Volunteer Experience | Environmental & Wildlife

Thailand: Volunteer with Elephants

Chiang Mai, Thailand


Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Duration: 1-12 weeks commitment

Start Dates: Project starts on a Saturday with set start dates throughout the year. Check with us when applying.

Price: from £1,695 for the first 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


  • Learn about the history, behaviour, training, biology and social interaction of elephants from the local Karen community
  • Become culturally aware living among an ethnic minority village and learn the local language Pakinyaw to assist you in your immersion into a different culture
  • Have the incredible opportunity to observe Asian Elephants in their natural habitats and social groups rather than in unnatural, damaging and often solitary environment
  • Teach English at the local school and participate in other community activities which will improve your own confidence and your relationship with the community
  • See the benefits of our ethical elephant tourism model in the elephants’ physical and psychological health (This is an ethical programme that does not involve elephant riding)
  • Living in a small, secluded community really encourages you to forge a unique relationship with your homestay family and mahouts as well as other volunteers and interns from all around the world
Costs Explained


Travel to Northern Thailand and join this ethical volunteer project aimed at monitoring elephants in their natural living environment.  The project was started by the village to find sustainable ways to keep their elephants, who have been relieved from working in the tourism industry, in the forest. As a volunteer you can learn about elephant behaviour and contribute directly to the elephants’ wellbeing by providing working alternatives for their owners, mahouts and locals, allowing the elephants to live in the forest. You will observe elephants alongside mahouts who draw on generations of knowledge about elephants.

This program contributes to local conservation and globally to Sustainable Development Goals #4 Quality Education, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #13 Climate Action and #15, Life On Land, as set by the United Nations.

Daily Life

The main focus of this program will be monitoring a semi-wild herd of elephants who have previously been relieved from tourist camps. Volunteers and interns are encouraged to get involved with community initiatives alongside their conservation work.

  • Assist with tracking the elephants’ rehabilitation and work alongside mahouts (traditional elephant keepers) and other locals to establish alternative livelihoods.
  • Hike each day with the elephants & collect data on their behaviour
  • Discover the unique culture of the Karen community, and the lush mountain forests of Northern Thailand in your free time.
  • Biodiversity Hikes where you will be collecting data on birds, insect sampling, camera trap surveys, night hikes & medicinal hikes depending on season.
  • Community Work may involve teaching English to local children and other community members, women’s empowerment initiatives, income generating activities

You can also expect to get involved in various cultural as well as social activities

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accommodation

Accommodation & Food:

First night accommodation is in shared rooms with shared bathroom facilities.

In the village, each volunteer has their own room in a local homestay. This will either be in the homestay with the family (private room) or in a private hut away from the main house. Participants will also be given at least one base duty day whilst on project to help keep base hygienic for everyone to use.

All meals are provided in the village. There is a small coffee shop in the village where you can buy tasty coffee and basic snacks.

Health & Hygiene:

The work we contribute to across the globe remains important and new measures allow our participants to continue to join our programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. Changes to our existing protocols have been made by our health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities. Please inquire for more information on the protocols. 


Local field staff are a great source of information for sightseeing activities. Weekends are free for you to explore the beautiful sights and beaches of Thailand, the possibilities are endless!

Fundraising Help


  • 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.
Premium Support Upgrade


  • 1 week – £1,695
  • 2 weeks – £1,945
  • 3 weeks – £2,195
  • 4 weeks – £2,445
  • 5 weeks – £2,695
  • 6 weeks – £2,995
  • 7 weeks – £3,195
  • 8 weeks – £3,395
  • 9 weeks – £3,645
  • 10 weeks – £3,945
  • 11 weeks – £4,145
  • 12 weeks – £4,395

* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Placements are confirmed with a 20% deposit.

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes;

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Airport pickup
  • Online program training before program start date:
    • Pre Departure Orientation (1 Hour)
    • Program Specific Training (1-5 Hours) 
    • OPTIONAL: Wildlife Conservation Online Course (10 – 15 Hours)
  • In-country support
  • All project activities

What’s not included:

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • 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