Thailand – Elephant Forest Refuge – Images

This program is now open to international volunteers!

Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary south of Bangkok that allows these majestic creatures to live chain-free in natural surroundings! This project takes place at a refuge in Thailand for rescued and injured elephants.


Program Highlights:

  • Volunteer and care for rescued elephants in an ethical setting
  • Observe the elephants in a near natural habitat
  • Join our fun-filled Culture and Beach Week in Hau Hun before you volunteer


Your Schedule at a Glance (Two-week commitment):

Arrival Day, Sunday: Arrive at Bangkok Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang Airport (DMK), PCR test, and transfer to the volunteer base in Hau Hin.

Culture Week (Mon – Fri): Enjoy a week filled with cultural activities and experience authentic Thailand.

  • Explore famous sights and beaches around Hua Hin
  • Join Thai language, cooking and Yoga lessons.
  • Visits to Buddhist temples (‘Wat’ in Thai)
  • Visit local markets where you can witness the Thai lifestyle and taste local food.
  • Partake in beach conservation activities, such as clean ups.

Free weekend (Sat – Sun)
: Weekends are free to relax or explore.

Elephant Volunteer week (Mon – Sat): Transfer on Monday morning to the Elephant Sanctuary near Hau Hin to start your meaningful volunteer program with Elephants. Scroll down to “Volunteer Work” for more details.

Departure is on a Saturday: Farewells and transfer to Hau Hin to continue your trip or depart for home.


Location icon Location of the Project: Hau Hin

Project length Project length: 1 – 3 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Bangkok Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang Airport (DMK)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Wildlife care

Age Age: Min age of 18.

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 20 international volunteers. Please note that this sanctuary has many employees and long-term volunteers whom you will be assisting.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared rooms in a dorm-style accommodation

Food Food: Three meals per day, 2 meals per day on the weekends

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Airport pickup and PCR test is arranged before arrival for an extra fee of 5500 Baht. (to be paid upon arrival)

Orientation Orientation: Orientation and training are provided upon arrival

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses, airport pickup and PCR test (extra fee of 5500 Baht, to be upon arrival)

The initial Culture Week takes place in Hua Hin, one of Thailand’s most popular beach destinations. It is located 280 kilometers southwest of Bangkok, in the southern Thai province of Prachuap Khiri Kha. The Elephant Refuge is located 1 hour north of Hau Hin in Tha Mai Ruak.

As a volunteer on this project, you will assist an ethical refuge that provides rescued and injured elephants the opportunity to live chain-free. A renown local non-profit organization created this impressive sanctuary for elephants to retire after a strenuous life in the tourism industry. Forested land around the rescue center allows elephants the chance to roam around in near natural surroundings. The largest elephant enclosure is 20 hectares with natural trees, lakes, and grazing areas. This gives them space to move around and socialise with other elephants.

Volunteers will spend their time with the mahouts (elephant handlers), following a daily schedule of elephant care. Some of your tasks may include:

  • Cleaning and maintaining enclosures, pools and mud baths
  • Creating enrichments to stimulate our elephants
  • Observing elephant behavior in a natural habitat
  • Harvesting plant matter, including banana trees and grasses to feed to our elephants
  • Feeding the elephants
  • Washing the elephants
  • Walking the elephants to the forest to allow them to forage on natural foods
  • Volunteer house cleaning duties and caring for the dogs that live there.

Please note that volunteers may interact with some of our elephants, as they cannot return to the wild. However, we do not ride or swim with the elephants.

Work Schedule:
Your day starts at 6:30 at the volunteer House and ends around 17:00 with several breaks included breakfast and lunch. Volunteers work 6 days a week with one day off. The work can be physically demanding, yet is well worth it. The volunteer co-coordinators will assign you each day to work-groups and tasks. Each participant can work at their own pace, according to their strengths and abilities. Volunteer coordinators will be around to answer questions, and monitor and support each group throughout the day.

Internet icon Internet: Wi-Fi is available in a communal area

Laundry icon Laundry: Laundry service is available for around 7 BHT per item

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Culture Week: Comfortable shared rooms for 4 people with private bathroom and hot shower. A communal swimming pool is available for the volunteers. Private room upgrade is available for an extra fee.

During the volunteer week, you will stay in European style, concrete and brick bungalows. Rooms are single gender with 2-3 volunteers per room. All rooms have either en-suite or shared bathrooms with a western style toilet and a cold shower. A few Hot showers are available in the communal area. You will also get a pillow, blanket and bedsheets during your stay.

Food icon Food: The Thai staff prepare 3 meals a day. Breakfast includes various items such as bread, jams and butter, eggs, seasonal fruit, pancakes, milk, tea, coffee. Lunch and dinner are usually local Thai cuisine. Vegan and vegetarian options are available as well. Note: During the Culture Week, we provide 2 meals during the weekend.


COVID-19 entry requirements to Thailand:

Please click on this link to see the updated requirements for getting a Thailand Pass to enter the country:


General entry process (subject to change):

  • Read carefully the information in the link and make sure you are eligible for a Thailand Pass.
  • You can register for the Thailand Pass following your application and placement confirmation.
  • We will email you the address of your volunteer accommodation in Hua Hin for the registration form.
  • After you register, your volunteer accommodation in Hua Hin will receive a notification. They will arrange an airport pickup service that includes a PCR test in Bangkok and then transfer to the Hua Hin volunteer accommodation. This service costs around 5500 BHT, which you pay upon arrival to the driver and PCR test facility.
  • The volunteer accommodation is a recognized SHA+ hotel, so you wait there until you get your PCR test results.

Program requirements

  • Basic level of English
  • Motivation to work with animals
  • Able to do physical work under tropical heat

Volunteer Experiences

Want to join this program?