Spoiler alert – It’s a Nay.
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is on every travellers to-do list, especially when they’re travelling to Kandy. Before I begin putting down my thoughts, I just want to say that this is not going to be a cry for animal cruelty piece. I’m not going to advise travellers not to go here because at the end of the day my experiences are my own and I want to put down what I derive from them.
So let me begin; I visited the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage when I was travelling to Kandy and almost immediately I wanted to see this place cause it’s blatantly advertised everywhere you go. And since it was the monsoon season, it would be a great time to take pictures as well.
I headed out in the morning and it didn’t take me that long. Now here’s the deal, the price for foreigners at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a whopping 2500 Sri Lankan Rupees. This is expensive but I wanted to see the orphanage anyway so at that time it didn’t matter.
I can safely say that you can finish this tour in about 45 minutes as compared to the Botanical Gardens and that for me is not value for money.
As soon as you enter, there’s a walk to the main pits. Here they bring out the elephants so that you can take pictures.
I love elephants, I really do but the elephants at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage seem bored out of their mind. And who wouldn’t be? There’s nothing to do there. You can feed the elephants and give them a bath, probably bag in a ride and that’s it. The baby elephants seem almost scared actually. Some of them are tied with a big fat chain around their ankles.
The caretakers use sticks to make these elephants lie down and I’m guessing this was mainly done due to their aggressive nature but you can sense when an animal is not happy.
Another point to be noted is that the elephants are taken for a bath to the river at 2pm so if you reach earlier than that say about 12pm then you’ll just have to sit and wait it out. Better get a crossword puzzle or some book to read while you wait in agony.
In conclusion, I personally won’t visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage again simply because it does not justify the price. You can finish the tour in 45 minutes tops. There’s so much more that you can do with that kind of money in Kandy.
So yea, Nay to Pinnawala.
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