Elephant Conservation & Community Involvement

High­lights Require­ments What's Included Dates & Fees Rev­iews
Agency
·
founded in 1997
Natalie
Ask A Question
Coordinator | Natalie
Coordinator | Natalie

High­lights

Learn about elephant history, behaviour, training, biology, social interactions and more.
Have the incredible opportunity to observe the elephants in their natural habitat;
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.
Become fully immersed in a new culture as you live with a local host family
Support community efforts to help reintegrate elephants into their natural habitat, from their previous lives in the tourism industry. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Families
50+
Volunteer in the mountain forests of Northern Thailand and spend part of each weekday in the field with elephants relieved from working in tourist camps. Leaving their tragic pasts behind, these gentle giants now live improved and more natural lives in the Chiang Mai Province of Northern Thailand - an area famous for its traditional elephant keeping communities.

Volunteers can learn about elephant behaviour and contribute directly to the elephants’ lives by providing working alternatives for the owners, mahouts and villagers, allowing the elephants to live in the forest. You will observe elephants alongside mahouts who draw on generations of tribal knowledge about elephants.

During your stay in Northern Thailand, you will learn about elephant history, behaviour, training, biology, social interactions and more. You will have the incredible opportunity to observe our elephants in their natural habitat. While learning about elephants from the local Karen community, who have worked alongside elephants for centuries, you will witness the improved welfare conditions you are involved in bringing to these incredibly intelligent animals.

Project Life

We live in a communal atmosphere with the villagers and our English speaking staff who will be providing guidance throughout your time on the project. Days will begin in the early morning and will be long, as you will spend time out in the field with the elephants and return later in the day to assist with local community and base projects. Although the project can be physically tiring, you will be rewarded with both a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day and the noticeable positive impact that we have on the lives of our elephants and the local community; through helping improve the villagers English language skills and generally spending time with members of the community.

The community of Huay Pakoot owns more than 60 elephants distributed around tourist camps in the area. We work with villagers giving them incentives to return their elephants where they belong, to forage in Huay Pakoot’s forest.

Volunteer work

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 , 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, and/or harvested fields (depending on the time of year), socialising and foraging as they would naturally. During our time observing the elephants, interns and long term volunteers collect data on their social interactions with one another and their food-plants preferences. You may also have the opportunity to survey forest biodiversity such as gibbons, deer, snakes, birds, a variety of insects, spiders and plant species diversity.

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 traditional food in the field using natural materials, such as bamboo as a container to boil noodles. After adequate time to observe the elephants and eat lunch, we then 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. This is optional and is up to you to get involved in the programs. Volunteers are highly encouraged to help teach English as assistants 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.

Typical day

This is a hands-off, ethical elephant project aimed at reintroducing asian elephants to a natural living environment. The project was started by the village to find sustainable ways to keep their elephants in the forest.

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. Many volunteers like to take the opportunity to relax or volunteers are welcome to arrange trips to nearby towns or cities. 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

  • Hikes each day with the elephants - The length of hikes can vary depending on the time of year. Hikes can range from 2-7 hours. Sometimes very easy with minimal effort, but other hikes can be intense and very hard work! During hikes we collect data on ele behaviours - specifically their interactions with each other and their mahouts, how they spend their time etc.

  • Twice per week we do health checks on the eles during hikes to look for physical signs of ill-health.

  • Can participate in biodiversity hikes instead of eles- gathering data on bird, butterfly and frog species, camera trap surveys, bat surveys and medicinal hikes

  • Options to get involved with community work too - teaching English 3 days a week at the local primary school, twice a week to homestays, mahouts and women’s English groups. We also teach at the local kindergarten and nursery once a week and have after school clubs at the local nursery throughout the week (bare in mind the duration of your program determines the amount of community involvement you will have). This is all optional and it is up to you as the volunteer to get involved. 

  • Interns and volunteers will receive awareness presentations throughout their time on project, regarding numerous issues such as; elephant biology, welfare and biodiversity in the area.

  • Other village/cultural activities - basket weaving, rice picking, tree planting, bamboo cup making, language lessons.

  • Social activities - quiz nights, movies, games at communal base hut. 

  • Optional night hikes.

Free-time activities

It is a 2 hour drive to the town of Mae Chaem. Travelling around the local area is easily done on foot. There is no public transport but visits into the city by car can be arranged at your expense.
In the village we have a local vendor where you can buy some snacks and also the best coffee in the world! 

In your down time you will be free to travel in the local area. The program is unscheduled during weekends. In this time you could visit Doi Inthanon National Park, go bamboo rafting, or make a trip into the Chiang Mai or Mae Hong Son for some western comforts. There is the opportunity to go into Chiang Mai every two weeks, with the staff and volunteers going in for the new volunteer intake.
Short or extended trips to neighboring Laos or Thailand's beautiful islands and beaches are also possible after completion of the program.
Sightseeing
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Climbing
Safari/
Zoo
Hiking
Sports
Yoga/
Meditation

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 (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Required Documents
Medical Form
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
The language spoken in the village is not Thai but, "Pakinyow" a dialect of the Karen villagers.

