Program Details

  • Program Type: Volunteer
  • Location: Thailand
  • Starting Price: EUR 1,770.00

Travel to Thailand's Chiang Mai Province and volunteer with elephants rescued from working in the tourist industry.

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  • Learn about elephants from the local Karen community, who have worked alongside elephants for centuries
  • See the elephants in a more natural setting, interacting with the forest, the mahouts and each other as a semi wild herd
  • Learn about elephant history, behaviour, training, biology, social interactions and more
  • Take part in biodiversity programs and nighttime wildlife surveys

The population of Asian elephants and their habitat is rapidly declining. With less than 1,000 left in the wild in Thailand, but around 3,000 in captivity, we are one of the few viable alternatives to the reality of their domesticated future within detrimental tourist camps.

Please note, this is an ethical volunteer program and we do not partake in riding elephants, demonstrating unnatural skills, or interacting hands-on with the elephants more than necessary.

Your contribution will help to keep these elephants in protected forests, continue the conservation of these beautiful animals and their habitats, provide funding to keep the project running, and offer alternative livelihoods to the local community. The goal of this project is to have semi-wild herds of elephants living, socializing, and foraging in their natural habitat, supervised by their mahouts around their local village.

Our volunteer project aims to provide an alternative way for the elephants to bring in money for the local village while continuing to lead healthy lives that will ensure their long term conservation and survival.

A Typical Day 

You will quickly learn that village life takes its own pace, rising with the sun in the morning and relaxing later in the day. After volunteers and staff convene at base early morning for a shared breakfast and quick morning meeting about the day’s activities, the mahouts lead groups of volunteers and staff out to where the elephants have stayed overnight in the forest.

Occasionally you will have the opportunity to assist with a quick but thorough health inspection of the elephants, providing a few minutes of close contact time to truly appreciate the beauty and size of our elephants. The rest of your hike involves following the elephants as they move through the forest, socialising and foraging as they would naturally. During our time observing the elephants in the forest, interns and long term volunteers collect data on their social interactions with one another and what food sources they are using, as well as survey forest biodiversity such as gibbons, deer, snakes, birds, and a variety of insects and spiders.

Volunteers will also have the opportunity to occasionally have lunch in the forest. Not only will we bring our packed lunches to share with the group in the forest, but volunteers are encouraged to assist the Mahouts in cooking a few more dishes in the field using all natural materials. After adequate time to observe the elephants and eat lunch, we hike back to the village for the rest of the day’s activities.

Afternoons in the village vary every day of the week, with opportunities to get involved in the community and build relationships among the villagers, fellow volunteers, and the staff team. Volunteers are highly encouraged to help teach English at the local school, weave baskets with a local community member, play football with the Mahouts, cook with their homestay families, and make the most of such an amazing project in such a remote and beautiful area. We also work with women in small women's groups and local children at the nursery! 

Volunteers typically work Monday through Friday, with Saturday and Sunday being either travel days back to Chiang Mai or as days off to relax around the village. Your accommodation is very basic within the traditional community, so you should be prepared to adapt and appreciate living conditions that are sure to be very different than your home country.

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  • Bradley McCormack

    « Volunteering in Thailand was an incredible experience! I worked on the elephant project for two weeks and had the time of my life. The staff were fantastic and went beyond their job requirements to ensure our stay was safe, including organizing our weekend activities. I recommend volunteering in Thailand, and further encourage people to work on the elephant project as it is an incredible experience, being up and close with elephants every day. »

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services2
  • 4-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Comprehensive training program that encompasses theory lectures, group study and field practice
  • Required transportation for the duration of your stay
  • Your own room within homestay

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Terms and conditions for volunteers

  • Up to date CV/ resume
  • Copy of return flight itinerary
  • Police clearance
  • Basic level of English; understanding and speaking
  • Acceptance subject to availability of position

Payment & Cancellation

The non-refundable deposit payment is due within 48 hours of notice of acceptance onto the program. Deposits are currently €300(or equivalent) or €900 (or equivalent) for Programs costing €5000 (or equivalent) or more, or for Programs with a duration of 90 days or more.

For Programs with a deposit of €300 or equivalent 50% of the balance will be due 16 weeks before departure and the outstanding balance must be paid by the Participant no later than 10 weeks prior to departure. For Programs with a deposit of €900 or equivalent 50% of the balance will be due 20 weeks before departure and the outstanding balance must be paid by the Participant no later than 12 weeks prior to departure.

For Programs with a deposit of €300 or equivalent the Participant will be entitled to cancel at any time up until 16 weeks before departure. For Programs with a deposit of €900 or equivalent , the Participant will be entitled to cancel at any time up until 20 weeks before departure. In the event of timely cancellation, the Participant shall not be entitled to a refund of the deposit, but will be entitled to a refund of any other monies paid. All refunds are subject to an administration fee of €15, or equivalent. In the event of cancellation after the deadlines above, the Participant shall not be entitled to a refund of any monies paid.


Our local charity relies on travellers to volunteer on various schemes around the world. We place volunteers into local communities and projects, assisting in building projects and allowing travellers to contribute to a growing community as well as making new friends.

The organisation is non-profitable and always ensures that all funding goes directly into the projects. The fee price for the volunteer experience will cover your accommodation and transport as well as a donation the projects.

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