Posted by: hshlok | January 12, 2010

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is overrated!

Expensive admission

I love the breakfast at Ceylon Continental Hotel in Colombo. It was my first buffet breakfast in Sri Lanka. Anyhow, it was just my second day in Sri Lanka. It was 6 October 2009 !

Three of us had a deal the night before it. We did not want to spend (or waste) more time in Colombo since there was nothing much we can do in Colombo. We left the hotel at 9:30pm.

Our next destination is Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. The elephant orphanage is listed as one of the must-see spots on Tripadvisor forums. I trusted it. We arrived at the place at 12:30pm. Admission fee was SK 2000 (approx. US$ 20). Mr. Sunil told us the price has recently gone up. It was SK1100 a month ago, a 45% increase!Well, it’s the fee for foreigners. Locals only need to pay SK 100 to enter the site.

Elephants were everywhere in the “orphanage”. Beside them, tourists ! Westerner tourists were everywhere. They were busy taking photos with the elephants, adult and baby elephants. Despite an expensive admission fee, tips were required for taking photos with the beasts. We didn’t. Why should we ? We have paid SK 2000 to enter the site.

Bathing time for elephants

Baby elephant feeding show began at 1:15pm. Soon after it, we rushed to a nearby restaurant named Pinnalanda Restaurant to have lunch while waiting to watch the elephants taking bath. Food was terribly awful in the restaurant. A plate of solidified creamy spaghatti Bolognaise cost me SK700 (approx. US$ 7), and the taste was yuck ! At 2pm sharp, approximately 30 elephants were rushed to the river to bathe. Trust me, it was great, but not the food.

After lunch, we walked back to the car park. Along the way, we saw shops selling souvenirs. Among them, poo papers are the most outstanding ones. Right, those are papers made of elephant poo. They aren’t cheap.

I don’t quite like the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. I think it’s overrated (on Tripadvisor forums), and of course, overpriced !



  1. YOu just went recently? my trip was way back in 2004 and I thought it was pricey too….nothing very spectacular other than elephants all over and unique but expensive souveniers ;p

    • Right.. It wasn’t spectacular at all. U were there? for work or leisure?

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