Elephant Animal Shelter Project in Thailand

Volunteer in Thailand and help nurse endangered elephants back to full health

By volunteering at this elephant shelter in Thailand, you can help make a difference to elephants who had previously been kept in poor conditions around the country. They are now at a facility which aims to provide the best standard of life and care as possible, and to ensure they can live in as natural an environment as possible, as they should. Due to the neglect they would have recieved previously, it would be almost impossible for these animals to go straight back into the wild, so volunteer support is essential in making their lives as good as possible.

Accommodation Included in Shared Volunteer House
Full Volunteer Placement of 2+ Weeks
Every Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Airport Pickup Available
Full In-Country Orientation
Complete Pre-Departure Travel Preparation
Placements Available from 2 weeks to 24 Weeks
Weekly Start Dates
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The Project

The Issue

Of the 50,000 elephants once living in Thailand, there are only around 2,000 left today. Both free-living and domesticated elephants are threatened with extinction, which makes it hard to believe that only sixty years ago more than 50,000 roamed free in the wild. Wild elephants are hunted for their ivory and their habitats are cleared and converted into plantations. Domesticated elephants are mainly used as tourist attractions, and the lack of adequate care and appropriate living conditions has caused them to become just as threatened as those in the wild.

Unfortunately, there is no law for the protection of these animals, which is why they urgently need the help and support of our volunteers!

The Sanctuary

The sanctuary for endangered elephants is in the southern part of central Thailand. The sanctuary is set across 7 acres of safe habitat, for them to roam freely and recover from their ordeals. The facility is actually the first chain-free elephant protection organisation in asia! The elephants living here were rescued by the sanctuary after being captured or raised as livestock, mostly for use in the tourism or construction industry. Many of them are elderly, blind, or suffering from ill health. The oldest elephant onsite is 75 years old!

Types of skills
  • Energetic
  • Driven
  • Animal Lover
  • Good Initiative
  • Eco-Aware
  • Patient 
Types of Tasks
  • Monitoring/Reporting
  • Food Prep/Delivery
  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning and Prep
  • Assisting Existing Team
  • Interacting with Animals
Age Range & Requirements

Age Range

We are able to take applicants who are aged 18+, and although we do not set any upper limit on age, it is important to check if you're eligible for a visa with the relevant immigration authorities.

Requirements

You must be an energetic person in good physical fitness, with a positive and practical attitude towards nature and the protection of wild animals.

Location

The project is in Central Thailand, inland between Bangkok and Chumphon. It's about three hours away from Bangkok.

Duration & Availability

Duration

Volunteer placements are available from 4 weeks up to 24 weeks (6 months). If you require longer than the 10 weeks available on the registration and booking form, please speak to our team and we'll happily discuss the duration with you and get it sorted for you.

Availability

Understandably, there are a few 'down' times, where there may be public holidays or religious dates, where no work will happen. This will affect arrival dates, but if you're in the country on project already, it will simply mean that it will result in some down time until the project starts back up.

Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation

You'll be staying in a shared bungalow on site at the project, along with other volunteers. The rooms are gender split, very comfortable and all have a fan, electricity and the other home comforts you'd want.

Meals

You'll eat in a similar way to the locals and the local cuisine, so expect to get to know new foods and delicacies! You're provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner in a buffet style throughout the work week, and there's also a communal kitchen available if you ever fancy a little nibble! If you do have any dietary requirements, please let us know about them as far in advance as possible, and we will do our best to accommodate them, or we will inform you if the local area can't.

Airport Transfer

Available on request if required (we're happy to give you a quote and arrange transfers from Bangkok, as some decide to have a couple of days in the capital before starting at the project).

Work Clothing

It's important to bring some clothing that covers knees and arms, which is at times expected in certain areas due to local culture and customs. However, most of the time, you'll be completely fine with shorts and t-shirts.

Documentation - What do I need?

There are certain pieces of documentation that RGV require during the application process, to ensure you're a suitable applicant to work at one of our projects. They are:

  • Copy of Passport - A pretty standard request for all volunteer companies!

  • Letter of Motivation - This is a one page letter stating why you want to do the programme. The people that use these projects need it's support, so it's super important we send committed and determined volunteers, who really want to make an impact.

  • CV - This just gives us a bit of a better understanding of your background and your past work roles, as again, this is a work placement and not a vacation!

  • Criminal Background Check - With nearly all of our projects, you'll interact with either children or wildlife, so an up-to-date (within 3 months of departure) clean, criminal background check is required. We suggest ICPC, as it is internationally recognised.

