If I could choose a wild animal encounter, then it would be one with an elephant. I had this in mind when in Bali and noted it would be a great experience to go for an elephant ride in Ubud. I was super excited to discover  Bali Star that offers a number of tourist and adventure activities. I decided to take a trip into the Ubud forest to visit this elephant sanctuary.

Depending on your location, you can also get pick/drop off service to your hotel (I was in Kuta). Once arriving at this panoramic location, I immediately needed to pull put my camera and start snapping photos. At the same time, I was watching the elephants pass by during their rides with guests. Elephants are more amazing in person and this is the only way to capture their real beauty.


Prior to the elephant ride, there will be other activities to keep you occupied. I had the chance to pet a couple of adorable young elephants (featured in first photo) and you can also feed them straw. Once you have made your rounds to see the baby elephants, you can also visit the Pod chocolate factory (across the way).

I got a quick overview of how raw cacao beans are processed into pure chocolate and even got to taste the natural cacao bean (second feature photo). The best part are the endless chocolate samples at the Pod shop. I have to admit I indulged here and was almost too full for lunch later. It was worth sampling though and I quite liked the flavors of cinnamon, goji berry, and banana chips.


Finally, it was my turn to experience the elephant ride and I was ready to go. My elephant “driver” was very friendly and informative. The ride was about 30 minutes and circled the sanctuary. I was just really happy to connect with this animal and experience its majesty. The elephants only do a handful of rides in a day and are well-treated. Tourists can also purchase goodies to feed the elephants once the ride is over.

The ride goes by quickly, however, it is still one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences. Afterwards, you can settle down for a 3-course lunch at the outdoor restaurant still in plain view of the elephants.

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