Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

One day tour to visit Sri Lankan elephants

Visiting Pinnawala is one of the most popular options to see elephants in Sri Lanka

Organized by:

Luong  · online
Travel consultant of
Aurora Holidays

23 reviews

"It is my pleasure to help people around the world to get better understanding about Sri-Lanka and Vietnam"

Contacts us:

What to expect:

  • Watch elephant bottle feeding
  • Watch elephant bathing in the river
  • Ride elephant in Millenium Elephant Foundation (nearby)
  • Elephant Dung Paper Factory and Elephant Museum (nearby)


The purpose of the orphanage is to providing these elephants with an imitation of natural habitat.

Nevertheless, the center makes an exception for taking elephants to the Ma Oya river twice a day for a bath, and bottle feeding all the babies less than three years old. Usually, mahouts and volunteers will be in charge of this interesting part.

Each animal is also given around 76 kg of green matter a day and around 2 kg from a food bag containing rice bran and maize.

The orphanage is recognized as the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.

Tour to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and nearby places:

Our company - Fasttur will arrange for you a privite tour with comfortable air-conditioned car and English speaking driver to Pinnawala. We also can recommend you some other better service location. The tour can be done from any locations in Sri Lanka and at any time. We usually include Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in the program of Kandy tour.

Tour cost: 

From Kandy - 55 usd/ pax
From Colombo and Negombo - 70 usd/pax
From Bentota and Kalutara - 90 usd/pax
From Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna - 100 usd/pax
From Mirissa, Weligama - 110 usd/pax
From Trincomalee - 110 usd/pax
From Tangalle - 120 usd/pax

*At least 2 traveller going on tour

* To clarify the cost from other locations write or call us.

What is included. Entrance tickets

Included in price:
Comfortable 4-seater car with air conditioning
Gasoline, parking, toll roads
English-speaking driver
Entrance fees

Not included:
Elephant riding
Food and personal expenses


The purpose of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

The primary purpose: to provide a lifeline to the orphaned baby elephants and adult elephants lost in the wilderness.

There have been many cases when the elephants need to be supported and rescued. For example, the orphaned baby elephant fell into pits and lost out of the herd, or its mother had been killed.

 The elephants get chances to mate in the free movement of the herd within the enclosed land of the orphanage. In 1984, the first baby elephant of Pinnawela was born.

Opening time of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage:

The Orphanage opens at 8:30am in the morning and closes at 6pm daily. Bottle feeding is at 9:15am, 1:15pm & 5pm and bathing times at the river is at 10am and 2pm.

The bathing hours are followed up by the feeding hour at the main center of the orphanage. Baby elephants are bottle fed. Selected visitors have a chance of bottle feeding milk to the baby elephants.

Pinnawala Entrance Ticket Fees

Foreign Adult – approx 16 USD
Foreign Child – approx  8 USD

* a special 50% discount for the citizens of SAARC counties.

 Tips for visiting Pinnawala:

Pinnawala village is regarded as an elephant place. Apart from Elephant Orphanage, there are the Maximus Elephant Dung Paper Factory and the Millenium Elephant Foundation and dozens of private elephant owners.

  1. In Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, the major activity is clearly elephant sighting. Visitors can feed elephants, see elephants bathing in the river but can not ride the elephants here.

    Tip: According to our customers’ feedback, the Orphanage is quite commercial. They don’t treat the elephants well enough.
    The activities here are pretty boring as same as in an ordinary zoo. If you particularly want to do elephant sighting especially in their natural habitat, the better alternative is going on safari.

  2. . In Millenium Elephant Foundation, visitors can take part in some activities:

    • Try out “Elephant Walk Experience”: about 30-minute walk with an elephant around the grounds watching and observing the elephant accompanied by guide; bathing the same elephant.
    • Join “Volunteer Program”
    • Ride an elephant
    • Wash an elephant’s back with a coconut husk
    • Visit on-site museum
    • Feed the elephants

    Tip: Same as Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Millenium Elephant Foundation is generally said to be commercial and elephant abuse. Especially, elephants are forced to make many circles per day for elephant riding in the same path with walls alongside.
    And of course, if you do elephant riding here, your turn will be one circle around 10 minutes. It is not a good choice for animal lovers to visit this place.

