Programme: Volunteer with Elephants Mae Chaem Surrounded by breathtaking mountainous scenery in northern Thailand, volunteers will quickly ease into a very peaceful way of life that still exists here. Project work itself takes place in Mae Chaem District, a 5-hour journey into the mountains, where the famous Karen elephant-keeping communities reside and who have shared a unique and sacred relationship with elephants for hundreds of years.
This programme runs for 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20 and 24 weeks. Contact us to find out the dates and start planning your adventure!
Room & Board (any housing, food, and transportation included). In the village, each volunteer has their own room in a local homestay. There is cold running water for washing and drinking water is provided. Asian style squat toilet facilities are available, and participants share base duties, including minor cleaning and other chores. 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.
Does the project require any special preparation? Staff in the field will provide training on the skills required, but you may benefit from learning more about local history, culture and customs before you travel.
Overview of the tasks and time commitment needed from the participant. During the week, you will hike through the forest with the elephants, and on these hikes you'll observe the elephants' foraging and social behaviors, as well as collect data on the surrounding biodiversity. You will also have the opportunity to conduct basic health checks on the elephants, and this is when you'll get to get up close and personal with them, looking them over for any bumps, scratches, etc. The hikes will vary in length so be prepared for long days, and they can at times be strenuous because of the hilly terrain, so a good level of fitness is required as well, but they are a great way to observe the elephants in their natural habitats! You might also get the chance to explore the surrounding caves or go on optional night hikes, so come prepared to be adventurous!
What specific skills, education, or experience must the participant have? What skills, education, or experience are desirable? Volunteers need not have any specific skills just an enthusiasm and passion for contributing to the project and the local partner objectives. Reasonable fitness is required. Physical activity involved in project work can be made harder by heat & humidity.
Health and safety (site specific health and safety information). The nearest emergency medical facilities are located in Khun Yuam Town, about one hour away. We take great steps to ensure your safety, by providing expert elephant handlers during all contact time, teaching you to read elephant behaviour, and providing safety brieifings on arrival. First Aid trained staff will be on hand. Please note that we cannot provide specific medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider (doctor, GP, etc.) or visit a travel clinic for further information.
Inclusions/things to do (trips or extra features). 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. Before and after your program you could take a Thai cooking course in Chiang Mai, visit a Thai boxing match, cycling, learn Thai massage, etc – the possibilities are endless!
Orientation and Training (supervision and preparation the participant will receive). Staff in the field will provide training on the skills required, but you may benefit from learning more about local history, culture and customs before you travel.
Costs (detailed list of what’s included/not included and per diem estimate). What's Included
Pre-departure support and discounted services
24-hour emergency phone
Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
Long term experienced staff
Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
All necessary project training by experienced staff
All necessary project equipment and materials
24-hour in-country support
Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
What's Not Included
Medical and travel insurance
Extra local excursions
International and domestic airport taxes
Additional Information Field staff advise that you enter the country using a tourist visa. For most nationalities a 30 day visa can be obtained upon arrival . If you are staying longer then 30 days then you should apply for a tourist visa in your home country. Please check with the immigration authorities of the countries you intend to visit, or see www.cibt.com for visa application advice and information.