THAILAND ETHICAL ELEPHANT PROJECT

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GROUP VOLUNTEERING AND TRULY MAKING A DIFFERENCE

The elephant experience is an exciting, fun-filled way to get to know the Asian elephant. The elephant is iconic throughout Thailand and you’ll have the chance to learn about them and just how important they are to the people of Thailand.
Spending time in a rural village, you and your fellow travellers will help the local people care for the elephants. It’s a hands-on, action packed insight into the real Thailand.

The main highlight of this trip and also a really unique opportunity is not only to spend time with elephants, but also to live in a small rural Thai community, which is something which is fast becoming more and more difficult to experience. This is what it is all about. Living like the locals and truly immersing yourself in the culture of the people and the country.

Our project has been vetted to ensure it is ethically run. There is absolutely NO elephant riding by our guests.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Explore exciting Bangkok
  • Learn about Thailand’s culture, history and visit temples
  • Take a rustic train ride to Surin, through Thailand’s largest national park, Khao Yai
  • Walk with the elephants to the local river and help the mahouts bathe them
  • Help the mahouts clean the elephant areas
  • Harvest / plant crops (depending on the season) for the elephants
  • Kayak on the local river
  • Learn how to make simple but great Thai food
  • Eat, sleep and chill at the elephant camp
  • Have a once in a lifetime experience
  • Make new friends from all over the world

LEARN, PROTECT, CARE

Many elephants in Thailand have been taken out of their natural homes and have been abused and mistreated, all in the name of money. With your dedication to this project, you are preventing this kind of unethical practice and ensuring that the elephants have a chance to be Xtremely happy and free again.

While you are with us on the project, you will gain invaluable knowledge into the life of these elephants. By dedicating your time to the elephants, you will be helping to support them and their keepers and help guarantee that they are looked after.

WHERE? THE BEATING HEART OF THAILAND

Our amazing elephant project is Located in Surin, you will be surrounded by inspiring natural wonder, off the beaten track and far from the bustling streets that you would have seen in Bangkok.

We have about 35 elephants living in the elephant village, which is situated about 1 hour from the Cambodian border. Here you can indulge in a Thai cooking class and even brush up on your Thai with a Thai language lesson to really make your experience unforgettable. If you need to let out that inner adventurer, then you will also have the chance to kayak on the Mun river, which is part of the famous Mekong or pop over to Cambodia.

Volunteering on our projects is not only about seeing and experiencing an exotic destination but having a rewarding experience at the same time and truly giving back.

PHOTOS

ITINERARY:

DAY 1 – ARRIVE IN BANGKOK

Arrival day, the moment you have been waiting for! The start to an awesome life changing Thailand trip! First off, if you have not been travelling before… it will be ok. We make it a hassle free arrival, the Xtreme Team will collect you from Suvarnabhumi Airport (the international airport in Bangkok) and take you to your super convenient Bangkok accommodation, which is a stone’s throw from the famous Khao San Road. The accommodation has a movie room, 2 pool tables, free WIFI and lots of Xtreme Gappers awaiting to join the adventure.

You will have the rest of the day/evening (depending on when you arrive), to relax after a long flight and meet the rest of your group. Tonight we head out for a delicious Thai meal (local payment about £2) and explore the buzzing Bangkok area!

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Guided tour of Bangkok
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

DAY 2 : WELCOME ORIENTATION AND EXPLORE BANGKOK

We will take it easy and all meet up at around 10:00 am to start a “real exploration” of Bangkok. This will be lead by our group leader, who will be with you for the next 2 weeks.

Prepare to see incredible things as we include an awesome boat trip through the ancient waterways of Bangkok. Not only will you get to experience stunning traditional communities off the backpacker trail, but we will also take you to the majestic Wat Arun – The Temple of the Dawn, Wat Pho, which is home to the most important reclining Buddha in the whole of Thailand and Wat Phra Kaew –  The Grand Palace.

watt arun thailandExpect an authentic look into traditional Bangkok and lets you see some of the most beautiful temples Thailand has to offer. The tour will last about 4 hours.

