Elephant Safari Park Lodge
What We Love
- Up-close-and-personal elephant experiences that you can’t get anywhere else
- Unique setting in a lush sanctuary near Bali’s art and culture hub, Ubud; if you’re looking for beaches stay elsewhere
- Sunset drinks overlooking the lodge’s pond
What To Know
- Family-friendly; the elephant experiences are tailored to all ages
- The hotel can arrange activities like hiking, rafting and mountain biking with parent company Bali Adventure Tours
- The sanctuary is 30 minutes north of Ubud (shuttles to town are available) and 75 minutes from the international airport (airport transfers can be arranged)
- Spa treatments incorporate local ingredients like avocado, aloe vera and ginseng
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
With a stay at Elephant Safari Park Lodge in Taro, you’ll be in a provincial park and minutes from Elephant Safari Park, and close to Tirta Empul Temple. This 4.5-star resort is within close proximity of Tegallalang Handicraft Center and Gunung Kawi Temple.
Make yourself at home in one of the 25 air-conditioned rooms featuring minibars and LCD televisions. Rooms have private balconies or patios. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming is available for your entertainment. Private bathrooms with showers feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers.
Pamper yourself with onsite massages, body treatments, and facials. You’re sure to appreciate the recreational amenities, including an outdoor pool and a fitness center. Additional features include complimentary wireless Internet access, gift shops/newsstands, and wedding services. Guests can get to nearby shops on the complimentary shuttle.
Grab a bite to eat at the resort’s restaurant, which features a bar and a garden view. You can also stay in and take advantage of 24-hour room service. Mingle with other guests at a complimentary reception, held daily. Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Featured amenities include a business center, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a 24-hour front desk. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided for a surcharge (available on request), and free self parking is available onsite.
How to Get There
I highly recommend the elephant bathe & swim!! Such a great experience. Elephants are extremely well cared for. I would definitely go again. So lovely to see the cute little baby and his mumma. See you next time :)
Our Reservation - We had a 2 day reservation to stay at the Elephant Lodge at the beginning of our trip in Bali. I am HUGE on elephants and just love being in their presence! After our initial 2 days, we decided it wasn’t long enough. So we bumped our next reservation another 2 days and extended at the Elephant Lodge. We then left and traveled onto an Ubud city center hotel. While it was nice, it wasn’t the same vibe as the Elephant lodge. After that stay was over, we ended up basically canceling the rest of our trip (Canguu, Singapore, Thailand) and stayed the rest of our trip at Mason Elephant Lodge. Its that good!!!
The lodge and staff - I like to think of myself as an Elephant buff. I too was skeptical of this lodge just from an experience I had in Thailand several years ago where it was a “Sanctuary” that wasn’t really a sanctuary. So walking into this place, I definitely had my guard up just in case. Luckily for us, we had the pleasure of running into the marketing manager on site named Brad. He was a wealth of knowledge and put ease and clarity to everything that you see at the park. If you have questions or concerns people, JUST ASK! I have found that everyone has an explanation for everything. Such as “Swaying Elephants”.. Yes this can mean distress or anxiousness However ,it also can mean they are burning off extra energy, such as a sugar loaded child getting ready to wind down for the night. Or how about this smaller elephant (named Riski) that sways by the feeding gate. I thought it was a concerning site at first. But after being there for over a week.. I realized his behavior was to grab attention of the guests feeding. You see, he is a smaller elephant with a much smaller reach in his trunk. He needs to catch attention so someone will feed him directly, or he gets overshadowed by the much bigger elephants during treats and feeding sessions. Or how about Debi!? Debi is a constant bobble head, as I like to call it. BUT, unless you ask why she does that, you wouldn’t know that Debi was saved as a baby and she had a huge tumor on the side of her head. She was saved and brought into surgery where they SAVED HER LIFE!! But the aftermath remains that she isn’t exactly all there anymore. She Doesn’t really interact with the guests because she can be unpredictable. But ,she does paint! And she settles down and no bobbing while she paints away. Or how about those 5 elephants in the back that are segregated from the rest!? They were also SAVED from near death experiences in Sumatra. However, not all the elephants are friendly enough to be around the public. But they still keep them safe from harm and feed them, walk them and they aren’t alone. It’s a hard situation, sure. But instead of getting rid of the elephants that can’t be in the public, they keep them and still give them everything they need. Thats not abuse. Thats not neglect. The elephants eat over 7 TON a day. That money and food has to come from somewhere!! Just like us, they have to work to keep the elephant lodge open and keep food in their mouths. Humans work to survive and these elephants have to do some mild work as well. The people against the “riding” part of this park. These elephants have to get in their daily exercise and this is a huge part of how they get it in. We aren’t nearly as heavy as you would think to an elephant. Plus, people ride horses… You do the math.
These elephants aren’t FORCED to do anything. If they aren’t feeling like giving rides that day, they unsaddle them and put them back. No rides for the day. They do what THEY WANT to do. There is no punishment inflicted on the elephants. Yes, they carry a medal hammer. But I have not once seen anyone use it in over a week of our stay. Plus its dull and not sharp. I held it in my hands.
