The Department of Wildlife and National Parks or DWNP established the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre in 1989. The centre serves as the base for the Elephant Relocation Team, which started the Elephant Translocation Programme in 1974.
Aside from being the base for the translocation team and the home for a number of residents and orphaned elephants, Kuala Gandah also serves as a way to educate the public on the reality of the elephants’ plight in Malaysia. This also acts in support of research efforts into the translocation of elephants and conservation. Visitors are encouraged to view a video on elephant translocation to help them better understand the situation. A tour at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre includes elephant hand feeding, riding, swimming and bathing the elephants in the river. There are about 30 full time and more than 5 contract staff working, living in/near the centre. Water is supplied and piped in from the upper reaches of the cool, clear and clean Sungai Batu waterfalls which lies within the gazetted "Protected Areas " of the Krau Game Reserve, while electricity supply is available on a 24 hour basis.
HOW TO GO THERE?
For those who are not from Malaysia, most tourists opt to go to travel agencies for easy access to the conservation centre. To be honest, not a lot of Malaysians even know about this place but if you still prefer to go there on your own, try this:
Let’s say you are driving from Kuala Lumpur,
- Head for Genting Highlands/Kuantan signages
- Enter KL-Karak Highway via Gombak Toll Plaza.
- Proceed to Kuantan bypassing Genting Highlands direction – enter the tunnel (please switch on the lights when you are passing through for your own safety).
- You will pass Bentong Toll Plaza.
- Proceed towards Temerloh/Kuantan signages (avoid turning into Karak).
- At Karak Toll Plaza, collect card or SWIPE Touch N Go card. After that, you will be entering East Coast Highway.
- Exit at Lanchang/Raub/Kuala Lipis
- You will pass Lanchang Toll where you need to handover the card from the toll plaza before, or Touch N Go card.
- After that, you will pass a T-Junction, a large brown signboard, then turn right.
- Keep on driving and ignore the Kuala Lipis turn off. Keep on driving CAUTIOUSLY because the road becomes smaller although with less traffic. (Advice: WATCH OUT FOR LOCAL TRAFFIC! AND WATCH OUT FOR SHARP UPHILL CORNERS!)
- Hey, hey! You are almost there!
- You will pass a T-junction – DEERLAND to your right and KUALA GANDAH straight ahead!
- Keep on driving the tarred road – WATCH OUT for blind spots and sharp corners – until you see a gated entrance to your right & ENTER – make a sharp left and look for the parking lots!
- There is a local souvenir shop located on the left BEFORE the entrance – do support the local community by purchasing souvenirs from this shop!
- Beware of the speed limit, because this area is almost famous with speed traps. :D
- If you do not have Touch N Go card, please have money ready for the Toll Plaza.
For those who want to go there by public bus, it’s complicated for me to give directions because you will have many stops, and you have to take private cars from Lanchang and it will cost you more. So I suggest that whoever wants to go there, please do so by driving. It’s easier and more practical or just hire a travel agency if you don’t want to take any risks. :p
WHAT ACTIVITIES CAN YOU DO THERE?
- Have you ever taken a bath with an elephant? What? No? Here, you will finally have the chance. This is the most awesome activity that you can do here. Believe me, it’s a once in a lifetime experience! You will have a shower together with the elephants in the river. Yes, of course there will be someone assisting you. :)
- At this place, you can feed those elephants with the food provided. It’s a wonderful moment when you feed them. Automatically, your heart will melt and you will instantly fall in love with the elephants. It’s like feeding your pet cat or dog. Believe me!
- Video documentary shows are also held there. For those who want to know more about elephants, do not ever miss this chance.
- Please leave some donations before you leave the place. It’s not for profit, but for the sake of the elephants lives. Everything is expensive right now and those elephants need help from you guys who visit them.
- FYI, this place is open everyday until 5pm, except on Fridays, when the staff and elephants take a break.
- This place has no entrance fees. :)
Your presence here is not only to gain a memorable experience, but also to get closer to a fellow mammal that merely wants us to understand and help preserve its species!