are plenty activities to choose from – horse riding lessons, staying overnight, hiking in the Khao Yai National Park, horse feeding etc. So this farm truly makes the perfect weekend escape from the bustling exhausting stinky mess that Bangkok can be.
Most condominiums and apartments in Thailand do not allow pets and therefore I know a lot of people who miss their furry companions terribly. The Purr Cat Café in Thong Lo provides at least a short remedy. The concept is as simple as brilliant. You can cuddle all day long with the cute kittens while enjoying fine bakery treats and refreshing drinks. That didn’t get you yet? There is a playground for the furry pets (and you) and your own cat is also very welcome! They do even plan a “cat hotel”. Cat lovers, spend your next weekend the purrrrfect way! Meow!
This falls under the same category as number 3 but is also absolutely worth mentioning. The foundation aims to improve the welfare of cats and dogs in Thailand, end animal cruelty and create a better livelihood of humans and animals in the communities. They further partnered with the Thai government to stop the illegal dog meat trade into the neighboring countries of Thailand. The most effective way to help the Soi Dogs Foundation is with a one time or monthly donation.
Just as cool as the cat café comes the centric premium dog community space “The Barkyard BKK”. It is a playground where owners can bring their pooches and spend quality time together. They offer training, swimming in the pool and grooming. When you plan a stay outside of your house and can’t take your four-legged family member with you they provide a hotel with a 24-hour service allowing you to connect with your loved one anytime – genius right? The prices are reasonable and depending on the dog’s size.
Probably you all have seen the videos of the lemur monkey being tickled under his arms. Those who have deeper knowledge of these animals make this clip angry. While it might look adorable it is actually life-threatening for the film maker. The slow moris is venomous and can kill humans with its bites when under stress. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project on Phuket and in Chiang Mai is ensuring appropriate treatment of the species.
All workers at the stations are volunteers and they aren’t allowed to touch or approach the animals unless for medical reasons. They are living in cages until they will be returned to the wild. The majority of these animals have been severely abused for people’s amusement. You can often see gibbons as a tourist attraction in main spots in Thailand. Please don’t support this kind of illegal trade with paying money for taking photos! Don’t forget that they are indeed wild animals and a bite can lead to severe consequences. You can report any poaching activity seen or heard to the National Park Headquarters or the Natural Resources & Environmental Crime Suppression Division.
9. Diving on Koh Tao
For people who are into diving Thailand is pretty high up on the go-to lists not only because of the magnificent underwater world but also the comparatively little costs for courses. Koh Tao, a small island down far south in the Gulf of Thailand, is almost exclusively making income from scuba diving tourism. With the drastic increase of visitors in recent times, Mother Nature has been hit hardest as a result of overdevelopment in the area. The New Heaven Diving School offers next to regular diving courses also a marine conservation course where you will understand how to treat marine environment and wildlife and gain hands-on experience on coral reef ecology, research, protection and restoration projects. If you love colorful fishies and want to enjoy them also in the future, go ahead!
Back in 1994 the gaur population in Khao Phang Ma was only at 4-10 gaurs but fortunately since the regrowing forest and better protection of the no-hunting area the gaurs became more than 120 making Khao Phang Ma the best observation area in Thailand to spot gaurs in the wild! Gaurs are also called Indian bison and make the largest extant bovine in the world. You can experience a 3-day trip in the area close to Khao Yai Nationalpark with Khun Tour. A wildlife specialist and photographer will accompany you. Khun Tour aims to help supporting wildlife animals remain protected so that they can live to their full longevity. Check out the activity detail here.
Special thanks to Sonja from Monkimau blog for covering our activity!
Sonja took the plunge in 2014 to move from her home country Germany to the Big Mango and hasn’t looked back since. She enjoys doing fitness and yoga, documenting her adventures on her travel blog and of course wanderlusting on perpetual travels all over Thailand.