Located approximately 60kms north of Surin city lies a very rural and very traditional Thai farming community. Houses made of wood, roads made of dirt, rice and sugar cane fields as far as the eye can see. This is one of the most beautiful and genuine areas of Thailand. For centuries, the locals here have used the indigenous Elephants as beast of burden, and up until the mid-1980's local elephants here were still used for logging. Now however logging is an illegal process. This means that the elephants have literally been made redundant. Treated by their owners just like your ordinary household pets, these elephants can consume upwards of 300kgs of food daily and require constant health checks – this is extremely expensive for an ordinary farming family whose income maybe less than $5 per day.
In order to pay for an elephants care, many of their owners (known as 'Mahouts') began to walk their elephants through the streets of the big cities, selling photo opportunities to tourists. This is obviously a hugely dangerous activity, plus an elephant is built to live in a rural setting, not to walk hot, dusty roads and breathe poisoned air.
Our partners in Thailand have promised to support them and the elephants by supplying physical labour and finance if they promise not to tout their elephants to tourists. In addition to covering the costs of accommodation and food, program fees on this project are used to ensure the elephants remain in a healthy, natural environment. That they receive the right healthcare and a regular healthy diet. This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live as and work with real Thai Mahouts. Spend 3 nights and 4 days each week learning how to work with, train, feed and wash the elephants.
In addition, volunteers on this program will experience 'real' Thai community life first-hand; help with cooking the meals, farming the land, getting their hands dirty on small micro-development projects, make paper from elephant poo, help with farming tasks, go kayaking and Thai fishing on the local river, learn the Thai language and Thai cooking skills, interact with the community kids and heaps more. This really is something very special!Program Highlights:
- Getting up close and personal with natures biggest land animals
- Living in and amongst a genuine Thai farming community
- Assisting with micro-development projects in the village
- Playing with and entertaining the local village kids, who will demand your attention!
- Guided tour of some of Bangkok's most incredible landmarks
- Learning to cook a few favourite Thai meals
- A guided tour of bustling Bangkok city
Volunteers on this program will be collected at Bangkok airport and spend the first night at the guesthouse located on amazing Khao San Road, in the heart of Bangkok. Here they will meet fellow volunteers, and be taken on a guided tour of the city, including a welcome lunch at a popular Thai restaurant. Volunteers are then assisted to the coach terminal where they board a comfortable coach and make their way to Surin. This is a fantastic way to begin a volunteering placement!
NOTE: Arrival dates are the first and third Friday of each month in order to start your placement on the following Monday.
For a list of fees for this program click here.
Areas of focus:
- Surin, Changwat Surin, Thailand
Extra details:Fee required
International volunteer options:International volunteers welcome