Lanchang is a small village where you can find an elephant sanctuary named Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre or the Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary. The elephant sanctuary was established in 1989 within the Krau Wildlife Reserve, and is managed by the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Here many orphaned elephants are raised and given shelter. Not long after tourists found out about the elephant shelter the town quickly evolved into a popular tourist attraction. Kuala Gandah (Lanchang) is probably the best place on Peninsular Malaysia to come face to face with an elephant.
Rehabilitating and relocating elephants
Mainly due to agricultural development the elephants' natural foraging grounds shrunk smaller and smaller over time. Finding food became more difficult and as a result some of the elephants were found in plantations and sometimes even in the small towns looking for food. As the Asian Elephant is an endangered species; people are encouraged not to kill or hurt the animals but to report them to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks so they can capture, rehabilitate and relocate the elephants to the larger national parks throughout Peninsular Malaysia (like Taman Negara). The past 25 years the staff at Kuala Gandah (currently over 35 people work at the sanctuary) helped to prevent the further decrease of the elephant population by relocating over 400 wild elephants back into the wild. Some might say that the elephant conservation centre is nothing more than a tourist attraction. Though this might be partly true, it also plays a big role into creating more awareness among the public (locals and tourists alike).
Especially fun for kids
Families that are traveling with kids should not miss a visit to Kuala Gandah. Kids will forever fall in love with elephants after they experience the close interaction at Kuala Gandah. Visitors can witness feeding and bathing of the elephants; a great experience especially for children. To minimize stress for the elephants visitors can only see the elephants 2 times a day. Bathing of the elephants is only possible if water levels are high enough. Important to watch is the National Geographic Video documentary that is shown a few times daily; weekdays at 1pm, 1.30pm & 2pm (on Fridays only), weekends at 12.30pm, 1pm & 1.30pm.
How to get to Kuala Gandah
It is roughly a two hour drive from Kuala Lumpur (around 200km). There are organized tours from Kuala Lumpur, though you can also get a taxi or rent a car to drive there yourself. The elephant sanctuary is located along the East Coast Expressway between Kuala Lumpur and the city of Kuantan in eastern peninsula. From the main highway you get off at exit 816 Lanchang Interchange (Lanchang/Raub/Kuala Lipis). From there you can follow the signs to Kuala Gandah (or keep heading towards Lanchang). The sanctuary is opened daily between 10.30 and about 4pm.