Mahouts Elephant Foundation

Elephant and Community Conservation

Chiang mai, Thailand show on map
Mahouts Elephant Foundation
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Coordinator | Phoebe
Coordinator | Phoebe
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:
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

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, camp out under the stars with the elephants in their forest home and immerse yourself in the rich and ancient culture of the Karen people that call these mountains home. 

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 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.


Accommodation; you will be staying with a host family, your accommodation is basic but clean and comfortable. They will provide you with covers, blankets, a mosquito net and 3 meals a day. Toilets are mostly western but some are Asian squat style. The showers are a traditional bucket shower with no hot water; this can either be bracing or refreshing depending on the time of year.


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 build dams making water more accessible for the elephants and other livestock deeper in the forest, helping create fire breaks to protect the forest from fires in the drier seasons or assisting with planting and harvesting grasses for the elephants or other crops grown in the village.

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 one;
- Be picked up in Chiang Mai
- 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
- Camp out in the forest

Day four;
- Watch the elephants
- Return to the village after lunch
- Afternoon to rest

Day five;
- Cultural immersion/ assist with village projects

Day six;
- Return to Chiang Mai

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.

Details on Arrival

We accept volunteers all year round.

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.

Hiking
Yoga/
Meditation

Program Requirements

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 - 14:30

Included Services

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.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Mahouts Elephant Foundation (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Mahouts Elephant Foundation
555.00 USD is the discounted price when booking 2 or more people.

* 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

Accommodation is with a home stay is basic, clean and comfortable. The rooms are private with clean bedding and a mosquito nets. There is electricity to charge devices (be sure to travel with correct adapters) and to have light in the evening. 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.
Free filtered water is provided.
If volunteers wish to purchase snacks or drinks they are free to do so at the small shops in the village.

Internet Access
Limited 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 Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) in Chiang Mai. 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.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Thailand you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Thailand.
Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$ 895
2 weeks (max. stay)
$ 1,790
Average fees
$ 895 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Chiang mai/Thailand between 1 week and 2 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Mahouts Elephant Foundation will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Thailand.
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.
  Asia South-Eastern Asia Thailand  Chiang mai, Amphoe Mae Chaem

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Cultural Immersion & Elephant Conservation Mae Sot, Thailand Mahouts Elephant Foundation Non-profit | Mahouts Elephant Foundation
Join us for a unique culturally immersive community based experience, observing elephants living freely in their natural habitat and help with community based projects.
Reservation
The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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