LAOS – Luang Prabang – The Elephants of the Mekong

Manifa is an elephant camp located on the Mekong riverbank on the way towards Pak Ou Caves.

Theme

Family, Sustainable

Country - City

Laos - Luang Prabang

Market segment

Groups, Thematic Leisure

Price Level

$$

Level of difficulties

LEVEL 0

Max pax

6pax for the half-day experience/ 25pax for lunch and elephant meeting

Seasonality

All year round, though some parts of the trail may be slippery during the rainy season

Arrival city

Luang Prabang

Departure city

Luang Prabang

Description

Manifa Elephant Camp is located in the Pak Ou district of Luang Prabang, just 40 min from Luang Prabang city. It is a peaceful jungle retreat along the Mekong River, adjacent to a dense forest for elephants. The camp was founded in 2009 with just two elephants by local elephant enthusiast Vilaluck Vothivong, and now, after 13 years, Manifa has a herd of 17 elephants roaming the 200 hectares of forest.

Guests can meet the elephants and their mahouts (elephant keepers) and enjoy an unforgettable experience interacting with them in their natural habitat and gaining a real insight into the coexistence and cohabitation of elephants and humans in Lao society.

Selling points

  • A sustainable activity that gives travelers a better understanding of the pachyderms and the dangers they face in the wild today.
  • An amazing experience for those who want truly unique and ethical interactions with elephants, who roam free.
  • A way to support a local elephant camp on its journey to be more sustainable.
  • Baby elephants! One of the few places in Laos where it’s possible to meet baby elephants.
  • A half-day afternoon activity that combines perfectly with a river cruise to Pak Ou Caves and a sunset cruise back to Luang Prabang.
  • A chance to enjoy stunning scenery along the Mekong River and delicious fresh food at the river view restaurant.

Level Of The Excursion

Medium – This activity offers tangible positive contributions to the local community, culture and/or environment

The Impact Of This Excursion

Social/cultural Impact

Community welfare and health

Environment Impact

Involving Wildlife

Economic Impact

Local individual benefits

Community benefits

Additional Information

This elephant camp has made big improvements over the past few years and are now showing a lot more commitment to sustainable practices and animal welfare. The elephants roam free most of the time on a plot of over 200 hectares, and are chained at night time with chains of over 100m in length to prevent them from wandering off.

While the camp still offers elephant riding they seem to be slowly moving away from it and replacing it with other, more educational, tours. This is something we wish to encourage and support.

Regarding the elephant riding, while it is often demonized in western culture, riding an elephant submits it to a weight of well below 20% of its body weight, which a human, elephant, horse, or most animals generally can carry. If offered in a careful way so as not to overwork the elephants, it can be a beneficial and stimulating interaction for both the elephant and the rider.

The activities we offer at Manifa focus on the educational aspect rather than on the riding. Our tours are elephant-riding free.

Time And Transportation

From To Km By Duration Road condition
Luang Prabang Pak Ou 35 Boat 1h 30min Wet, it’s a river
Pak Ou Manifa 4 Boat 15 minutes Wet, it’s a river
Manifa Luang Prabang 31 Boat 1h Wet, it’s a river

Timings are based on it being combined with a cruise to Pak Ou Caves in the morning and a return to Luang Prabang by boat at the end of the day.

Duration

  • The private half-day activity includes 2 hours of elephant activities plus lunch.
  • Guests need to be at Manifa by 12:30.
  • The activity finished at around 16:00.

A sample schedule for this activity, combined with a cruise to Pak Ou Caves and then back to Luang Prabang would be as follows:

  • 09:00: Depart Luang Prabang Boat Pier for the boat trip to Pak Ou.
  • 11:00: Arrive at Pak Ou caves.
  • 11:00 – 12:00: Visit Pak Ou Caves
  • 12:00 – 12:15: Take the boat to Manifa
  • 12:30 – 16:00: Elephant Activities and lunch at Manifa.
  • 16:15 – 17:15: Take the boat back to Luang Prabang.

Min pax

1

Max pax

6pax for the half-day experience/ 25pax for lunch and elephant meeting

How to sell it

  • A good choice to include for families wanting to meet elephants with children over 8+
  • A good choice for FIT, soft adventure, small groups of no more than 6 pax for the half-day activity.
  • A good choice for travelers looking for a sustainable elephant option.
  • Good for lower budget clients as it is cheaper than the other elephant camps.

Why this activity

  • Developed as an a way to support this elephant camp on their journey to become more sustainable. While they do still offer bareback riding at the camp they are moving away from this and our groups will only do the walking tour.
  • Promoted by Easia Travel as a sustainable activity without elephant riding and gives guests a strong insight into sustainable development and animal preservation.
  • It is a good product to increase our offer for families and it also provides us with a new way to sell a trip to Pak Ou Caves.
  • Promoted as a learning experience and not only a visit as it is a very interactive and informative experience.

