Thailand: The Elephant Sanctuary Project

Split your time between working with gentle Asian elephants and teaching English to children.

Highlights

  • Responsibly care for elephants living at a true sanctuary
  • Learn about cultural, social and environmental issues related to elephant tourism
  • Teach English in a primary school classroom
  • Hike to waterfalls and soak in natural hot springs
  • Visit colorful night bazaars filled with local cuisine and handicrafts

Overview

Travel to Chiang Rai, where you’ll lend your compassion to caring for elephants at a true elephant sanctuary. These animals are an important part of Thailand’s culture: traditional symbols of royal power, an essential feature of traditional art and regarded as spiritual mentors. Learn how their cultural significance, conservation and place in tourism are all deeply interwoven. Then, embrace your community as you volunteer as an English teacher in local schools and make a difference in the lives of local youth. Cap it all off as you explore waterfall trails, hot springs and national parks after service, which will inspire a lifelong appreciation for nature.

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Community Service

Spend one week volunteering at a sanctuary for elephants, and another teaching English to local children in government schools. The goal of the elephant sanctuary is to let the animals lead their lives as naturally and as stress-free as possible. Work with locals who have committed their lives to promoting healthy relationships between humans and elephants. You’ll help by harvesting organic elephant food, feeding the animals and helping with daily tasks of the sanctuary. In your other project, teach English to enthusiastic primary school students who have had limited exposure to foreigners. Play learning games and come up with ways to help them improve their language skills.

Hands-On Learning

After decades of exploitation, there is much work to be done to restore independence, natural behaviors and dignity to Asian elephants. It depends on the awareness of travelers like you. Discuss complex cultural and ethical issues regarding captive elephant welfare, tourism and conservation. Listen to experts speak on these controversial topics, and determine your own first steps in encouraging a culture that promotes high standards of animal ethics around the world. Reflect on the similarities and differences in education systems and culture between East and West. Visit beautiful temples and experience the natural beauty of Northern Thailand.

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Adventure

There's adventure to be had everywhere in Chiang Rai’s lush, rural environment! Hike a trail that leads to a breathtaking waterfall. Swim in its pools and visit a natural hot spring. You’ll also go on a full-day bicycle tour around Chiang Rai, spotting numerous temples, rice fields and orchards. At night, visit the street bazaars, shop for artisanal handicrafts and sample Thai cuisine.

Lodging

Students travel to two different Home Bases on this program. At the elephant sanctuary, the group stays on premises. Wake up to elephants meandering feet from your window! During the rest of the program, students stay at a boutique resort north of Chiang Rai. In both Home Bases, students live with roommates and have access to shared bathrooms.

Dates & Tuition

The Elephant Sanctuary Project
Duration:
Tuition: $0
Student/Staff Ratio: -
Max Capacity: Please Inquire (Minimum Group Size: 12)
Community Service Hours:
Language Hours: -
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.