insyte to the programme

thailand elephant sanctuary

“10/10 My time at the elephant sanctuary will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for the wonderful experience and helping me create good memories. I couldn’t be happier with my experience with the elephant sanctuary. I enjoyed the elephants mostly, obviously ! They are so gentle and wise. The people who run/work at the sanctuary were just so generous, kind and considerate. I made some great friends and the accommodation was great - who else gets to wake up to elephants walking past their windows!?” Madeline July 2019

Get up close to Thailand’s elephants in this amazing sanctuary where retired and rescued elephants (due to age, ill health, disability, abuse or illegal ownership) now find a forever home. The elephants can freely roam around the sanctuary by day, and then are taken to the forest in the early evening.

You will be spending time alongside experienced mahouts, who invest their entire lives gaining an understanding of the elephants and how best to care for them. You will get the chance to experience and bond with these gentle giants by feeding and bathing them, and by swimming with them ! Here, we work for the elephants, not the other way around. As at all of our programs worldwide, there is no elephant riding here. Kanchanaburi is truly one of Thailand’s natural gems and the perfect place to spend time with the elephants at the sanctuary. Its surrounding limestone hills create an unimaginably beautiful landscape enhanced by its numerous bamboo-style buildings, stunning meandering rivers and unique temple caves. As well as plenty of time with the elephants, we will take you out to discover Kanchanaburi’s gorgeous natural scenery. 

itinerary

Day 1 - (Saturday)

Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport (airport code BKK) and say Sawasdee to Thailand. After clearing customs and immigration, you’ll be met by our local team – the transfer coordinator will arrange your transfer to Singburi, a small town about 140kms north of Bangkok and your base for your first 2 nights in Thailand. Arrivals after 4pm will be taken to an airport hotel for the night (included) and then travel to Singburi next morning. If you can’t arrive Saturday, then a Sunday morning arrival is also OK.

Day 2 - (Sunday) 

After a good night’s sleep (and/or a late night with the group), Sunday is a free day to explore the many delights of Singburi city. Singburi, meaning Lion City in Sanskrit, is known as the spiritual heartland of Thailand and the Land of Heroes. A good way to spend a few hours is by visiting one or more of the many “wats”, Buddhist temples some of which have giant Buddha statues. Pak Bang Market is also well worth a visit.

Day 3 - (Monday)

This morning we head to Kanchanaburi by bus, a journey of around 175 kms through the Thai countryside. On arrival, we’ll check in to our new home at the elephant sanctuary and run through an orientation briefing, including safety rules. Then we’ll meet the mahouts and the elephants, and get straight to work!

Project Work

During your week at the sanctuary, you will get the chance to experience and bond with these gentle giants by swimming with them, bathing them and preparing their food, which typically comes in the form of Bana grass, sugarcane and banana plants.

You’ll be immersed in the mahout way of life here, getting hands-on with the day to day care of the elephants. You will assist with providing food and water, mucking out and helping to bathe them – all great fun ! You’ll learn how to cook their sticky rice, then make rice balls – an elephant favourite! You’ll collect, wash and prepare their fruit and we’ll spend time with the elephants as they graze and take mud baths. You’ll also learn to safely walk alongside them as they head to the river for a refreshing swim. 

Your last day (Saturday) 

Your program finishes after breakfast and our team will drop you at Kanchanaburi bus station from where a bus to Bangkok leaves every 30 minutes, a journey of 2½ hours. A night or two in Bangkok is a perfect end to your trip. If you are in a hurry to get to the airport, a taxi from Kanchaburi will be available – allow a journey time of 3-3 ½ hours and book your flight to depart no earlier than 6pm.  We can arrange private transfers and for a supplement.

your digs

Accommodation is provided in a spacious, wooden house within the Sanctuary grounds.

The rooms are simple, yet comfortable and appropriate for this setting. Volunteers share a bunk-style room with up to four others, and bathrooms are shared. Rooms are lockable and there is wifi access, a safety box for your valuables, hot showers and western toilets.

meals

We will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends. Meals are typically Thai and vegetarian-friendly

snapshot

start date

Saturdays year round

minimum age

18 if travelling solo, younger teens accepted with an adult 

important info

• Jumbo Combo : 1 week Elephant Adventure + 1 week Elephant Sanctuary £1249

• Fly In/Out : Bangkok (BKK)
• What’s included: Airport meet-and-greet, accommodation, all transfers outbound to
Kanchanaburi. meals, orientation briefing, local 24/7 support

• Spending your days alongside the mahouts and elephants
• Take care of relocated, retired and rescued elephants at the sanctuary
• Bath time down by the river!
• Daytrip to Krasae Cave / The Death Railway
• Trekking

• What’s not included: Flights, onward transport from Kanchanaburi at the end, travel insurance
• All volunteers will need to provide us with a Police Check prior to arrival in Thailand
• *Prices start at £799pp based on a 1 week program. Prices will be advised in writing prior to confirming.

apply

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