My Unbelievable Experience at the Elephant Valley Project, Cambodia

When I’m asked what my favourite experience of South EAST Asia has been to date, the answer is easy: the Elephant Valley Project in Cambodia. Walking with, washing and caressing these beautiful and breath-taking creatures will live with me forever, which is why I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the EVP to other animal lovers.

Laughing elephant

Why Choose the EVP?

As an animal rights activist and a true elephant lover, there is nothing more depressing and infuriating than the commercial exploitation of endangered species ,and especially the abusive treatment of captive animals in the circus, which are condemned to miserable lives of confinement, deprivation and social isolation.

Elephants in particular are known for their complex social relationships and their basic needs can never be met in captivity, whether in circuses or zoos. Furthermore, elephants suffer from captivity-induced health conditions, as a result of prolonged chaining and brutal physical abuse.

elephant 1


The largest living land animal in Asia, the Asian Elephant has been listed as an endangered species since 1986, and top elephant behaviorists across the world agree that these majestic and highly intelligent animals can only thrive in their natural environment. If you are a true elephant lover like I am, please choose to never attend a circus show, where the elephants’ natural behavior is unnecessarily thwarted; instead, go and observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat in Asia.

If you are also looking to interact with and learn more about these imposing animals, then I would suggest visiting the awe-inspiring elephant sanctuary and eco-tourism site known as the Elephant Valley Project (EVP). I hope that my unforgettable and rewarding experience as a visitor of the Elephant Valley Project in Sen Monorom, the capital of Mondulkiri Province in Cambogia will inspire you to do the same.

Getting to the EVP

After arriving in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambogia, my friend and I chose to travel to Sen Monorom by minivan ( we took the Kim Seng Express minivan). Approximately 6 hours later ( Sen Monorom is 371 km away from the capital) we reached our destination and then headed to the Green House Restaurant and Bar ( located on the main road in Sen where we had booked a room at their guest house). At 7.30 a.m. we were picked up from the centre of Sen and taken via jeep to the EVP base.

The Elephants

Upon arrival, we filled a visitors’ form and following a quick debriefing on the hill, providing us with additional details about this Cambodian eco-tourism project as well valuable information about health and safety within the elephant sanctuary, we embarked on the eagerly-anticipated journey to get up and personal these noble and majestic albeit endangered land animals. From this picturesque hilly area we hiked out to the lush forest and before we knew it, we walked beside a family of elephants in their natural habitat, where they decidedly belong and observed them interact socially.

That was only the beginning of our exhilarating experience at the Elephant Valley Project.

We accompanied them through the forest right up to the river where we got the opportunity to help the mahouts ( who are Bunong people, animists who are known for their celebration of nature) give the elephants a shower. Washing the elephants is a unique chance that should not be missed while visiting the EVP. We chose to stay overnight at the base camp and we helped out grow supplimentary food for the elephants on the farm.

Visiting the Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri, Cambodia was the experience of a lifetime, and there is no doubt that any true elephant lover who chooses to visit this awe-inspiring sanctuary would feel the same.

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About Ella

Becky, Steve or the other two useless ones (shhh they won't read this) form part of the Openstories team, a collaborative travel blog that we use to dump our ideas, plans and experiences onto the worldwide web. We're honored that you're hear reading this, and we'd love to hear from you. Thanks for dropping by!