  • Travel Insurance - Travel insurance tends to be mandatory for most visas, and we also require it to ensure that you are completely covered in case of emergencies.

  • Flight Itinerary - We need to know when you arrive! By having this, we can keep up to date with where you're at. If you need help with flights, we will happily point you in the right direction.

What's Included

Pre-Departure Prep & In-Country Orientation

Before you even depart, our friendly UK team will take you through every step of the process, from answering your questions about the programme, through to adivsing you where to go for your visa. We are here to help you and to ensure that you feel totally comfortable (and prepared!) before departing.

You can fly into one of the two international airports in Bangkok. For the Wildlife Conservation Project or Elephant Animal Shelter Project, you can be picked up by a member of the team in Bangkok (for an additional fee). The taxi ride then takes about three hours. You can also travel there independently if you wish. You will receive a detailed handout in which you will find helpful details on how to get there by bus.

As soon as you arrive at the centre, you will be welcomed by the local team. The team will show you your accommodation as well as introduce you to the house rules, your work, local health facilities and safety rules. You will receive a comprehensive tour of the area, an introduction to the tasks involved, and get to know your co-workers on site. You will receive background information about the site and find out how to get involved in animal welfare in Asia.

Accommodation & Meals

You'll live in a bungalow with one or two other participants. At the main house, there is a large terrace with a table where you can eat and spend time with the other volunteers. It's also a great place to rest up, or even catch a bit of sun! In the main house there is also a kitchen, where your lunch and dinner are cooked. For your breakfast, there are various foods available. Once a week, the cleaning staff will come to change your bedding and clean the bungalow. There are plenty of power outlets in the bedrooms and you can use the Wi-Fi in the elephant kitchen. To make it easier for you to explore the dream beaches, it is possible to buy or rent a scooter near the location and get to know the area.

In just 10 minutes you can walk to the nearby village where there are restaurants, two small supermarkets, and ATMs. The next town in 30 minutes by car. There you can stroll through the night market and buy something for your family and friends. If you are adventurous, you can even swim in the nearby river. For the participants who prefer a quieter place, there is the possibility to relax in a spa with pool near the job site. There is something for everyone, from temples to snorkelling, you'll find loads of things to keep you active.

Meet the Thailand Team

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Fifa is the office coordinator and your first point of contact. She is from Iceland and speaks fluent Icelandic and English. Katie is from Spain and speaks Spanish and English, she is Assistant Elephant Coordinator. As a former volunteer, Katie supports the participants in their tasks and plans projects. David is from England and is also an Elephant Coordinator. He manages the Elephant Refuge. His tasks are to support and guide you as well as communicate and plan with the mahouts (Thai elephant keepers). David also leads volunteers in veterinary medicine. 

Finally, Pinpuk is fluent in English and Thai. She is from Thailand. She likes to take care of you and will answer any of your questions.

Our Rainbow Family in Thailand welcomes you!

Cost

Total Cost: £1099 (2 Weeks)

Additional Weeks: £245 per week (up to 24 weeks)

Initial payment consists of a £200 deposit, with the remaining balance due 8 weeks before departure. There is also an option to pay the full amount up front at time of booking.

Additional weeks can be added and paid for on the 'profile' section, which is created upon initial booking.

What's Included
  • 2+ Week Placement Programme
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation
  • Volunteer Placement
  • RGV Orientation
  • Personal Contact Person in RGV
  • 24Hr Emergency Number
  • Assistance with Travel Preparation
  • RGV Family T Shirt
  • Participation Certificate
  • Extensive RGV Travel Documentation
Additional fees
  • Flights (request a quote to include flights)
  • Visas & Vaccinations
  • Public Transport/Extra Transfers
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport Pickup/Transfer

Enquire about the elephant shelter project in Thailand

Reviews

Don't Just Take Our Word For It...

Our programmes have been running for many years now, and we've had countless numbers of happy and inspired applicants join us in making an impact. The best way of understanding our projects are through the words of our previous volunteers, so check out a few of their experiences below!

"My Volunteer Work with Elephants in Thailand"

Melanie P.
Melanie helped at the elephant sanctuary in Thailand and this report will help show you some of what she done and how her experience was whilst there.

"My time in the Elephant and Wildlife Project in Thailand"

Robert E.
Robert spent time across both the elephant and wildlife programmes in the project in Thailand, and his entry here will show you how he felt it was.

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