Elephant Sanctuary & Community Immersion

We need volunteers to come and help us keep the elephants in the forest, carry out health checks whilst educating our community by teaching English.

Our Sanctuary 

If you want to have a unique experience of hiking in the forest to find the elephants and observe their natural behaviours in their home environment, the Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary is the right place for you. Come and join us for the experience of a lifetime. Volunteers must be physically fit to hike everyday up and down the mountains to get to the elephants. In our sanctuary, you can see exactly where your donations are going and how they are benefiting our sanctuary, our elephants and our community.

Our sanctuary has just rescued 4 elephants from the tourism industry and we have now brought them home to live out their lives in the forest, in semi-wild conditions. We need volunteers to help us keep these elephants happy and healthy in their natural habitat. With volunteer support and donations, we hope to return more elephants to the forest soon. 

Our Village 

The Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary is set amongst the rolling hills of Northern Thailand in a Karen Hill Tribe village. It is surrounded by a forest that is perfect for our elephants to forage in. 

The Karen Hill Tribe are originally from Myanmar but they migrated to Thailand in search of a better life during the wars many generations ago. Due to this they have their own language and culture, which volunteers will have the opportunity to learn and experience. They are keen weavers and are well known in Thailand for their elephant keeping. They make an income from their elephants and working the fields, mainly growing rice and corn using rotational slash and burn. Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn more first-hand about their culture and even help out with the community when required.

Your Stay 

Our days begin with early morning hikes through the forest to find the elephants, staying with them while observing and taking data on their natural behaviours until lunch. Some days lunch is eaten with the elephants in the forest, a very unique experience! Hikes will usually return to the village around early afternoon but the day doesn’t end there. 

You will have the opportunity to participate in teaching English at the school, to the homestays and to the mahouts as well receiving education about elephants in Asia and learning the local tribal language and culture. We also have a number of add-ons you can choose such as relaxing with a Thai massage or learning how to basket weave. 

Volunteers can stay with us for anything from 3 days to 3 months. However, we recommend at least a week to get the full experience of our sanctuary. Students who wish to carry out research for their studies are also welcome.

Your tasks

Volunteers must come with an open mind & be prepared to work with and experience another culture. 

You will have the chance to experience a diversity of tasks. Please be aware that tasks may vary depending on the time of your arrival and your own preferences.

Among others you will:

  • carry out health checks, 
  • perform research on the natural elephant behaviors and on the surrounding forest,
  • take part in community projects such as teaching English at the school and to other locals,
  • cutting grass for the elephants during dry season, 
  • helping out in the fields planting and harvesting crops 
  • educating both the locals and tourists on the captive elephant situation in Thailand to help combat illegal trade
Volunteers will also be expected to help us take care of any visitors and educate them on the real elephant situation in Thailand.

Elephant Sanctuary & Community Immersion Interacting with the elephants Eat lunch in the forest with the elephants Carry out a health check our elephants Witness the  bond between mahout and elephant Accommodation is in traditional homestays Our 3 generation family Our project provides an alternative livelihood Opportunity to plant grass and help in the field Visit our beautiful elephant family Help the local school by teaching english Carry out research on natural elephant behaviour Help an endangered species stay in their home Elephant Sanctuary & Community Immersion Capture magical moments These memories will last a lifetime..

Suitable for


Typical day

Volunteers and visitors are expected to wake up early in the morning and be prepared for a long hike into the forest. Hikes will usually return to the village around early afternoon but the day doesn’t end there. Volunteers and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in teaching English at the school, to the homestays and to the mahouts as well as receiving education about elephants in Asia and learning the local tribal language and culture. 

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
In order to join the program you need to be at least 14 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Health Declaration
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Any questions? Just ask. We at Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary are happy to help you.

Free-time activities

We have many add-ons in the village that volunteers can take part in if they wish, such as: Muay Thai lessons, basket weaving, head band weaving, river tubing, Thai massage, night hikes, cooking class & forest sleep outs.

Water Sports


What's included?
Included in these fees are: transport to/from project, food & accomodation
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

You will be picked up in Chiang Mai, brought to a hostel from which you leave to the sanctuary the next morning.


Our accommodation is very simple, volunteers will be staying with a host family in a homestay where you will be provided with your own room that will consist of a mattress on the floor, a mosquito net and a bathroom with a cold bucket shower (perfect for after a hike!). All homestays vary in shapes and sizes depending on the homestay allocated. Homestays will provide a packed lunch and dinner in their home whereas breakfast will be provided at our communal base hut where our visitors/volunteers hang out during freetime.

Bedroom (Single)
Food & Beverages

Basic western breakfast and Thai lunch & dinner included.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)

You can volunteer at the project site in Chiang Mai/Thailand between 1 week and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
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 Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Thailand

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Thailand. Please check the visa regulations for Thailand.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Thailand and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Thailand.
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Thailand.

What's next?

The nearest airport is Chiang Mai International (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.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Thailand you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Thailand.
What can you do in leisure-time in Thailand while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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