Thailand: The Elephant Village Initiative

Highlights

  • Volunteer alongside trained elephant keepers to care for elephants
  • Speak with community leaders about the significance of their work
  • Experience Thailand’s vibrant culture
  • Visit colorful street markets filled with local handicrafts
  • Test your skills on a whitewater rafting adventure

Overview

Travel to a rural village in northern Thailand where you will have the unique opportunity to connect with majestic elephants, and the people who commit their lives to caring for these special animals. In this program, we’ll rise early to assist the mahouts in caring for their elephants. We'll learn how elephant conservation and tourism are connected and support the local community in these efforts. In the afternoons, we'll volunteer on projects that will benefit the local community. These might include reforestation efforts, sustainability projects or working at the local elephant nursery. In addition to volunteering, we'll explore the unique sights and smells of Thailand on cultural excursions.

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Community Service

This is an incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with elephants in Thailand - animals that have a long history and capture the hearts of many. Travel to a home for elephants where mahouts, elephant trainers, dedicate themselves to caring for these animals. Work alongside the mahouts as you learn exactly what it takes to care for an elephant. In addition to assisting the mahouts with their elephants both morning and night, we will support the community in their efforts to care for these majestic animals. We'll assist on a variety of physical projects which impact the livelihood of elephants in this region. Join a unique local organization in working towards its mission as you assist in food harvesting, land rehabilitation

Hands-On Learning

You will learn the history of elephants in this region, their natural biology and social behaviors, and the dynamic issues affecting their presence in Thailand and the world. Visit a government-run elephant conservation camp and compare them to independent organizations working to address the same challenges. Spend time at an elephant hospital and nursery, where you can observe the process of rehabilitating and raising elephants. You'll also have the unique opportunity to learn important skills and cultural lessons from the mahouts, who live on-site and will be partnering with you to care for the elephants.

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Adventure

Take advantage of the special opportunity to wake up with the chance to connect with elephants. Rise before dawn to assist the mahouts in feeding and cleaning up after your elephant-- a very time-consuming process! Most afternoons, you'll lead them to a nearby river for their daily bath. Feel what it is like to ride such a strong and gentle animal as the connection with your elephant grows stronger. You'll also hike through remote mountains, taste foods you may never have seen before and explore outdoor markets to discover clothing and handmade crafts found nowhere else on Earth.

Lodging

The GLA Home Base is a rustic lodge in a northern Thai Elephant Home. The Home Base features a covered eating area and is basic, but clean and safe. Students stay in gender-segregated rooms with roommates and have access to showers and western-style toilets.

Dates & Tuition

The Elephant Village Initiative Flagship
Duration: 10 Days
Tuition: $2,300
Student/Staff Ratio: 12/1
Max Capacity: 25 people
Community Service Hours: 20
Language Hours: N/A
Additional Notes
See What’s Included
Tuition includes all in-country expenses including:
  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support
More Information
Fundraising

Tips to raise funds for your trip

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for adults and families, in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association.