———— The Surin Project ————
In addition to the volunteer opportunities at Elephant Nature Park described below, we also have a new volunteer program: the Surin Project. This is a new park in the Surin province, east of Bangkok. Here we will continue our efforts to save the Asian elephant from extinction and give them a life worth living for generations to come. Find out how you can volunteer with the Surin project today!
Whether you are a day visitor who has fallen in love with the Park and would like to stay longer or a first time visitor who is already committed to a lengthier stay, volunteering at Elephant Nature Park is a truly rewarding experience. In addition to following a day visitor's schedule on your first day, you will have a more in-depth look at the Park's resident elephants and learn even more about the life of an elephant.
Maintaining Elephant Nature Park is a huge task and one that's made more manageable by the dedication and hard work of our volunteers. While every day can be a bit different at the Park, a "normal" day as a Park volunteer might look a little something like this:
|7:00 - 8:00 am||Breakfast|
|8:00 - 10:00 am||Morning Chores|
This might be helping to prepare food in the elephant kitchen, watering the garden, or cleaning up elephant poo around the Park. Morning chores are usually focused on making sure that the Park runs as smoothly as possible!
|10:00 - 11:00 am||Morning Project|
Depending on when you volunteer, we'll be working on any number of projects from building a new fence to unloading a couple tons of fruit for the next day's meal. But whatever you end up doing, you'll always end up having a good time!
|12:00 - 1:00 pm||Lunch|
|2:00 - 4:00 pm||Afternoon Chores|
These chores also change depending on the season and the needs of the Park, but you could find yourself knee-deep in a mud pit making mud bricks, painting the new buildings around the Park, or cutting grass to ensure that the elephants are kept well-fed.
|6:30 - 7:30 pm||Dinner|
Whether it's helping to take care of our rescued dogs, building a new fence, making homemade mud bricks, or preparing food each morning for the elephants, no two days will be alike during your time as a volunteer. You can expect to be a bit tired at the end of each day, but to also feel satisfied that your work is making a difference.
For those who might have difficulties with certain physical tasks, rest assured there are still many ways to pitch in. Helping with general tidying, tending to the Park's cats, or assisting in the food preparation are all tasks that might occur from week to week.
One of the truly special events that might be offered to our volunteers is an overnight trip to Elephant Haven (weather permitting). Located a few hours walk at an elephant's pace from the Park, Elephant Haven is a beautiful, rustic retreat in the nearby mountains. An overnight visit to Elephant Haven will mean good food, elephant stories around the campfire, and the occasional song about elephants. Early the next morning you will go with the mahouts to find the elephants who have been allowed to wander through the mountainous area overnight.
Another project volunteers might be presented with is the chance to go to the New Property. This 200-acre piece of land is about a 45-minute drive away from the Park and will be used as a place where our elephants can be introduced to the wild for extended periods of time. Heading up to the New Property means a hard day's work reforesting the surrounding area, planting crops, building shelters for future volunteers, and much more.
Additional adventures for our volunteers (depending on each week's schedule) might include going to a local school in the morning to spend time with the kids teaching English, cooking up some delicious treats, playing games, or just having a good time!
(We currently offer 1-week, 2-week, and 3-week long volunteer stays. Once you begin the reservation process below, you will be able to choose the number of weeks you would like to stay.)
Price: 12,000 Thai Baht ($401.07 or £266.12)* for 7 days/6 nights
*Currency conversions are based on the rates published by the European Central Bank and are updated continuously throughout the day. The exchange rate used by your bank or credit card may vary slightly.
What's Provided: The cost of volunteering at Elephant Nature Park includes roundtrip transportation to your hotel or guesthouse in Chiang Mai, an expert guide, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner (as well as coffee, tea, and bottled water available throughout the day). Your room will be equipped with a fan, bedding and pillows, and a mosquito net, and it will be located near a shared western-style bathroom. And of course you'll get plenty of time to watch the elephants too!
What To Bring: Volunteers should be sure to bring sunscreen, a camera, towel, toiletries, flashlight/torch, mosquito repellent, as well as comfortable clothes and shoes that you won't mind getting dirty and/or wet. (Please keep in mind that because Thai culture has conservative traditions for dress, bathing suits or bikinis are not appropriate during elephant bath time. Typically volunteers and staff wear shorts and t-shirts into the water.) Depending on the time of year, rain gear and/or warm clothes might also be useful. You may also want to bring a little spending money if you'd like to purchase any additional drinks or snacks not already provided throughout the day or to do a bit of shopping in our gift shop.
How To Volunteer: You can sign up to volunteer at Elephant Nature Park by visiting our office in Chiang Mai, or you can book online by clicking below. A 30% deposit is required to book online.
Important Note: Each volunteer must complete his or her own application in order to ensure proper space is available. (But if you like, you will be able to pay your deposit together via our online system.) Unfortunately failure to complete applications for each volunteer - including any children - could mean there will not be enough space for everyone in your group. Sadly this isn't an omission we can always catch before your volunteer stay begins. Thus, before you make arrangements to visit the Park in Thailand, you must be sure that you have made a reservation for everyone in your group in order to ensure availability.
If you have any questions regarding our volunteer program, please email us at Volunteer@ElephantNatureFoundation.org, or check out Elephant Nature Foundation UK Trustee Phyl Kirkland's Open Letter to Future Park Volunteers.