In the afternoon we head back to our guesthouse, just in time to freshen up and chill out before your ‘Welcome Dinner’ in the evening. After dinner, we are off to the infamous and exciting Khao San Road, the backpacker area of Bangkok,  where you will get a taste of the Thai nightlife.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Guided tour of Bangkok
• Welcome Dinner
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

DAY 3 – TRANSFER TO THE ELEPHANTS

Today we head to the elephant camp. We travel in a rustic train ride to Surin through Thailand’s largest national park, Khao Yai. In the western world we see are used to modern trains but in Thailand, the trains are much more rustic and fun! The train itself is an experience, with old style carriages that have their own special kind of unique character. Bring your camera for this because people back home will want to see just what we are talking about.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Overnight in dorm style rooms in Surin

DAY 4-7 – VOLUNTEER AT THE ELEPHANT VILLAGE

Dear diary: Jackpot! If you are an elephant lover (and we’ll take a guess and say that you might be) then this will be the best part of your trip. You and your group will work together to make sure all of the elephants in the village are comfortable and well taken care of.
During your volunteer time in the elephant village, you will help feed and wash the elephants, play with them, plant crops and create vegetable gardens to create a sustainable source of food and more.

At the elephant village, you help the host family to look after the elephants and learn how elephants have been part of the fabric of life in this part of the world for generations. As you will be living so close to the Elephants, there will be plenty of opportunity to feed and interact with them.

General day-to-day activities include:

  • Walking and bathing the elephants at the river
  • Planting and harvesting food for the elephants
  • Learning to cook Thai food by helping to prepare dinner each evening
  • Kayaking and swimming in the river
  • Visiting the local market

Inclusions:
• Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner while at the elephant camp
• Overnight accommodation in dorm style rooms at the elephant camp

DAY 8 – FREE DAYS OR ONWARD TRAVEL

If you are only volunteering with us for one week your adventure will come to an end. But don’t worry because the memories, the photos and the friends will last a lifetime.Well earned free-days. You will need a break, trust us. You can use this opportunity just chill or do a bit more exploring. Surin town is a super friendly place with a population of around 50,000 people. There are loads Khmer temples,  which means they will look very different to the ones you saw in Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. Surin is also famous for its really cool coffee shops to hang out in. If you are just looking for some fun in the sun, one of the local hotels lets you use their pool for a small fee for the day and for those with a bit more energy. There is a waterpark and a shopping mall if you want to do some souvenir shopping.

If you book 2 weeks or longer: Well earned free-days. You will need a break, trust us. You can use this opportunity just chill or do a bit more exploring. Surin town is a super friendly place with a population of around 50,000 people. There are loads Khmer temples,  which means they will look very different to the ones you saw in Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. Surin is also famous for its really cool coffee shops to hang out in. If you are just looking for some fun in the sun, one of the local hotels lets you use their pool for a small fee for the day and for those with a bit more energy. There is a waterpark and a shopping mall if you want to do some souvenir shopping.

There are also some awesome restaurants in Surin and we recommend you have at least one visit to a huge ‘moo gratha’ buffet. For less than 150THB you cook your own food on a charcoal grill at your table and it’s as much as you can eat. Different meats, fish, prawns, vegetables, noodles and all sorts of other bits and pieces – and ice cream!  The best value in town and a great night out.

Your guide and our local team in Surin will be able to help you plan what you want to do and be on hand whenever you wish!

All weeks on the programme follow the same format: Monday to Thursday at the programme, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday free to soak up life in Surin and the surrounding areas.
Note that return travel to Bangkok is not included but is easy to arrange, our guides will sort you out!

ACCOMMODATION

You will split your time between the accommodation in Surin town and the Elephant village, but both are in dormitory style shared houses.
The rooms in Surin town are clean and comfortable, and all rooms are equipped with fans. The bathrooms are shared with your fellow travellers and have Western-style toilets. There is a basic kitchen for you to use, and of course, the accommodation has free WIFI!
The accommodation is located close to a supermarket, a pharmacy, ATM’s and lots of local street food vendors and small restaurants.

Living with elephants: Be prepared for living in a rural setting

Monday to Thursday afternoon are your activity days, so you will be living at the elephant village. This is back to basics Thai Style living, sleeping on floor mattresses and with up to 5 people to one room. The family who looks after the elephants live in a house on the same grounds, and so do the elephants.