Good to combine with

  • A cruise to Pak Ou Caves in the morning and a return to Luang Prabang by boat at the end of the day

Do not combine with

  • Kuang Sy Waterfall – too far away.
  • Any other elephant camp visits.

Market suggestion

AUSTRALIA

CANADA

FRANCE

UNITED KINGDOM

ITALY

SPAIN

PORTUGAL

BENELUX

SCANDINAVIA

CEE

US

GERMANY

UK

BEST FOR FIT

BEST FOR GIT

Competitor comparison

  • This activity can be offered by other DMCs
  • This camp is also used by EXO, Asian Trails, Nakarath, Laos Mood, ASEV

Pros

  • Easy to organize – the supplier takes care of everything except the boat transfer which we provide.
  • It is good for the image of Easia Travel as we can only be seen to promote ethical elephant camps. By supporting Manifa and their non-riding activities we are encouraging them to move away from elephant riding.

Cons

  • Not an Easia Signature product.
  • The walk can be slippery in the rainy season.

Information

  • Clients will be offered coverall clothes for the walk to keep their clothes clean.
  • Easia needs to arrange the boat to go to the camp (and Pak Ou Caves).
  • The walk is not long – just 2-3km on trails in the forest. It may be uneven in places.

Alerts

  • Remind guests to take a hat and sun lotion as it can be hot and sunny in places on the walk.

Price range

$$

Quotation guideline

On ERP:

  • Luang Prabang > Activity > Manifa Elephant Camp > (Private) HD Afternoon Elephant Walk (max 6pax, incl. lunch but no transfer).
  • Luang Prabang > Activity > Manifa Elephant Camp > Lunch and feed elephants (GIT option) -> we are waiting for the final information and prices for this option

Inclusion

  • Buffet lunch at the restaurant overlooking the Mekong.
  • Elephant activity with a guide from the elephant camp.

Exclusion

  • Boat transfers to and from the elephant camp.

Important notes

  • Transfers provided by Easia Travel. It should be combined with a Pak Ou Cave cruise.
  • The private half-day activity includes 2 hours of elephant activities plus lunch.
  • Guests need to be at Manifa by 12:30.
  • The activity finished at around 16:00.

A sample schedule for this activity, combined with a cruise to Pak Ou Caves and then back to Luang Prabang would be as follows:

  • 09:00: Depart Luang Prabang Boat Pier for the boat trip to Pak Ou.
  • 11:00: Arrive at Pak Ou caves.
  • 11:00 – 12:00: Visit Pak Ou Caves
  • 12:00 – 12:15: Take the boat to Manifa
  • 12:30 – 16:00: Elephant Activities and lunch at Manifa.
  • 16:15 – 17:15: Take the boat back to Luang Prabang.

Special Guide notes

  • Easia guide will need to translate as Manifa only has English-speaking guides for the activity.

Different Choice

These are the alternative elephant camps but they are in a different area and cannot be combined with a Pak Ou cruise like Manifa can.

  • Mandalao
  • Elephant Village
  • Chateau Orientale

 

Contact

  • Address: Ban Xang Hai village, Pak Ou District, Luang Prabang, LAOS​
  • Website: https://www.manifatravel.com/manifa-elephant-camp/
  • Phone: +856 20 97 240 338 / +856 71 254 179
  • Email: [email protected]

English

Half-Day Afternoon Elephant Eco Walk

Arrive at Manifa Elephant Camp and enjoy a buffet lunch served with views over the Mekong river. As you eat you may get a first glimpse of the elephants as they bathe in the river or wander around the camp.

After lunch, enjoy interacting with the elephants in their natural habitat and learning about the unique culture of the Lao elephant-human collaboration that has been going on for thousands of years. Then, join the elephants on a walk through the forest (2-3 km round trip).

If you’re lucky some of the new-born baby elephants might join! The baby elephants at Manifa are from a local elephant breeding initiative in which Mahouts people let their companion elephants into the forest to mate with wild elephants to increase the population of elephants in Laos.

Return to Luang Prabang towards the end of the day.

Meals included: Buffet lunch
Distance of the walk: Approximately 2-3 kilometers / 2 hours total for elephant activities.
Note: Boat transfers provided by Easia. Maximum 6 pax for private tour. Starts at 12:30 and finished at 16:00.

French

Randonnée avec des éléphants (demi-journée, après-midi)

Arrivée au Manifa Elephant Camp et déjeuner buffet avec vue sur le Mékong. Tout en mangeant, vous aurez un premier aperçu des éléphants qui se baignent dans la rivière ou se promènent dans le camp.

Après le déjeuner, profitez de l’interaction avec les éléphants dans leur habitat naturel et découvrez la culture et la collaboration entre les éléphants et les humains au Laos, qui dure depuis des milliers d’années. Ensuite, rejoignez les éléphants pour une promenade dans la forêt (2-3 km aller-retour).

