Elephant Conservation Adventure Thailand

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WHY we need you in Thailand

Cutting food for the elephants

HOW can you help?

WHAT can you do?

Why Involvement Volunteers International?

travelling overseas can truly change your life!






  MIN AGE: 16+



Our aim of this project is to bring elephants back into their natural habitat by working with the local communities to not only provide a safe haven for the elephants, but also an alternative livelihood for their mahouts and owners.

The elephants have been taken from a life of poor health care, exhaustion, inadequate diet, and entertaining tourists where they were unable to just be elephants. These wonderful creatures are bought back to their natural environment where they are living in semi-wild conditions, free to roam as much as possible and live their lives how they choose by foraging and interacting. In order to bring the elephants home to their natural habitat we need your help.

There are more than 4,000 captive elephants in Thailand, most of whom are living in poor conditions with inadequate care and lack of freedom. IVI recognises that this is inhumane and a reason we work with local partners to help bring as many elephants back to their natural environment as well as raise awareness about the captive elephant situation. We work alongside the elephant owners, local community and other organisations to raise awareness about a brighter future for all captive elephants.


Umphang is one of the most hidden and beautiful places in Thailand. The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and here you work with the majestic elephants feeding and bathing them completely on their terms. Close to the border of Burma, this placement is deep in the mountains and well off the beaten path. Set amid numerous national parks, mountains and lakes, you are surrounded by nature and beauty. It offers a peaceful environment and a perfect setting to see the elephants enjoy their natural habitat. Here the elephants exist in their natural habitat with no tourist exploitation.

Project Tasks

  • Maintaining the natural habitat of Asian elephants 
  • Carry out research on the Elephants natural behaviours
  • Prepare food, baths and assist in health checks of the elephants
  • Provide assistance to the local mahouts
  • Provide a unique, unforgettable experience of Thailand’s culture

Food & Accommodation

The volunteer centre is a safe, clean and comfortable wooden cabin guest house. There is even a bar to enjoy in the evenings, free WIFI in public areas, lockable rooms, hot showers, purified water, private western style bathroom shared between 2-4 volunteers, bed linen, mosquito protection and fans (no air con).  Laundry facilities are available nearby for a small cost.   

There are Thai restaurants, bars, and shops located within walking distance from the accommodation as it’s in the middle of a small yet lively village. There is an ATM machine nearby at a 7/11.

Private rooms are available at an extra cost of US$150 p/week (p/room). Must be booked in advance.

Three healthy & traditional Thai meals are provided each day. Filtered water is available.

What's Included
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Airport Pickup
  • Local Transportation
  • 1 Day Orientation
  • 24/7 In-Country Support
  • Project Materials & Equipment
  • Pre-departure Expert Advice
  • Preperation Tools & Checklists
  • Certificate of Completion



Anyone interested in animal conservation and off the beaten path Thailand adventure. This project has a cap on the number of volunteers so it’s recommended to book well in advance to ensure availability. Joining this project will provide valuable in-field research experience and the opportunity to live abroad immersed in another culture with no previous experience required.

  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals p/day weekdays / 2 meals p/day weekends
  • Arrival airport transfer (Sat/Sun arrivals)
  • Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea
  • 1 day orientation
  • Daily transportation to project
  • In country 24/7 support & emergency assistance
  • Fundraising support
  • University course credits (where applicable)
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Airfares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tours, Souvenirs & spending money

Volunteers in Thailand are encouraged to take up the orientation week to help you ease into the lifestyle and pace of Thailand. You will get to know your town and it’s facilities and everything required to make your stay comfortable. You may choose after the first few days to move straight into your chosen volunteer placement if desired or otherwise just enjoy the company of your new friends and extended family!

When confirming your dates please take note of the long holidays (mid-March till mid-May and October). During these times, renovation work continues, with the option to join special classes and English camps that are regularly requested by the local Thailand communities involved.

Programs begin every Monday, and volunteers are required to arrive the day prior, for orientation before the project. Your accommodation on the Sunday is included in the program fees.

A free airport pickup is included when arriving to Bangkok BKK (Suvarnabhumi) Airport, Level 2, Entrance 4. You must arrive between 06.00 and 16:00 on Sunday.

If arriving outside the pickup times on Sunday, you can book a private transfer for US$50.

If arriving on Saturday, you will need to pay US$50 for an extra night’s accommodation, or arrange your own accommodation for the night.

