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Volunteer With Elephants In Thailand

Do you dream of working with majestic animals such as elephants? Do you want a life changing experience travelling in Thailand while providing much needed care and kindness to these amazing creatures? Then our Thailand elephant volunteer program is the perfect fit for you.

Thailand is not only a country filled with a rich history and culture and welcoming people, but also amazing nature and majestic wildlife. One aspect of this wildlife are the mighty elephants, famous for their wise nature and strong familial bonds.

Sadly, many elephants in Thailand suffer on a daily basis. Many are forced to work in industries such as logging or perform degrading performances in the pursuit of begging for money. Many places also exploit the animals and keep them in terrible conditions for the purposes of tourism.

Thus, our elephant volunteer program in Thailand and projects like it offer a sanctuary for elephants to live happy and peaceful lives, without being exploited for profit or labor.

Volunteers are critical for the success of this effort, as they receive little funding to pay for adequate local staff. By joining this program, you will be able to show the elephants a kinder side of humanity and have a truly life changing experience working side-by-side with these truly majestic animals.

If you’re someone who loves animals and are looking for an opportunity to improve the conditions for an endangered species while also having the time of your life travelling, then contact IFRE for more details today!

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Volunteer Responsibilities & Impact

Volunteers working in our Thailand elephant volunteer program will get hands-on experience caring for and supporting elephants. This includes gathering and preparing food, cleaning and bathing, and feeding the elephants.

You will also help create a more sustainable future at the project by assisting with planting and harvesting crops and planning vegetable gardens.

Through your work, you will be showing the elephants a better side of humanity, and make sure that they are never again exploited and mistreated in the future. This critical work will help ensure that the animals lead healthy and happy lives, and protect them from endangerment and going extinct.

Volunteer With Elephants In Thailand : Skills and Qualifications

You do not need any prior skills or experience to join this Elephant Project in Thailand. However, you should have a great love and passion for animals, as well as a deep desire to see them thrive and be happy. You should also be patient, flexible and respectful of foreign cultures. Additionally, you need to be able to go outside your comfort zone, as you’ll often work outside meaning you’ll get wet and dirty.

Your time as a volunteer working with elephants in Thailand will be a greatly rewarding experience and your days will be filled with fun and excitement.

On your arrival in Thailand, you will be met at the Bangkok airport by our staff and taken to your accommodation in Bangkok. You will then be given a tour of Bangkok on the following day and head to Surin for your volunteer project on the day after that. At this point you will be given a briefing and introduction to the project and staff before starting your volunteer work proper on the 4th day.

If you stay for more than 1 week, you will work from Monday to Friday starting in the second week, with weekends free to explore and travel.

Itinerary (sample one week)


On arrival in Bangkok you will be met by our guide and taken to your accommodation on the famous Khao San road. The rest of the day will be free to explore the city and go out for an evening with your fellow volunteers to get to know them better.


An added bonus of your elephant volunteering Thailand trip is the guided tour of Bangkok’s best sights that you will get on the second day. This tour includes all the top attractions such as the reclining Buddha, the Temple of Dawn, the Grand Palace, a river cruise and more.


On the third day you’ll get to enjoy an exciting train ride through country side and the largest national park in the country; Khao Yai. Keep your camera ready as you’re sure to see a whole host of exciting things while on the train.

On arrival in Surin for this volunteer in elephant project in Thailand, you will be escorted to our volunteer house and be given a briefing regarding the project and your responsibilities going forward.


Finally on the fourth day you begin your volunteer work in the elephant village. This is sure to be the highlight of your volunteer program in Thailand, and you will be able to bring much joy into the lives of the elephants through your dedicated efforts. You will perform duties such as preparing meals and feeding the elephants, as well as washing and cleaning them and other necessary duties. You will be provided with both lunch and dinner on the days you work in the elephant village.


If you are only doing the project for one week, then this is the end of your volunteering experience in Thailand with elephants. However, if you’re here for a longer stay, this will serve as your free weekend before returning to the elephant village on the 10th day and continuing your work there.

During your weekend you can explore and travel across Eastern Thailand as well as Cambodia and see a great number of exciting and fascinating sights and attractions.

Volunteer With Elephants in Thailand : Dates and Feess

Program Dates

Click here to find the start date of surin - 2020

Our Fees

Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured, we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.

The program fee needs to be paid in GBP to directly to the country coordinator before the project start date.

Volunteer Program Fee (in Pounds (GBP))

Weeks Surin: Elephant
  1 Week   £501
  2 Weeks   £616
  3 Weeks   £731
  4 Weeks   £846

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day »

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Airport Pick up/Transfer
  • Program Orientation
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

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Accommodation and Meal

While volunteering on our Elephant project, you will stay in our volunteer house in Surin. The rooms are dormitories shared with volunteers of the same gender and come with clean and comfortable beds and modern bathroom facilities including a flushing toilet and running water. You will also have a kitchen to prepare meals in, and all the required amenities are located within walking distance.