The house at the elephant village is basic but clean, has plenty of fans to keep cool and has Western style toilets. There are hammocks for you to chill in and there is no wifi, so you are off the grid, and it will be amazing!

The time at the elephant project is full of activities but also paced to ensure that all participants don’t get overheated (April is the hottest time of the year and the middle of the day is very hot – over 40C sometimes in April – so after lunch we usually have some quiet time out of the sun, like Thai’s in the countryside do). However, even in between activities you can sit an watch the elephants, learn about the community and Thailand from the team and get to know your fellow travellers.

Weekends.

Weekends are a great opportunity to either explore and enjoy Surin town – it’s a small town of around 50,000 people but a friendly place with lots of different bars / restaurants and a lively social life. However, many people on the elephant programme choose to explore further afield at weekends (with new friends they’ve made on the programme).

Many go to visit Khao Yai National Park (3 hours or so by train) for the weekend or even go to Angkor Wat in Cambodia – around 4-5 hours away. Our local team are always on hand to not only look after everyone but to help with suggestions and making bookings and so on.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions:

Airport pick up times are between 06:00 and 22:00 on the start date and only from BKK international airport. (we can’t do pick ups from Don Muang – DMK – I’m afraid)

If someone is already in Thailand then they can either ‘make their own way’ to the BKK accommodation on the start day (information will be in the pre departure pack!) from 2pm on the start day.

As with the rest of Thailand, Surin can feel hot and sticky all year round. March to May are the hottest months of the year, whilst June to September is when most of the rain comes. November to February are the cooler and drier months of the year. During the winter months of November to February it can get chilly, especially in the morning and evening so be sure to bring along an extra sweater or jacket.
We have different size groups depending on the time of year, but generally you will be with between 5 and 20 volunteers.
All bedding is provided, but if you want to bring one, make sure it is feather light and not too warm.Or alternatively, take a duvet cover.
Yes, Thailand is basically the backpacking capital of the world and super traveller friendly and our ground staff are always there to help when needed
No problem, most of our travellers are solo travellers. You will meet loads of people, travellers and locals, and 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 30days 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 prearrange a visa for 60 days which you can extend to 90 days in Thailand.

Remember, obtaining the correct visa is your responsibility.

We offer airport pick up’s between 06:00 and 22:00 on arrival day and would encourage you to try to arrive at the airport by mid-afternoon so that you have time to freshen up, relax and then enjoy your first night in this amazing city. If you are arriving outside these times or are already in Thailand, then you are more than welcome to ‘make your own way’ to the Bangkok accommodation.

PRICE

Duration Option Price  
1 (Week)GBP 619Book Now
2 (Week)GBP 769Book Now
3 (Week)GBP 899Book Now
4 (Week)GBP 1029Book Now

INCLUDED

  • Airport pick-up on arrival
  • Two-night guest house accommodation in Bangkok
  • Breakfast is included on Days 2 and Days 3 (at the Bangkok accomodation)
  • Guided Bangkok Tour
  • Train transfer to Surin
  • Accommodation in Surin volunteer house
  • Accommodation at the elephant camp
  • Full orientation of project and surrounding areas
  • Daily transfers to and from project location
  • Thai language and cooking classes
  • Full ongoing support
  • 24 hour emergency support
  • Meals at the elephant camp. Day 4 – lunch and dinner (on arrival day at the village), on day 5 and 6 – breakfast, lunch and dinner and on day 7 – breakfast and lunch before heading back to Surin.

EXCLUDED

  • Your flights
  • Meals when enroute, in Bangkok or Surin – Please allow around $10USD/day
  • Visa (if required)
  • Travel insurance
  • Any additional activities not mentioned in the itinerary

Dates

2017

03/11/2017
17/11/2017
01/12/2017
15/12/2017

2018
05/01/2018
19/01/2018
02/02/2018
16/02/2018
02/03/2018
16/03/2018 NOTE: PROJECTS CLOSED 13-17 APRIL INCLUSIVE FOR THAI NEW YEAR
20/04/2018
04/05/2018
18/05/2018
01/06/2018
15/06/2018
06/07/2018
20/07/2018
03/08/2018
17/08/2018
07/09/2018
21/09/2018
05/10/2018
19/10/2018
02/11/2018
16/11/2018
07/12/2018 MAX 2 WEEKS

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