Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is located in Pinnawala village. Around 86km north east from Colombo in Sri Lanka.
How to get to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
The fun and most scenic route is by train, which allows you to mix in with the locals and get a true taste of the Sri Lankan lifestyle. Imagine people hanging out open doors, locals walking up and down the aisles selling hot Sri Lankan delicacies. It is truly an experience not to miss! The closest train station to Pinnawala village is Rambukkana Railway Station.
You can also get there by car which should take around 2-2.5 hours from Colombo. The main roads and motorways are pretty good.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Price
From what we experienced, it is incredibly cheap to catch the train. For a standard non-reserved ticket you will pay around LKR120 ($1 AUD) per person. The price goes up if you want 2nd or 1st class tickets. Maximum you should pay is around $10AUD.
In regards to the elephant orphanage, you will pay LKR2500 ($20AUD) for an adult and LKR1250 ($10AUD) for kids. This is for a full day Elephant park ticket.
Where to stay
There are a few choices when it comes to hotels in Pinnawala Village. We opted to stay within the elephant park itself at Hotel Elephant Park, if you stay here you do not need to purchase an elephant park ticket and you get to watch the elephants bath in the river from your balcony or the restaurant deck. So amazing!
How much time do you need there
I would recommend staying for 1-2 nights and/or 1 full day (which is what we did) It is a very small village with not a lot going on. You could easily tick off the elephant park, the zoo and a walking tour with the elephants in 2 days.
When is the best time to go
We visited Sri Lanka at the beginning of May, which is the beginning of their the low season. I believe you can visit Pinnawala elephant orphanage all year round. The perks of low season was that the prices were cheaper and there are fewer crowds! Perfect if you ask me.
What to do there
You can watch the elephants for hours! Check out the local zoo. Pay for a walking tour with the elephants at the orphanage as well as feed and wash them yourself.
Why should Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage be on my bucket list?
Because these baby elephants are the most beautiful and majestic animals we have ever met. The orphanage was founded to care and protect the wild elephants that are found wandering in and around forest in Sri Lanka. There are very mixed reviews about this place so I suggest you really add it to your bucket list to see for yourself. We loved it. We did not see any cruelty towards the elephants at all.