The Conservation Program
Programs based in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai have resumed effective May 2021. Quarantine requirements are in place (see the Additional info. section for details) so we'll work with you every step of the way!
Volunteering with an endangered species of elephant is surely one of the most unique and exciting programs any international volunteer could participate in! This essential program is located in an elephant nursery nestled in a beautiful mountain valley around one hour from Thailand’s cultural capital Chiang Mai. Dedicated to protecting the majestic local Asian elephant, the program’s rescued elephants enjoy a safe, caring and ethical environment at a nearby camp, while the nursery preserves Thailand’s young elephants for future generations. The camp is committed to providing education and hands-on experiences to help others understand the plight of the Asian elephant and appreciate them. This program relies on volunteers to help care for its elephants and assist with day visitors. The money raised helps support their care and preservation. The camp also supports the local community through job creation, reforestation efforts and educational scholarships. Volunteers on this program will gain amazing experience working with elephants and will even get to bathe them in the river and walk with them into the jungle! Become a Love Volunteer and become one with the elephants!
Goals of this Project:
- To protect and nurture the elephants of Thailand
- To ensure the preservation of Asian elephants
- To educate visitors on the plight of Asian elephants
- To provide educational scholarships for disadvantaged Hill Tribe youth to obtain university degrees
- To assist with reforestation efforts in the district
How You Can Help
Volunteers on this wonderful project will get to learn all about these giants of the ground. Participants will be working directly with the elephants alongside their mahouts (carers). Typical activities volunteers participate in include washing/bathing the elephants, feeding them, cleaning out the camp and general day to day activities around caring for these sensitive animals. Please note that while caring for elephants is a sought-after volunteer placement, it will be hard, manual (and dirty) work. Only those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and getting stuck into manual labor should apply. If this sounds like you – this program promises to be the experience of a lifetime working with endangered animals and truly making a difference to their lives. Because working with elephants is always a popular program choice, volunteers are encouraged to book their placements as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways on this program and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Help to feed, care for and bathe the elephants
- Greet and interact with day visitors
- Clean the elephant’s sheds, nursery and around the camp
- Support the sanctuary in other activities as requested
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to give their time and energy to help protect and conserve the native Elephants of Thailand. This project is best suited to those who are either pursuing a career in animal conservation/zoological studies, or who simply wish to explore an interest in this field. However, the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by one of local project leaders. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
This incredible project is based at in an elephant camp within a highland conservation facility in northern Thailand, roughly an hour from Chiang Mai. An incredible opportunity to experience the Thai jungle, in the excellent company of its beautiful Asian elephants.
Weekends are spent in Chiang Mai itself, Thailand's "Rose of the North". Rich in cultural diversity and natural wonders, Chiang Mai maintains a relaxed and authentically Thai atmosphere. Whether strolling the back-streets of the old quarter, visiting a temple, nodding in passing to orange clad monks going about their day or tucking in to some delicious Thai fare, visitors are sure to delight in what this city has to offer.
There is plenty of free time to explore the surrounding rainforests, waterfalls, rivers, hot springs and tranquil villages. Truly an incredible experience.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start the 1st and 3rd week of every month with volunteers arriving on FRIDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Volunteers are met upon arrival into Chiang Mai airport by our local representative and taken to the Volunteer House to settle in, relax and meet with fellow volunteers and hosts. The following day the Orientation Weekend begins, designed to give an insight into Thai culture, learn some basic Thai words and phrases and basically set you up to get the very most out of your placement from day one. The two day orientation is a great chance to see a little of this fascinating city with the help of expert guides and in the company of other volunteers. It will also allow you to purchase a local SIM and data package should you wish, withdraw or exchange Thai Baht and ask any last minute questions.
Monday morning sees Elephant Conservation volunteers transfer to the project site for the week before returning to Chiang Mai each weekend.
- Arrival Day: FRIDAY 8AM - 8PM
- Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival Airport: Chiang Mai International Airport, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Code: CNX)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this program are fortunate to experience both the comforts and sights of Chiang Mai on the weekend and the rustic remoteness of life on-site at the elephant camp during the week.
Upon arrival into Chiang Mai volunteers are taken to the centrally located and well equipped Volunteer House where they spend their first 3 nights and each subsequent weekend.
In the Chiang Mai Volunteer House rooms are dormitory style and split by gender with 2 – 4 volunteers sharing. All rooms are air-conditioned for comfort and the house has all the amenities a volunteer requires including western-style bathrooms, hot running water, bed linen (volunteers should bring their own towels and toiletries), kitchen and laundry facilities and Wi-Fi available 24 hours a day.
Breakfast is provided daily in Chiang Mai and there is an abundance of eateries within easy reach of the house. Easy!
On Monday morning volunteers transfer to the project and spend 4 nights on-site in rustic but comfortable accommodation. Electricity and hot showers are available (a luxury in this jungle setting!) and all meals are provided during the week. A unique opportunity to be immersed in the life of the amazing mahouts, devoted to caring for the elephants.
Thai dishes use an abundance of fresh ingredients, herbs and spices and are a taste sensation. Be sure to try the coconut based curries such as Kaeng Khiao Wan’ (Thai Green Curry) and fruit based salads such as pomelo and green mango. Delicious!
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
All arrivals into Thailand are required to quarantine for 15 days. Quarantine must be in an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility and is at the travellers own cost.
A negative RT-PCR COVID test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
Insurance which covers COVID and provides coverage of no less than US100,000.
A valid visa. We will work with applicants to obtain a non-immigrant O visa which covers volunteering.