Si vous avez de la chance, l’un des éléphanteaux nouveau-nés pourra se joindre à vous. Les éléphanteaux de Manifa sont issus d’une initiative locale d’élevage d’éléphants, dans le cadre de laquelle des cornacs laissent leurs éléphants de compagnie s’accoupler avec des éléphants sauvages dans la forêt afin d’accroître la population d’éléphants au Laos.

Retour à Luang Prabang en fin de journée.

Repas inclus : Déjeuner buffet
Distance de marche : environ 2-3 kilomètres / 2 heures au total pour les activités liées aux éléphants.
Note : Les transferts en bateau sont assurés par Easia. Maximum 6 pax pour la visite privée. Commence à 12h30 et se termine à 16h00.

Spanish

De paseo con los elefantes (medio día, por la tarde)

Llegue al campamento de elefantes Manifa y disfrute de un almuerzo tipo buffet con vistas del río Mekong. Mientras come, podrá ver por primera vez a los elefantes mientras se bañan en el río o se pasean por el campamento.

Después del almuerzo, disfrute de la interacción con los elefantes en su hábitat natural y aprenda sobre la cultura y la colaboración entre elefantes y humanos de Laos, que se ha mantenido durante miles de años. A continuación, únase a los elefantes en un paseo por el bosque (2-3 km de ida y vuelta).

Si tiene suerte, puede que alguna de las crías de elefante recién nacidas se le una. Las crías de elefante de Manifa proceden de una iniciativa local de cría de elefantes en la que los mahouts dejan que sus elefantes de compañía entren en el bosque para aparearse con elefantes salvajes y así aumentar la población de elefantes en Laos.

Regreso a Luang Prabang al final del día.

Comidas incluidas: Almuerzo buffet
Distancia de la caminata: Aproximadamente 2-3 kilómetros / 2 horas en total para las actividades con elefantes.
Nota: Traslados en barco proporcionados por Easia. Máximo 6 pax para el tour privado. Comienza a las 12:30 y termina a las 16:00.

Italian

Passeggiata con elefanti (mezza giornata, pomeriggio)

Arrivo al Manifa Elephant Camp e pranzo a buffet con vista sul fiume Mekong. Mentre mangiate, potrete vedere per la prima volta gli elefanti mentre fanno il bagno nel fiume o passeggiano intorno al campo.

Dopo pranzo, potrete interagire con gli elefanti nel loro habitat naturale e conoscere la cultura e la collaborazione tra elefanti ed esseri umani in Laos, che dura da migliaia di anni. Unitevi poi agli elefanti in una passeggiata attraverso la foresta (2-3 km andata e ritorno).

Se siete fortunati, uno dei vitelli di elefante appena nati potrebbe unirsi a voi. I vitelli dell’elefante Manifa provengono da un’iniziativa locale di riproduzione degli elefanti, in cui i mahout lasciano che i loro elefanti domestici si accoppino con gli elefanti selvatici per aumentare la popolazione di elefanti in Laos.

Ritorno a Luang Prabang alla fine della giornata.

Pasti inclusi: pranzo a buffet
Distanza a piedi: circa 2-3 km / 2 ore in totale per le attività con gli elefanti.
Nota: i trasferimenti in barca sono forniti da Easia. Massimo 6 persone per il tour privato. Inizia alle 12:30 e termina alle 16:00.

German

Elefantentrekking (halber Tag, Nachmittag)

Sie erreichen das Manifa Elephant Camp und genießen ein Mittagsbuffet mit Blick auf den Mekong. Während des Essens können Sie einen ersten Blick auf die Elefanten werfen, wenn sie im Fluss baden oder durch das Camp spazieren.

Nach dem Mittagessen können Sie mit den Elefanten in ihrem natürlichen Lebensraum interagieren und etwas über die Kultur und die Zusammenarbeit zwischen Elefanten und Menschen in Laos erfahren, die seit Jahrtausenden gepflegt wird. Begleiten Sie dann die Elefanten auf einem Spaziergang durch den Wald (2-3 km hin und zurück).

Wenn Sie Glück haben, gesellt sich vielleicht eines der neugeborenen Elefantenkälber zu Ihnen. Die Manifa-Elefantenkälber stammen aus einer lokalen Elefantenzucht-Initiative, bei der die Mahouts ihre Haus-Elefanten in den Wald lassen, um sich mit wilden Elefanten zu paaren und so die Elefantenpopulation in Laos zu vergrößern.

Rückkehr nach Luang Prabang am Ende des Tages.

Mahlzeiten inklusive: Mittagsbuffet
Entfernung zu Fuß: ca. 2-3 Kilometer / 2 Stunden insgesamt für Elefantenaktivitäten.
Hinweis: Der Bootstransfer wird von Easia durchgeführt. Maximal 6 Personen für die private Tour. Beginnt um 12:30 Uhr und endet um 16:00 Uhr.