If arriving during the week, or on Saturday outside of pickup times, we charge US$50 for any extra night’s accommodation before your program, and another US$50 fee for a private transfer.

Alternatively, if arriving early you could wait at the arrival’s terminal for the pickup time, book accommodation at the airport and meet us during the pickup times or make your own way to the project (we will advise on how to do this).

  • Sunday – You will be transferred from Singburi to the project site by bus in the evening (around 20:00)
  • Monday – Pick up from Mae sot bus station to head to Umphang by local truck (4 hours)
    Breakfast, Time to rest and relax, Lunch, Visit the elephants to feed them, Dinner
  • TuesdayBreakfast, Cut banana trees to feed the elephants, Feed the elephants, Lunch, Washing and swimming with the elephants, Kayaking or canoeing (depending on weather), Dinner
  • Wednesday – Breakfast, Cut banana trees to feed the the elephants, Feed the elephants, Lunch, Washing & swimming with the elephants, Visit a nearby Karen Tribe village, Dinner
  • Thursday – Breakfast, Cut banana trees to feed the the elephants, Feed the elephants, Lunch, Washing & swimming with the elephants, Head to the mountain see the sunset (possibility for camping if weather is good), Dinner
  • FridayBreakfast, A short trek to reach a gorgeous waterfall where we can swim and relax, Lunch, Back to the guesthouse, Time to relax, Dinner
  • Saturday – Transfer back to Singburi if you are continuing further programs or for those completing the program, transfer to Mai Sot bus station which has many connections to the rest of Thailand.

Since the placment is set in an unspoilt natural environment, scnenic treking is the main draw card with a trek to Thi Lo Su waterfall a must as it’s the largest waterfall in Thailand. Here you may also witness local Karen Hill Tribe villages who originally came from Burma. There are 3 temples in Umphang where you can see monks.

With a long sandy coastline and jungle-topped islands anchored in crystal blue waters Thailand is a tropical getaway and favorite traveling destination for holiday makers and volunteers from all over the world. Thailand’s culture is generous, warm and outgoing and the cuisine is world renowned for a tropical abundance of fresh and varied flavors of spicy, sweet, salty and sour. 

Thailand is a fascinating and exotic country to explore. Through volunteering, you’ll gain a love in the people, culture, scenery, cuisine and in the overall lifestyle of Thailand.

We offer diverse project options catering to many different interests. Volunteering is the ideal way of assimilating into the local Thai culture and experiencing the real lifestyle in Thailand.

November to Febuary is the best time to visit Thailand, with a pleasent temperature through most of the country. From March to May temperatures can get very hot. The monsoon rains start from about June to October. Showers usually are quite predictabe and come in short bursts, so this time of year can be great to visit, as everything is so green and there are fewer crowds!

Temperatures are around 30 degrees on average throughout the year. If in the North of Thailand in the winter, evenings can get quite chilly, so bring some warm clothes too!

Vietnam has one of the oldest cultures in South East Asia, creating a rich history with ancient traditions dating back thousands of years. It also has a large Chinese influence. Elders are very well respected in Vietnamese culture, the older you are, the more respect is shown to you. ‘Saving face’ is a concept shown by most Vietnamese people and is thought of as extremely important in their culture. This means that if you feel angered or annoyed by someone, you do not show it and remain respectful. If you lose your temper/ are rude, then this is seen as losing face and therefore a loss of reputation and self-respect.

Vietnamese is the most widely spoken language, other languages include Chinese, Khmer, Cham and tribal dialects. Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism are the main religious beliefs in Vietnam, and you will find many temples dotted around the country. You will often see the local people giving fruits and burning incense to give as offerings.

30 Years Non Profit Experience

IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally.

Affordable Volunteer Travel

We’re not motivated by shareholder profits.   Our fees are fully transparent to ensure maximum benefit where it is most needed. 

Safe & Responsible Projects

All projects include a dedicated 24/7 in-country management team, operational & risk assessment & overseas support contact.   All projects are personally inspected to ensure very high quality.

Work Experience & University Credits

We place thousands of Uni students and can assist you with course credits and in-field experience points.   Many of our project coordinators are qualified practitioners in their respective fields allowing unique in-field supervision and Uni accreditation options

Check out this amazing blog with step by step info on how to raise funds for your overseas volunteer experience to help maximize your impact abroad. Guide to Fundraising

Weekends & Extra Tours

Ready to Volunteer in Thailand?