It’s more of a safety tool for the elephant trainers. Speaking of elephant trainers… THEY ARE SO GREAT!!! We became very close to quite a few of them during our stay. They are so nice and have been with their elephants for a minimum of 4 years. One was almost 20years. They have a running joke that it is their 2nd wives. Each elephant has its own person. They have a special and unique bond. They are actually very lucky to have such quality one on one relationships like this. The bond is so tight, that the pregnant elephant, Eva, was watched over every night by her elephant trainer. She slept by her side out in the field in case she went into labor!! (Pictured above)
They are all so so good to the elephants. If they see any mistreatment of the elephants, that person is gone instantly.
The rooms - We had a Garden view. It was seriously bomb! You are right in the thick of elephant crossings and close to everything. The rooms are huge and super nice. I don’t know who would actually think otherwise. Every room was nice that we saw on our tour and when we switched out for other rooms as well. Later we upgraded to a balcony view. It was worth every penny!!
The staff - These people are the reason we came back.. And the elephants of course. But everyone treated us like family. By the end of the trip, it was really sad to leave. Thank you to the front desk, Lenny, you are the greatest!! Restaurant gals. Kenny really took care of us. The bartender, Jem! Kuta for being an excellent guide and photographer. Brad, who is constantly filling people with knowledge. The elephant boys - Rudi, Sudi, Su, Fatimas keeper. Everyone made our trip the best trip I’ve ever had. It was an experience to remember and a place I HIGHLY recommend!!!
Restaurants were amazing!! Spa was to die for!! Museums all around. Art museum on site was cool. Tons to do right here on the grounds, we never left once. It was huge!!
AND IF YOU MADE IT THIS FAR IN THE REVIEW..
For those of you that are still left skeptical - On Nov 20th 2019 there is a law book going into affect with 196 rules and laws that every “elephant sanctuary” will need to abide by to remain in business with their elephants all across Indonesia. This book of laws is written based on the way the Mason Elephant Lodge has treated their elephants. This is the only ethical place as of this very moment that has been treating elephants like the majestic creatures they are!!
So eat that Skeptics!!!
Upon arrival, my husband and I were very disapointed and actually made a reservation to stay in Ubud as the accommodation was not pleasent. The room itself was dirty and dingy and the toilet did not flush properly and smelt of sewage and poo. However, this was not the reason for us wanting to leave. The Elephants appearance made me feel personally uncomfortable and depressed.. We went to bed following a mediocre dinner by the Elephants which was even more heart breaking watching them stretch out but confined by a chain. My husband wanted to expirence the elephant ride to dinner but would not do so alone so I accompanied. The mahout said that each elephant has a trainer to which they make a personal bond with and come to understand their characteristics which was reasuring.
Our sleep on the first night was comfortable, we actually slept well to our surprise and we had decided to stay after all and give the place a chance as we checked in late and didn't want to make a judgement on a few hours.
Our room was 'garden view' which I would not reccomed. You will find yourself falling asleep (and waking) to the sound of chains as the elephants walk forward and backwards constantly. I checked out this area at the back, I found 5 elephants through a brown door who were all male. The two smaller elephants would sway side to side constantly, at first I thought this was playful behaviour but the more I visited and watched for 15 minutes at a time, morning and night the more saddened I felt as I came to realise that this is not normal behaviour. The two largest near me had very short chains, the biggest of the two was tangled and couldn't move their front legs. On the morning of check out I sought out a park guide to ask questions. I found a gentleman stretching out in the feeding area. I asked if he spoke English, he shook his head no. So I question the fact that he could understand me, he laughed and said yes, he did in fact speak English. I aksed why there were 5 elephants out the back near my room, he said they are male and more aggressive than female (another review was told it was a sickbay). I asked why the chain was so short, he told me it wasn't. I told him that it was and he said 'no I don't trust you' so basically calling me a liar. I asked him to come and see and he refused and said go an see the manager.
The day before I bumped into the communications and marketing guy who was pleasent and informative. He told me the history of the Elephants and thay they were rescued. I too had already read this. He said that to rescue and protect the elphanets there are compremises, 1 being that they are chained and 2 being the rides. The Elephants are strangers so they have to be chained as they would be territorial and fight or steal food and the rides basically pay for their keep as together they eat 7 tons of food a day. If I'm honest, the park are not consistent in the messages they deliver. One person said each elephant only has 5 rides a day and another said 17. So which is it? Furthermore, it is goverment policy that they cannot be left unnattend so they 'must' be chained but the park are exadirating the time they elephants have to socialise and be free or go for walks without guests on their back.
The Elephants from what I saw look cared for, they are fed and some keepers are generally caring and considerate to them. But other interactions wirh the park guides left me questioning their ethics.
I am not saying the park is inhumane but I feel that thet need to review the way it is operated to provide a happier standard of living for the Elephants. I'm not am elephant expert but I do sponser through WWF and am aware of the conflicts and crises threatening this beautiful species, so yes they are safe but they do not look happy.
I don't regret going, I loved every minute with the Elephants, stroking them, washing them and feeding them until my heart was content but I was also left with alot of guilt in doing so....