Thailand Elephants & CultureBook Now
AWESOME THEMED WEEKS!
How it works
As this is probably your first big trip, and you are probably travelling alone, we will make sure you have an easy start. With group start dates every first Sunday of the month we pick you up from Bangkok international airport. Its easy to find us and you will receive a detailed pack with all arrival information after booking. The firts week is an introduction week, we make sure you get to know the others on the trip better and you will learn a lot about the Thai culture in week one. The introduction week helps you get settled, after the first week you make your own choice in what you would like to do.
Pick your adventure options in-country one per week
Do an awesome elephant week. Go trekking in the jungle. Explore Buddhism and meet monks with Temple stays. You can either do one adventure option or book all three.
Go with the flow!
Because you can pick and choose the adventure option per week in country, you can do the same adventures as your new friends (you are guaranteed to make loads on the intro week). Being this flexible is amazing as you will learn even more about the options in country.
Full of Cultural Discovery
This is less party orientated than other Thailand trips, like the Xtreme Thailand Experience. This trips is a great way to get under the skin of this beautiful country, without the distraction of too much partying. But if you like to do a bit of island hopping after and maybe join a full moon party, do let us know. You can always add on another trip.
Buddhism & Culture
Settle in and discover Thailand.
Easy arrival with an airport pick-up. Make new friends as you meet other people in the group. Learn about Thailand its culture and history. Stay on the mainland and visit lots of different temples cultural heritage sites and (ancient) cities.
Buddhism & Culture week option
Explore Buddhism and meet monks. We will teach you about practising meditation and chanting in a quiet and spiritual environment. This is a unique change to find out what it is like to be a monk for a few days. Super interesting if you want to find out more about Buddhism.
Elephant week option
Like Elephants? This is your change to learn all about these creatures. You will help the mahouts with feeding and bathing the elephants. Go for a ride and head off through forests and around the camp on their backs
Trekking week option
Imagine trekking trough the jungle and swimming in waterfalls. A unique experience. You will be roughing it, but in beautiful surroundings. Sounds good, then this option is great for you.
Thailand Elephants & Culture Highlights:
- Airport pick up included and fully guided trip
- Thai culture, temples & cuisine on a mind-blowing cultural and intro week
- Visiting the old capital of Ayutthaya
- Trekking through national parks & discovering cool waterfalls on an exciting adventure week
- Exploring historic Singburi to see life outside the cities and islands, meeting tribes
- Volunteering with Elephants and Mahouts
- Visiting temples, meeting monks and learning about Buddhism
- Meet and chat to other Xtreme Gappers with an online Buddy list before you travel too!
FIRST WEEK INTRO WEEK
Starting on the Sunday, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your new home in Singburi, a couple of hours from Bangkok, to embark upon a comprehensive introduction to Thailand.
The first week is all about getting to know everyone and doing lots of activities with the other members of the group. This is great if you have never travelled before, or you are travelling alone because you will be meeting other like-minded people and making friends very quickly and easily.
During the intro week you will learn more about Thailand, it will be an eye opening experience. With lots of day trips to get to know the local surrounding areas and places of interest. Emphasis will be placed on learning about Thai culture, Thai language and even try your hand at some Thai cooking.
You will also check out the famous Buddhist Temple: Wat Phranon Jaksi, the old capital of Ayutthaya (including a visit to the elephant village), Lopburi’s museum and pagoda, and even have a cruise along the river.
During the Intro Week:
Your new home will be one of our 3 ”Eco Houses” in Singburi in central Thailand the Lemon House, the Twin House and the Brown House. Situated about 10 km from the town of Singburi and takes about 15 minutes from the eco- houses. In Singburi you will find all the amenities you could need i.e. internet, shops, swimming pool, hospital, pharmacy, banks and restaurants, and there are plenty of trips into Singburi or you can easily take a taxi.The houses sleep from 20 to 50 people.
All houses have single gender shared dorm rooms with the number of beds ranging from 3 to 12. All houses have western style toilets and one even as an Asian toilet! Each bathroom has a shower and the water is always cool nice and refreshing in the heat. All houses have a communal area where you can eat, relax and meet. Most of the houses are within walking distance of a local shop and a make shift bar provided by the friendly locals. The doors and windows are screened All food is included during your stay. The meals will be typical Thai fare, including plenty of rice dishes.
SECOND WEEK ADVENTURE OPTIONS
The second week you can choose from a range of adventure options depending on how adventurous you are feeling.
TAKE YOU PICK IN THAILAND!
If you do not know which option week you would like to be your second week do not worry, you can make that decision once you are out in Thailand. It might be that you want to hook up with some people if you have become friends with on the intro week and decide to join them on the trekking week, or maybe you rather join someone else who decided to do the Buddhism week. It is very easy to go with the flow! So let’s look at some of the options.
