Cultural Immersion & Elephant Conservation

Mahouts Elephant Foundation
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Coordinator | Phoebe
Coordinator | Phoebe
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Experience deep cultural immersion
Enjoy hands off elephant interactions - observational interactions only
Spend time hiking in pristine untouched forest
Live with a local family and learn about their way of life
Create memories that will last you a lifetime
Join us for a unique culturally immersive community based experience, observing elephants living freely in their natural habitat and help with community based projects. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Turn your holiday into a rewarding, interesting and challenging volunteering experience.

Join us in the beautiful mountains of northern Thailand, for a unique opportunity of watching our elephants roam freely from a respectful distance in their forest home and immerse yourself in the rich and ancient culture of the Karen people that call these mountains home, by becoming a part of their household for the duration of your stay. 

Learn about the history of Karen people in Thailand, their traditions, their long history of living along side elephants and with the help of our English speaking staff learn how to communicate and connect with your host family.

Whilst you are with us, you will not only be spending time with and contributing towards keeping our beautiful elephants here, but you will be helping villagers in their daily lives and assisting with projects throughout the community. 

Help us to make a positive impact in this mountain community and we promise that your stay and hard work will make a memorable and lasting impact on you in return.

We operate under the system of community-based tourism; this means the whole village benefits from our presence and your stay.

Our Elephants; our elephants are living deep in the forest, which is our intention for the rest of their lives. They are safe here and are able to wander freely foraging in the forest, providing them with a rich and varied diet.

While our elephants are captive and somewhat used to people being around them, we encourage them to live as naturally as possible, exercising their freedom of choice and always being treated with respect – this philosophy is at the very core of our mission and project.

We do not feed or force the elephants to interact with us, instead we offer observation based experiences - allowing our guests to watch the elephants simply being elephants.

Community work; there are many projects that the villagers need assistance with throughout the year, these projects change with the seasons. You could be involved with helping with our reforestation program, assisting villagers to plant of harvest crops; such as mountain rice, coffee or other smaller household crops or any other task that the village requires assistance with.

These projects are likely to require physical labour and may mean spending long hours outdoors exposed to the elements. A medium to high level of fitness is advised.

Typical day

Your Schedule
Day prior;
- Arrive in Mae Sot

Day one;
- Be picked up from hotel in Mae Sot
- Arrive in the village and meet your host family
- Introduction to the village and Karen culture
- Welcome ceremony and dinner

Day two;
- Cultural immersion/ assist with village projects

Day three;
- Hike out to see the elephants
- Enjoy lunch in the forest

Day four;
- Cultural immersion/ assist with village projects

Day five;
- Hike out to see the elephants
- Enjoy lunch in the forest
- View sunset at the local temple, looking out over the mountains of Myanmar
- Farewell dinner

Day six;
- Return to Mae Sot

For a 2 week stay - volunteers can expect a repeat of week 1, with a rest day in the village to further bond with their host family or to simply take time to relax into village life and collect energy for a busy second week.

Please note: The schedule is subject to change depending on the season and needs of the villagers.

Free-time activities

We are based in a very remote location. Free time activities are all village based.

We recommend volunteers take time to bond with their host families, walk around the village and enjoy the scenery or take time to simply relax and rejuvenate for the busy days ahead.



In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:30 - 15:30

What's Included

Services by Mahouts Elephant Foundation

589.00 USD /per person - is the discounted price when booking 2 or more people/week.

* Transportation is not included in overall fee.

** We are always happy to match solo travelers with each other to create a group volunteering trip - when possible.

Fees go towards; accommodation, meals, transport when on site, mahout salaries and community activities

Accommodation is with a home stay is basic, clean and comfortable. The rooms are private with clean bedding and a mosquito nets. There is limited electricity to charge devices, so be sure to travel with a fully charged powerbank/ spare batteries and a flashlight, as access to electricity is not guaranteed. The bathrooms are clean, with traditional cold water bucket showers and Asian style squat toilets.

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

Once volunteers arrive on site all meals are provided; breakfast, lunch and dinner.

All meals are served with rice and are usually a combination of vegetables with meat and/or eggs.
Volunteers with special dietary requirements can be catered for - we simply need to be aware in advance to inform your host family.
Free filtered water is provided.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Mae Sot Airport (MAQ) in Mae Sot. We assist you to find cheap flights to Thailand.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Thailand provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Thailand you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Thailand.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

We accept volunteers all year round.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 2 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$883 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Mahouts Elephant Foundation will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Mahouts Elephant Foundation during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Mahouts Elephant Foundation cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Mahouts Elephant Foundation.

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Cultural Immersion & Elephant Conservation

Join us for a unique culturally immersive community based experience, observing elephants living freely in their natural habitat and help with community based projects.


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