FAQs

DATES & RESERVATIONS
WE ARE NOW FULL FOR ALL OF 2015 and January, February and March 2016
To check available dates, see > calendar
To make a reservation, please email > katherine@blesele.org

THE LOCATION
What airport is closest to BLES? BLES is located 8km from the village of Baan Tuek in Sukhothai, North Thailand > Google Map The nearest airport, Sukhothai, is one of the most beautiful in Asia and an hours drive from BLES. The short flight, less than an hour, with Bangkok Airways leaves twice daily, seven days a week from Bangkok to Sukhothai and Sukhothai to Bangkok. We’ll pick you up at the Sukhothai airport.

Can I drive to BLES? It is possible to drive to BLES, however, we are off the beaten track. It’s easy to get lost, and as no one in the village speaks English, asking for directions may be difficult.

Can I use public transport? Buses are the cheapest mode of transportation from Bangkok; the trip takes approximately 5–6 hours. Bus and train service are available to Ultraditt and we will provide shuttle service from there.

THE COST & PAYMENT
What are the guest rates? The fee per guest per night is 5,000 baht (all inclusive, excluding alcoholic beverages). The fee includes: pick-up and drop-off from Ultraditt bus/train stations and Sukhothai airport; all meals, including meals at local restaurants; internet access; laundry service; unlimited elephant time; and lots of fun and laughter!

Do I need to make a reservation? YES. Our three guesthouses accommodate two people each. To be on the safe side, please make your reservation as far in advance as possible. We are typically booked six months ahead.

Does BLES accept credit cards? NO. We are not setup to accept credit cards. Payment must made in full in Thai baht upon time of arrival.

Do I need to send a deposit? YES. We require a non-refundable deposit of 5,000 baht per person that can be made on-line through the donation link on each page. We will hold reservation dates for ten days. If the Paypal deposit has not been received during that time, the date confirmation will be forfeited. > Currency Converter

THE ACCOMODATIONS
What are the accommodations like? Tucked into a nook of banana trees, the guesthouses at BLES are the perfect place to relax and watch elephants from a distance. Our three traditional teak cottages have wrap-around porches and modern bathrooms, featuring a unique one-way glass wall. Only a few steps away from the main meetinghouse, the cottages are decorated with locally-made textiles and furnished with custom furniture crafted from wood gathered on the BLES property.

Are meals provided? Yes. If you’re interested in a specific Thai specialty, please let us know. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions or allergies. Our staff is experienced in cooking vegetarian meals and is eager to experiment with something new. Foods are prepared using only the freshest local and organic ingredients, many of which are gathered on BLES property. Breakfast and lunch is served in a bamboo hut with thatched roofing, facing the elephants’ favorite bathing pond. Dinner is typically held in the open-air main meeting room.

THE PARTICULARS
Is there an age requirement? No. Our guests’ ages have ranged from 9 months to 85 years. Elephants are for everyone, and we will take care of all your needs to ensure your comfort throughout your stay.

Is there internet access? Yes and you are welcome to take advantage of our wireless service.

Is there an ATM? Yes. The closest ATM and bank is a 30-minute drive from BLES.

Is there a safe? Yes. We have a safe for our guests’ valuables.

Will I get a signal on my mobile phone? It is possible to get a signal at the Sanctuary — if you don’t mind climbing to the top of the mountain! However, we do have a landline available for emergencies.

THE VISIT
How long do people normally stay? From three to five days is typical. There should be no concern about repetition of activities as every day at BLES is an adventure! Ninety percent of our guests are repeat visitors.

Are there any other animals at the Sanctuary? Yes. At BLES we believe all animals should be cared for in a loving and considerate way. In addition to the elephants, BLES is home to six dogs, nine cats, a bird, and three cows — all rescued by Katherine and her team.

Does everyone speak English? No, but most of the staff understands basic English. They are welcoming and do their best to make our guests comfortable. Katherine, the founder of BLES, is fluent in Thai and is available during the day to break down any communication barriers.

When should I plan to arrive? The programme starts when you get here, so there is no need to worry if your transportation is delayed.

What will I do at BLES? Guests are involved in all aspects of Sanctuary life. Our activities are seasonal, to name a few: collecting elephant food from the jungle; maintaining herding areas; walking the elephants to grazing grounds; repairing elephant pens; scrubbing and washing the elephants; walking the elephants to swim in the river; shopping in local markets; bathing dogs; befriending village families; observing the elephants in their bathing pool; hiking with the mahouts to recover the elephants from release sites; planting trees and vegetation.

How should I pack? You are advised to bring sensible clothes that you don’t mind getting muddy or torn. Long trousers are best suited for the high grasses and bushes. Keep in mind that the Thai sun is fierce and requires protection. Clothing should be practical.

A stay’s recommendation:

  • 2-4 pairs of lightweight, non-synthetic, long trousers
  • 2-4 long-sleeved, lightweight, non-synthetic shirts
  • 2-4 t-shirts (non-synthetic shirts)
  • 1 pair of waterproof flip-flops or sandals
  • 1 pair of trainers
  • hat
  • lightweight jacket, polar fleece or sweater
  • suntan lotion
  • insect repellent without DEET
  • Thai phrase book
  • wildlife books or DVDs (we have a collection in all languages and greatly appreciate any donations)

Banner photograph: Peggy Dyer

Snapshots

  • Morning chores at BLES provide opportunity to get friendly with one its inhabitants.
  • Guesthouses are perfectly sited for guests to relax and watch the elephants.
  • A guest shares a moment of surprise with one of our elephants.
  • Traditional Thai water jugs welcome arriving guests.
  • The elephants lounge in their favorite mud bath. Photograph: Nancie Severs
  • A guest with bananas becomes an instant best friend.
  • Imagine a world without elephants.
  • Our Ganesha shrine.
  • One of the many lovely paths throughout the Sanctuary.
  • Main meeting house with butterfly dining table.