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Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary

Elephant Sanctuary & Community Immersion

Chiang Mai, Thailand

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

Our Sanctuary 

If you want to have a unique experience hiking in the forest to find the elephants and observing their natural behaviours in their home environment, then 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 

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

The Karen people are originally from Myanmar but they have migrated to Thailand in search of a better life during the wars over many generations. 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 firsthand 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.  You will also learn about elephants in Asia and the local language and culture. We also have a number of add-ons you can choose from including relaxing with a Thai massage or learning how to basket weave. 

Volunteers can stay with us anywhere 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 and 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.

Some of the tasks include: 

  • carrying out health checks
  • performing research on the natural elephant behaviors and on the surrounding forest
  • taking 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.

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 learn about elephants in Asia and the local language and culture. 


Details on Arrival

Programs start on any Saturday and finish on any Friday.

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 and forest sleep outs.

Water Sports
Swimming
Hiking

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 14 years old on the program start date. Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Health Declaration
required
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

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups

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

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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We refund your fees if Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary.
Services by Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary

Included in these fees are: transport to/from project, food & accomodation

Accommodation

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
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)
$515.00
2 weeks
$1,030.00
3 weeks
$1,545.00
4 weeks
$2,060.00
6 weeks
$2,622.00
8 weeks
$3,277.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$3,933.00
Average fees
$421.00/week

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 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 Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
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