  3. In the Maximus Elephant Dung Paper Factory, visitors will have a chance to learn how Elephant Dung Paper is produced.It is free to visit this attraction, so you should take it into account

    Maximus Elephant Dung Paper Factory produces 100% recycled handmade products from elephant dung and office waste paper manufactured in Sri Lanka
    Elephants are not carnivores, so they consume a diet of fruit, veg, palm leaves, bark etc.

  4. With local private elephant owners in this area, elephants are seen as their pets living in better conditions. Here, visitors can feed, wash elephants. Specially, you can ride an elephant to the jungle or river or wherever you want not just a boring path and the amount of riding time can be up to one hour. In these places, you definitely get better services and more attentive staff. 

    Tip: It is friendlier for you to visit these houses than The Orphanage or The Foundation. Moreover, you will have more time to interact with the elephants, enjoy your private time and don’t have to stand in the queue to wait for your turn. Last but not least, you can see better elephant care here as well as not feel guilty to visit this place.


Excursion features

Private tour
For ready-made groups of 1-8 people

Can start any day
This tour is not tied to specific dates, you can start on any convenient day

Variable program
The program can be changed and customized for you

Possible with children
The tour is recommended for travelers with children

Start from anywhere
We pick up from any hotel

Comfortable car
Transport: air-conditioned car or minivan

How to get to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage:

Pinnawala (Pinnawela) Elephant Orphanage is situated in the village Pinnawala in the district of Kegalle at a distance of 90km from Colombo and 37km from Kandy. Through the A1 Colombo-Kandy main road, you can easily reach Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

From Colombo:

  • By train: Take the train towards Kandy and get off at Rambukkana – the closet railway station to the village Pinnawala [about 2km), then catch a bus towards Kegalle or take a tuk-tuk to reach there.
  • By bus: Catch the bus from Colombo to Kandy and get off at Kegalle, then take another bus towards Rambukkana.
  • By private car: Book a private car with driver to visit Pinnawala is the most comfortable and flexible options.

From Kandy:

  • By train: Take train towards Colombo and get off at Rambukkana and take bus towards Kegalle.
  • By bus: Take the bus from ‘Good shed’ bus stand to Kegalle, Colombo or Negombo and get off at junction to Rambukkana (4km before Kegalle) and switch to the bus to Rambukkana. Total journey takes around 1.5h.
  • By private car: Book a private car with driver to visit Pinnawala is the most comfortable flexible options.

Reviews about the organizer




I, as a professional wildlife photographer, traveled to Sri Lanka with some unusual requests. Igor helped not only to plan the route through the national parks and provided a very good driver, but also helped to find professional ornithologists in all the necessary locations.
We traveled to almost all national parks - Udawalawe, Minneriya, Yalu. We went to Sinharaja. There are many elephants and birds everywhere. Yala confirmed its reputation - here we managed to see leopards, however, unfortunately - very far away. I really liked Khabarana - the best place for shooting birds that you can find. We took a half-day ride to Wilpattu - a little-known park among tourists, which Igor recommended to me. The park itself is beautiful, comfortable, good paths, it is clear that they are taking care of it. You can definitely put it on a par with Yala. Unlucky to see leopards, but lucky to see Himalayan bears and giant squirrels. Of the minuses in Wilpattu - the complete absence of normal hotels near the park. I would not advise anyone to stay here overnight.
The rain spoiled the experience a bit. Complicated filming in Sinharaja. It is a pity that because of the rains it was not possible to shoot in the forests in the Kandy region. If you go to Sri Lanka for the sake of animals and national parks, you still need to take into account the season. But anyway, a huge thank you guys for organizing! With all the difficulties, it was thanks to them that we managed to squeeze the maximum out of this trip. Organization at the highest level - the guys will solve any problems, always in touch, find hotels in the right places at any time, organize transport, professional guides and ornithologists will prompt. Definitely 5+




Good afternoon, the tour went great. Very good guide, we will recommend you to all our friends. THANK YOU!