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Phuket beach club lambasted over 'party' elephant

Pictures of party goers riding and hanging out with a baby elephant at popular Phuket beach club, Nikki Beach, have drawn sharp criticism after they were posted online earlier this week. Now, the beach club has responded with a statement on Twitter.

By Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Saturday 28 March 2015, 11:58AM

The photos in question, which Nikki Beach have since taken down after they were posted on Facebook, were shared by the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand (WFFT) on social media which prompted a swarm of negative comments directed at the beach club.

Most of the comments lambast the beach club for animal rights abuse, since the baby elephant is seen walking on a narrow wooden bridg over a swimming pool with party goers on both sides in addition to pictures of tourists and models on top of the animal.

On Friday (March 27), Nikki Beach released a statement on Twitter that read: “Elephants are a highly respected and regarded symbol of Thailand. As a global company, Nikki beach respects every country's culture and traditions and as such, we fall into the normal behaviors in usage of elephants to represent their culture. We never intended to be disrespectful and/or offend anyone.”

Still, photos of the baby elephant continue to surface with one website,, posting pictures of the animal seeming to help a man propose to his girlfriend and another where a model is riding the elephant.

Laguna Golf Phuket

Meanwhile, a Facebook group called "Boycott Cikki Beach 'Hotel' Phuket" has surfaced online with a several hundred "likes" already accumulated. 

The WFFT originally posted the photos with this message: “Over the last 24 hours pictures of lavish parties with baby elephants and lots of drunk people have gone viral on Twitter and Facebook.

While on twitter a lively discussion went on, the resort in question 'Nikki Beach Phuket' quickly deleted all photos with the elephants, but we were able to save them before that happened.

Our question now is; What do you think of this? Do you think it is ok to use these young elephants for parties like this, is this legal and/or right? Do you too feel tourists should know better? We would love to hear your views so we can contact Nikki Beach and let them know your opinion. Please share!”



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Conquestador | 30 March 2015 - 07:25:31

We always visited Layan Beach for a nice walk and a thai lunch at the small cafe there. I visited recently and stayed 10 mins. The noise from the music at Nikki was just too loud. How can this stay, yet the Lotus for a quiet beer looking at the sunset or in Greefleaf is not !

Seahorse | 29 March 2015 - 14:03:42

Nikki is a global company . It has effectively annexed the beautiful and once peaceful Layan for its own use. The media fawns over its food  and moronic culture.  Shame on them. The insidious nature of its takeover of one of Phukets last unspoilt beaches  is being ignored. Big business wins again - to profit the few at the expense of the rest. Does no one in authority care about the future of Laya...

Ulli | 29 March 2015 - 09:33:52

The whole club is an annoyance at the former so beautiful Layan Beach. Those responsible respect in no way that many beach goers feel bothered by the loud music. I complained several times and have asked them to lower the music to a tolerable level. In vain!

Horst Lakits | 29 March 2015 - 07:06:37

Good free PR! 

Meabh | 29 March 2015 - 02:38:54

Does any reader know how to make a complaint about the noise pollution? I would love to but don't know who to address my complaint to. | 28 March 2015 - 22:17:32

They should never have allowed this monstrosity to be built where it is anyway, right next to a National Park and on one of Phuket's last quiet and semi-natural beaches.  The place is a disgrace and proof that Phuket's authorities are utterly useless. These pictures only serve to show the type of customers that Nikki Beach Club is aiming at: tasteless, brainless and culturally illiterate.

Island Girl | 28 March 2015 - 19:57:43

Nikki Beach have only to look at their FB page to know exactly how the public feel

Andy | 28 March 2015 - 17:03:33

One only has to look at the monstrosity they built right next door to the National Park Office and hear the music from 300m away to realise that this awful place and its customers do not give a damn for the environment.

CT Resident | 28 March 2015 - 16:05:39

Quite clearly Nikki Beach show as much concern for elephants welfare as they show for the environment - none. The place is an eyesore and the loud music shatters the peace and tranquility of a beautiful National Park. 

Jacqueline | 28 March 2015 - 15:51:53

Elephants were used to help build Thailand and were a respected Animal, today they are kept like rats in a cage and used for only making money. People act like idiots and have no respect for the animal or as to why it is a respected animal.

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