Volunteers do not need to be fluent in English though they do need enough to understand all training and health and safety guidelines
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Global Vision International (GVI)

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Comprehensive training program that encompasses theory lectures, group study and field practise
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Required transportation for the duration of your stay
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Your own room within homestay

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

Airport Pickup at Chiang Mai International Airport
GVI can provide airport pick-ups between 12pm and 5pm on the project start date at Chiang Mai Airport. After arriving at Chiang Mai International Airport, please make your way to Exit 2. You will be met outside the exit by pick-up staff  who will be wearing a marked T-shirt and holding a sign with your name on it. 

If you are not arriving within the pick up window you will find regulated taxi stands to your left upon exiting the baggage pick-up area there you can arrange a taxi to the Eco Resort. The fee should be a flat rate of 200 THB. Alternatively, Eco is not far away, and a Red Truck Taxi or Tuk Tuk should cost between 20 to 80 THB. 
Accommodation
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. There is cold running water for washing and drinking water is provided. Asian style squat toilet facilities are available., Participants will also be given at least one base duty day whilst on project to help keep base hygienic for everyone to use.
Guest Family
Food & Beverages
All meals are provided in the village. Most meals are rice based with fresh vegetables and meat/fish/egg. The food is typically richly flavored with chili and local herbs. Vegetarians can easily be catered for and spice levels can be adjusted. With dietary requirements, keep in mind the food will be basic. Breakfast is served at base on a daily basis. Lunch is provided by the homestay as a pack-up each day. Dinner will be served for the homestay in the evening, but volunteers do not eat with the homestay family.
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.
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.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

Guaranteed departure dates on specific Saturdays throughout the year: 

  • 2019
  • 06 Apr 2019
    20 Apr 2019
    04 May 2019
    18 May 2019
    01 Jun 2019
    15 Jun 2019
    29 Jun 2019
    13 Jul 2019
    27 Jul 2019
    10 Aug 2019
    24 Aug 2019
    07 Sep 2019
    21 Sep 2019
    05 Oct 2019
    19 Oct 2019
    02 Nov 2019
    16 Nov 2019
    30 Nov 2019
    14 Dec 2019
    28 Dec 2019
  • 2020
  • 11 Jan 2020
    25 Jan 2020
    08 Feb 2020
    22 Feb 2020
    07 Mar 2020
    21 Mar 2020
    04 Apr 2020
    18 Apr 2020
    02 May 2020
    16 May 2020
    30 May 2020
    13 Jun 2020
    27 Jun 2020
    11 Jul 2020
    25 Jul 2020
    08 Aug 2020
    22 Aug 2020
    05 Sep 2020
    19 Sep 2020
    03 Oct 2020
    17 Oct 2020
    31 Oct 2020
    14 Nov 2020
    28 Nov 2020
    12 Dec 2020
    26 Dec 2020

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
1 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in EUR (USD)
1 week (min. stay)
€1,770 ($1,982)
2 weeks
€2,010 ($2,251)
3 weeks
€2,225 ($2,492)
4 weeks
€2,465 ($2,761)
5 weeks
€2,705 ($3,030)
6 weeks
€2,945 ($3,298)
7 weeks
€3,185 ($3,567)
8 weeks
€3,425 ($3,836)
9 weeks
€3,665 ($4,105)
10 weeks
€3,905 ($4,374)
11 weeks
€4,145 ($4,642)
12 weeks (max. stay)
€4,385 ($4,911)
Average fees
€1,068 ($1,196) /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Global Vision International (GVI) 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 Global Vision International (GVI) 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 Global Vision International (GVI) 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 Global Vision International (GVI).

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

  Asia South-Eastern Asia Thailand  Huay Pakoot, 109 Bumrungrad Road, T. Watkate

Elephant Conservation & Community Involvement

Support community efforts to help reintegrate elephants into their natural habitat, from their previous lives in the tourism industry.

$1068/week

You might be also interested in

Marine Expedition and PADI Divemaster Internship Puerto Morelos, Mexico Global Vision International (GVI)
Get your PADI Divemaster qualification and boost your career when you join a scuba diving and marine conservation internship in Mexico’s picturesque Yucatan peninsula.
Wildlife Conservation Internship Karongwe Reserve, South Africa Global Vision International (GVI)
Complete a three month training program then gain another three months of field experience with a South African conservation organisation or private nature reserve.
Local Wildlife Conservation & Research Limpopo, South Africa Global Vision International (GVI)
Travel to a private reserve in South Africa, home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino, and become part of an international research team
Global Health Short Term Internship Phnom Penh, Cambodia Global Vision International (GVI)
Create awareness around preventative health practices and teach English.
Island Conservation Expedition Victoria, Seychelles Global Vision International (GVI)
Travel to the Seychelles and contribute to critical research and conservation efforts within a national park.
Teaching and Early Childhood Development Cape Town, South Africa Global Vision International (GVI)
Gain practical experience in the early childhood development field, while being based in the city of Cape Town, South Africa
from 1,770€ ($1,982)
see price table
Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Why am I seeing this?

You requested a page that doesn't exist on this site any more. This could be caused by a link you followed that was out of date, by a typing in the wrong address in the address bar, or simply because the post has been deleted.

Take Me Home