Read more about our accommodation in Surin, Thailand.

Free Time and Weekend Exploration

When you join volunteer program in Thailand, not only will you be changing the lives of the elephants, but your own life as well! You’ll have time every day to visit and discover the local area, and three full days on the weekend to do whatever you please. Given the proximity to the Cambodian border, this means you can travel all across both Thailand and Cambodia during your weekends.

Read more about some exciting destinations you can visit while volunteering.

Safety and in Country Support

We always ensure the safety of our volunteers, and the accommodation we provide is designed with this squarely in mind. We also provide extensive support for whatever you need prior to your trip, and while on your project our in-country coordinator will be available at all times to assist you with anything you need.

Read more about our safety and in-country support.

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Volunteer With Elephants in Thailand : FAQs

Arrival and Departure

You need to fly to Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok. We advise you to send your complete flight details to us for your safe pick up from the airport. In case you miss your scheduled flight or if your flights are delayed you should contact us as soon as possible so that we can reschedule your pick-up from the airport.

For your drop offs you have to manage it on your own, as we do not provide any kind of drop off services to the airport, but this is easy to book and your in-country coordinator will be happy to assist you.


You need to have a tourist visa for volunteering in Elephant opportunities Thailand. You can obtain a tourist visa by visiting the nearest Thai embassy. On arrival visas are available but only for the nationals of 21 countries. For more details on visa on arrival

You can For more information visit the following


You need to get the vaccines recommended by the CDC for this volunteer with elephants in Thailand . The vaccinations that you need to have is as follows :

  • Diphtheria and tetanus
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Polio
  • Yellow fever
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Rubella
  • Influenza

For more information on vaccines you can visit the CDC website and get advice from your doctor back home.

For further readings:
Volunteer Health and Safety
Safety tips for your volunteer abroad trip

How many hours a day do I get to work?

The Elephant volunteer program in Thailand is a complete cultural immersion, meaning you will become part of the village for 4 days each week. Hours of work will vary day to day depending on the current needs of the village. Typically, the working day is 9.00am – 3.00pm. During the hot season April – June you may start as early as 7.00am so as to avoid working in the midday sun.

Is there any other important information?

Please note; so as to maintain best practice, we do not condone the riding of elephants by visitors. Riding of the elephants by volunteers is not allowed. The bond between the mahout and elephant is very special and culturally complex and thus should be respected.

Why volunteer with our elephants project in Thailand?

Volunteering in Elephant project in Thailand is a satisfying hands-on experience that is unique in nature by benefiting both the volunteers and the animals.

You instantly see the results of your labor.

When you work for our elephant project, you can see a change in their personality almost instantly. After spending time with the animals, whether it’s taking them for a walk, bathing them or feeding them their personalities come out and they start to shine. You can almost see the change in their behavior instantly, which is satisfying and entirely rewarding.

Make new friends and contacts

One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering in Thailand Elephant Program is a great way to meet new people, strengthen your ties to the community and broaden your support network. It exposes you to people with common interests in a fun and exciting way.

Personal Growth and Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

When you travel and work as a volunteer to the other side of the world, it allows you to challenge yourself. Traveling to Thailand for elephant project expands your mindset regarding the challenges faced by the elephants of Thailand. You get to learn different methods regarding the day to day handling of the elephants and this might create enthusiasm in you to further develop your interest in the field of elephant conservation.

Have Fun while making a difference:

When you join our Elephant volunteering program in Thailand, it allows you to make a difference while working with others for the same cause of providing care for elephants. You have the opportunity to feed them, bathe them, and play with them in a friendly environment. You can also assist the mahouts and share lighter moments with them learning about the elephant’s behavior, their way of life, and also about Thai culture

Experience a new culture:

As a volunteer, you will learn much about the language, customs and body language of Thai people. By staying in different communities, you will gain an altered perspective on the people and the country, immersing you in the community, culture and daily activities. It’s a great opportunity to experience the life of elephants and take part in meaningful cultural exchange.

Other Volunteering Opportunities in Thailand

There are plenty of ways you can make a positive impact in Thailand. You can

teach English to disadvantaged children or Buddhist monks,

work in an orphanage,

help with childcare and child development,

provide medical care and much more.

Contact IFRE today to find the perfect project for you!

Other Elephant Projects Worldwide

The amazing elephant is sadly in danger everywhere it exists. To help protect the species and ensure ethical treatment of these lovely creatures, IFRE arranges elephant programs in many different countries. See the list below for some of our most popular ones:

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