THE MIDDLE WAY

OUR PHILOSOPHY

"The Middle Way"

While the market has shifted towards a pure “no riding” philosophy, we have seen the effect on the local culture that this is having.
We noticed that the bond and traditions between mahout (elephant rider) and elephant, was slowly disappearing.

“Elephant Shelter” has decided to go in a different direction. Instead of banning our mahouts from riding their elephants, we are
comfortable to let them continue their traditional ways.

Whilst we still ban tourist rides, the use of the bull hook and any physical forms of control, we believe that the close contact between the Mahouts & owners of our elephants and us, has meant that we have been able to both gain from their knowledge and also be able to educate them about alternative options from logging.

We have learnt a lot from the owners of our elephants, including the
connection between a mahout and his elephant, which is why we so strongly want to keep some traditions alive.

We hope that this can filter down to newer generations of mahout to create a much more gentle form of elephant ownership that can last for generations.

All of our different elephant activities involve the local
communityand respect sustainable and ecological principles.

1998
Beginnings
Frustrated with the complacency of working a government job in Germany, Markus Peschke could not ignore his inner voice any longer. That voice was screaming “Adventure!” A holiday trip to Laos in 1998 was all he needed to make the decision to radically change his life.
1998
1998
Indochina Spirit
Frustrated with the complacency of working a government job in Germany, Markus Peschke could not ignore his inner voice any longer. Braving the tangles of red tape, he opened the Indochina Spirit Restaurant in Luang Phabang in 1999. The restaurant since has become a landmark in downtown Luang Phabang for tourists and locals alike . In the following years, Markus has set up several other businesses, including Tiger Trail Outdoor Adventures, the Lao Spirit Resort, Elephant Village, Shangri Lao, and the MandaLao.
1998
2002
Tiger Trail
I fell in love with elephants and started to take them from the logging industry to work with tourists in 2002 with my former company Tiger Trail. During this time, many local business people would not give me a chance. There had been others who started before me and had ordered private rides at the Tad Kuang Si waterfall, however they had to stop because of lack of tourists.
2002
2005
Elephant Village
It was and still is, extremely cost intensive to look after elephants and so money had to be raised so that we could support their new lives in comfort. Nowadays the situation has changed for the better and elephant rides are not attractive any more. Luckily, many travelers are now much more interested in supporting businesses with an ethical background. Therefore, it was a logical move that I, after Elephant Village where we sold in this time only rides, started with an entirely no riding concept with a new project and under another name.
2005
2011
Shangri-Lao
Interested in combining luxury and ethical elephant tours, I discovered a secret route last mapped by a French explorer over 180 years and decided to incorporate it into the Shnagri-Lao option.
2011
2016
MandaLao
After leaving Laos for some time, I decided to embark on creating a truly unique non riding experience and created MandaLao.
2016
2017
Chateau Orientale
After deciding to part ways with MandaLao, Chateau Orientale was the next project that is still a fantastic and unique location for the first ever E-Mountain biking tours as well as other adventure activities in the jungles of Luang Prabang.
2017
2018
Elephant Shelter Laos
After finishing the set up of Chateau Orientale, I was inundated with calls from mahouts desperate to do something other than logging with their elephants. This led me to spin off Elephant Shelter Laos into its own, unique option still under the Chateau Orientale group.
2018

As part of Chateau Orientale, we have been in Luang Prabang and Laos for nearly 20 years and have a passion for the people and the nature.

Absolutley NO Riding

All of our elephant based adventures do NOT involve riding of any kind. This also includes a complete ban on the bull hook and any other form of physical control.

Comminity Minded

Our "Middle Way" emphasizes not only the welfare of our elephants, but also the welfare of the local villages of ban Xieng Lom. We are always learning from them about how to preserve this beautiful land.

Value

Even though it costs a lot to look after our elephants, our parent company, Chateau Orientale, helps to subsidize the cost with other interesting tours and our luxury resort.

Contact us to find out how you can discover the ancient connection between humans and elephants