Elephant Week adventure option
With this adventure week option you will learn how to ride the Elephants, head off through forests and around the camp on their backs, bath them and feed them. Even go swimming with them. This week is an unrivaled opportunity to learn about Elephants and connect with your very own. Just be warned you can ´t take it with you when your week is up!
Thai Elephant Experience in Umphang, Lak Province
From monolithic temple protrusions, to the living, breathing, legendary white elephant herds of the royal order, the faded beer vests of Khao San Road travellers, to the somewhat infamous, green and gold labels of ´Chang´, if there is one symbol that reverberates the mystical and multifarious character of this Eastern land more than any other, it is the Thai Elephant. Historically, the Thai people´s ally in work and war, at once both strong and placid, roaming the jungle smothered hills of a nation curiously similar in spirit and character to these colossal yet graceful beasts, the decline in wild elephant populations all over Southeast Asia has focused modern attention more vigorously than ever on the enduring character, survival and habitats of the Asian elephant.
We´re offering you the chance to really get stuck in; with our week long Thai elephant experience package in Umphang, you´ll be surrounded by trunk and tree from begging to end, living and working ´at the coalface´ with these undeniably inspiring creatures. Nestled in the limestone valleys of Tak Province in North-central Thailand, amidst the low mists of rice paddies (the local labour staple), soaring Burmese mountain horizons to the west, and some of the most traditional, untouched, ´un-touristy´ Thai towns of yesteryear, where the local folk still cast curious glances at western visitors and sizzle up regional dishes from fiery track-side stalls.
Our elephant experience package runs from Monday to Saturday and aims to give you an encompassing introduction to what life is like working with these animals. We try to make sure you get the broadest possible experience by getting you working with elephants of all ages and genders, always in their natural habitat.
You will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities necessary to providing good care, whilst helping to ensure the stability of the elephants´ lives here.
With rich, thick, natural jungle terrain and forested hills typical to this region of Thailand, we are lucky to be able to maintain an environment very similar to that enjoyed by the remaining few thousand wild elephants in Southeast Asia, and, with only a few elephant sanctuaries so indelibly surrounded by nature, our ability to do this is largely unique throughout the country.
The elephant care at our sanctuary is comprehensive, and we like to get participants involved with all aspects of this. From health-care check-ups and veterinary procedures, to washing the elephants in the natural lake (one of many in the areas surrounding Umphang) on our grounds, or perhaps, simply socialising with these animals, so strangely human in their own way, your responsibilities are wide ranging and aim to give a broad cross-section of elephant care experience.
In addition, with a diet of up to 180kg of vegetation daily, you can see how preparing the elephants´ intake of greens (usually a mixture of locally sourced sugarcane, banana plant or grasses) could represent one of your main daily tasks, while the routine evening ´trek of the elephants´ back to their forest sleeping areas as the pink Thai sun drops behind the distant hill vistas, is something to always look forward to.
You will work directly with experienced native mahouts (elephant carers) who have grown up with these creatures, training them and ensuring their continued survival. Consequently, there are perhaps no people more readily in tune with the elephant mind than native Thai mahouts, and no better people with whom to experience what life with an elephant is like.
Every group will be assigned their own English speaking tour coordinator, who will be able to answer any practical questions you have about the structure of the experience or the practicalities of staying in Thailand.
Umphang is one of the few remaining untouched and remote, natural gems of Thailand. Like Kanchaniburi to the south, it retains the reputation as one of the ´jump-off points´ (no pun intended) for waterfall enthusiasts and, aside from the Thee Lor Sue on the Mae Klong (which is claimed to be Thailand´s biggest, a two day organised trek from Umphang), there are two local falls (Nam Tok Tharark and Nam Tok Pha), with fresh, cool water; a place to distress your post-work muscles and swap elephant stories with your fellow travellers.
You´ll also be able to tick off one of north Thailand´s must-do activities: Rafting. The local medium-speed rivers provide the perfect raft ride through remote jungle scenery, and it´s a great way to spend a day away from the project.
Accommodation during the week
Thailand just would not be Thailand without its bamboo, jungle shrouded cabins, looking like they´ve just popped up from the earth, just like the waxy banana plants and bending palms around them. During your stay here you´ll crash in one fully equipped with all the necessities of a rural Thai excursion: Mosquito nets, showers, and sun drenched decking for those cold Changs after a long day with the elephants.
You will receive three square meals a day, all healthy and packed full of the rich flavours Thai cuisine has become so famous for. We try and strike a nice balance between western styles and the spiced-up, aromatic local dishes of Umphang, to keep everything nice and varied.
Accommodation is shared with other experience participants, giving you a great opportunity to socialise with like-minded, elephant-loving people.
