Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: Minimum 2 weeks commitment
Start Dates: Project starts each Monday throughout the year
Price: from £995 per week. Check the Prices tab for further information.
- Includes: All food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation and all project related activities
- Does not include: Flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations
- Take care of relocated, injured, ill, previously abused or illegally owned elephants at the sanctuary.
- An unforgettable experience in care taking for elephants.
- Assist the local sanctuary staff by providing an extra hand.
For thousands of years, elephants have been invaluable companions to humans, lending their strength and intelligence to various tasks. Unfortunately, this long-standing relationship has not always been reciprocal, as these majestic creatures often endure abuse and neglect, despite their revered status in Thai culture. Factors such as mistreatment, poaching, deforestation, tourism exploitation, and habitat loss have led to a severe decline in Asian elephant populations, placing them on the brink of endangerment.
In response to these pressing challenges, our project is based in a sanctuary that serves as a haven for vulnerable elephants. Here, the well-being of these remarkable beings takes precedence, and our focus is on working for the elephants’ best interests. It is important to note that elephant riding is not part of our program. Instead, we offer meaningful and respectful interactions with these gentle giants, including activities such as bathing and assisting with their specially curated diet, which often consists of sugarcane and banana plants. During the day, the elephants have the freedom to roam and explore the sanctuary, while in the early evening, they are guided to the forest for further enrichment.
The picturesque mountains surrounding Chiang Mai beckon with their natural splendour, offering a wealth of captivating attractions. Renowned as a hub for Thai handicrafts and adorned with two tribal villages, this city serves as the perfect backdrop for immersing yourself in Thai culture. Our program is a gateway to an authentic Thai experience, where you’ll partake in cultural activities, explore breathtaking mountain landscapes, and discover the heart of Chiang Mai.
Please note that this week is an optional add-on to your Volunteer trip, typically scheduled at the beginning of your journey.
Our program is thoughtfully designed to unveil the essence of Thailand through a spectrum of cultural encounters that will ignite your senses. You’ll have the rare opportunity to actively engage in Thai traditions, from customs and language to the art of crafting local Thai dishes. As you navigate the captivating sights of Chiang Mai, you’ll also delve into the intricacies of Thai culture.
A program highlight is the exploration of Buddhism through visits to revered Buddhist temples, known as ‘Wats,’ where the profound teachings of Thai Buddhism come to life. Scheduled visits to bustling local markets will immerse you in the vibrant Thai way of life, exposing you to an array of delectable culinary delights and unique products.
Join us on this remarkable journey to deepen your appreciation of Thai culture, forge lasting memories, and savor the rich tapestry of experiences that Chiang Mai eagerly awaits to share with you.
- Program Introduction, registration and general info. Introduction to Thai Culture, Do’s and Dont’s
- Thai cooking class and Lunch
- Thai Culture Lesson: Thai history, religion, and customs
- Thai Language Lesson
- Umbrella Village & Umbrella Painting
- Hot spring Water (Hot spring Pool)
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Ratchaworawihan
- Wat Pha lad
- Welcome and Goodbye Dinner
- Lanna folklife museum, Warorrot Market
- Wat Chedi Luang & Night Market
This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
You will have the privilege of spending time alongside experienced mahouts, who have devoted their lives to understanding and caring for elephants. While the sanctuary welcomes short-stay visitors to engage with the elephants respectfully, it is vital to recognise the ongoing support required to ensure the well-being of these magnificent animals. Many of them have endured captivity and have been subjected to laborious tasks such as logging and farming, as well as entertainment purposes like riding and performing in shows. As you explore the sanctuary, you will witness the dedication of approximately 40-50 individuals who work tirelessly to provide care, prepare nutritious meals, assist with bathing rituals, and lovingly observe their behaviour.
Join us in this transformative experience, where you will not only forge a deep connection with these awe-inspiring creatures but also contribute to the ongoing support and preservation of their welfare. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these remarkable elephants and strive towards a more harmonious future for both humans and wildlife.
- Introduction to Asia Elephants
- Learn and Prepare Thai herb medicine for Elephants.
- Clean and Renovate Elephant Area
- Observe Elephants taking Mud Bath
- Clean and Renovate Elephant Area.
- Making Nutrition Ball for Elephants
- Clean and Renovate Elephant Area.
- Learn Mahout Basic Skills.
- Walk with Elephants
- Clean and Renovate Elephant Area.
- Prepare food and Feed Elephants.
- Observing Elephant Behaviors
***This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.***
Travel & Accommodation
Throughout your stay in Chiang Mai, you will be accommodated in a comfortable and well-appointed lodging, equipped with essential amenities including WiFi, hot showers, and fans. Our aim is to provide you with a pleasant and enjoyable experience during your time with us.
In addition to the cozy accommodation, we offer a serene lakeside area that showcases breathtaking natural beauty. Take a moment to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings, allowing the fresh air to rejuvenate your senses and the scenic views to captivate your gaze. Furthermore, our beautiful dining area provides the perfect setting to relax and unwind, offering the opportunity to indulge in conversations with fellow participants over a cup of tea or coffee.
For those seeking recreational activities, we have a table tennis facility available on-site. Engage in friendly matches or simply enjoy a leisurely game, adding an element of fun and camaraderie to your stay.
We strive to create an environment where you can truly unwind and appreciate the natural wonders that surround us. Let this idyllic setting enhance your experience and provide a space for relaxation, connection, and enjoyment during your time with us in Chiang Mai.
Meals served at our accommodation offer a homestyle experience, with a focus on vegetarian-friendly options. Our menu predominantly features traditional Thai-style dishes, which typically include rice or noodles with a variety of vegetables. Occasionally, we also provide meat and fish choices. For dessert, you can enjoy seasonal fruits.
Our meals primarily reflect local cuisine. If you have specific dietary restrictions, allergies, or personal preferences that may not align with the provided local dishes, you may consider supplementing our menu with your own preferred Western-style foods and snacks.
During the trip, you can expect predominantly Thai-style dishes, including vegetarian and fish options, ensuring an authentic culinary experience that embraces the flavours of Thailand.
We aim to provide satisfying meals that cater to different dietary preferences and offer a taste of the local cuisine.
- Minimum age 18
- Be keen and enthusiastic to get involved in the project
- Ability to work within a team environment
- Minimum 1 week commitment
- CRB Police check (or equivalent) showing that you have no previous criminal convictions
- Signed medical form
- Good English skills
- Necessary vaccinations
- Necessary flight & visas
- Full travel & medical insurance. Full assistance will be provided in getting everything you will need ready if you choose our Placement Support Package.
£995 GBP per week
£400 GBP for the optional Culture Week add-on
* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Placements are confirmed with a 1 week deposit
Project Fee includes;
- 24-hour emergency phone
- 24-hour in-country support
- Airport pickup
- In-country support
- All project activities
What’s not included:
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Personal items and toiletries
- Police or background check
- Visa costs (where necessary)
Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.
Premium Support Upgrade
We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.
We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.
Note: Map coordinates are approximate