Trekking Week Adventure option
You and other participants have the option to go trekking in the jungle and rainforest of the Phutoei National Park, a lush park not often visited by other tourists.
This again will be a unique experience. You will be roughing it, but in beautiful surroundings. After this experience, you will have a lot to boast about when you go home as you will be sleeping in tents and surviving with the basics – we´re sure you will have a lot of fun!
The trekking option is fully guided by trained national park rangers, so you will be in safe hands but it is certainly an adventure!
Please note this is not for the faint hearted, sorry roughing it and trekking is not for you do not pick this option!
Buddhism & Culture Week adventure option
It is quite a ride to get here from the location of the introduction week, but totally worth it! Your time will be spend in the Forest Resort, a luxury new resort and in a newly built dorm accommodation next to the ancient Thai temple.
If you choose the Buddhism & Culture week you will get to know a lot more about Buddhism and Thai culture. During this week you will visit temples, you have the opportunity to ask your questions about Buddhism to the monks, we will teach you about practising meditation and chanting in a quiet and spiritual environment. Our guide is very knowledgeable and will tell you all you need to know. If you have a real interest in Buddhism & Culture, this is the programme for you!
Cultural Immersion Week
During this week you will have opportunities to help the local community:
- Help out in a School
- Build Clay Houses
- Looking after kids in a local orphanage
- Boxing Option
The biggest area in need is education so you will be visiting the local schools during term time or local children or perhaps local police from the village at the Eco house during school holidays. You can chat to the kids, help with both English and maths through playing games, singing songs etc. More information will be given to you about this during your first week.
Accommodation during this week will be either at the eco house or if you prefer, a home-stay. Most of the schools are within walking distance. For those schools that are not, the teacher or a local co-ordinator will transport you there and back. Remember to dress and behave appropriately. The students will look up to you and will attempt to copy your fashion and actions. Ladies, you need to make sure you don´t expose too much skin. Polo shirts/T-shirts, trousers and long skirts are all fine. Also the smarter you dress the more respect you will receive in the classroom.
It can be helpful to bring some materials to help you assist with teaching. For example, books, games and toys. It´s a nice idea to donate these to the school or children once you have left. Pens and paper will be provided. If you have any questions about this week, then please feel free to contact us or talk to the co-ordinators.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, most of our travellers are solo travellers. You will meet lots of people on the different weeks. With group start dates and lots of group activities you will make new friends really easy.
If you are planning on travelling to Thailand for 30 days or less and you have British, Dutch or USA passport you can get a Visa exemption on arrival. This is valid for 30 days and cannot be extended in Thailand. If you are planning on being in Thailand longer than 30 days you will need to pre-arrange a Visa. You can pre-arrange a visa for 60 days or you can arrange multiple entry visa´s too.
There are two ways of arranging your visa. When you are from the UK. You can either go in person to the Thai embassy in London, or you can post your passport along with the necessary documentation and fee to one of the Thai Consulates. In general this works the same for the other countries like The Netherlands and United States too, but please contact the nearest Thai Consulate for visa enquiries.
Sing Buri is a province in the centre of Thailand. It has got a very nice and chilled atmosphere. You stay in eco houses in the shade of banana palms trees by the Noi Nam river. Sing Buri is rich of cultural history. The province houses many temples, museums, and historical sites. You can easily say it is the epic centre for Thai history and a great place to get under the skin of the country.
Yes, if you arrive during the weekend we will pick you up. When you arrive during a week day we can still pick up at any time, but there is a £50 extra payment. If you wish a few extra days in Bangkok before hand you will have to make your own way on the Sunday to the meeting point at the Royal Hotel. Meeting time is at 1pm.
Is this trip suitable for you? The average age on this trip is between 18 and 22. Although it is open to all. The make up of the groups is usually 75% female to 25% male, just going to show, girls really are braver than boys! So come on lads, what are you waiting for? Prove us wrong!
Please do book early
This can be a very popular trip so make sure you get booked up ASAP! You can secure your spot for only £200 by submitting a booking form. Do it now! So now you have read about the trip, you might want to check out where you will be staying or a break down of everything included.
On The Intro Week
- Personally met at the airport
- Thai Cooking lesson / Thai Language lessons
- Tour of Ayutthaya Thailand historic second city
- Dinner in a famous Thai BBQ restaurant
- Tours of loads of temples and monuments and museums fully guided.
- Visit to a Market, Zoo,
- Amazing five-day elephant experience
- Excursions as per itinerary depending on adventure option
- Most meals
- Free Extra nights accommodation if arriving one day early (Saturday)
- All Accommodation
- Free Wi-Fi
- Back up & support second to none. Services of our tour leaders and English-speaking reps who are available and based locally 24/7.
- Visas (if staying longer than 30 days this will cost approx Euro 30 for a 60 day visa)
- Extra spending money
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