International Volunteer Project // Elephant Nature Park // Chiang Mai, Thailand

When: 23 Nov · 08:00 Ends: 27 Nov · 16:00 Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand

This year we will embark on our very first international project!

After much research and looking for a project which was most in-line with what we are all about here at Illawarra Intrepid Landcare, and considering a number of travel factors for our volunteers interested in this project, our very first project will be at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Elephant Nature Park

ENP provides sanctuary for disabled, blind, and orphaned elephants that have often been abused as working animals and for street begging. You will actively be helping improve their lives and the conditions in which they live. The sanctuary is also home to numerous dogs, cats, birds, buffalo and many other rescued animals.

As many of you are adventurous travellers yourselves, ethical and sustainable travel is something we should all consider engaging in. This project perfectly highlights the impacts the tourism industry is having on animals and the environment, and often people are just simply not aware of these issues when they are engaging in certain activities while travelling.

Developed by Sangduen "Lek" Chailert this award winning project portrays aspects of culture, fauna and flora impossible to experience elsewhere.

Volunteering at the park offers volunteers the opportunity to engage with the animals and, for many, it is an enriching and life-changing experience. Volunteers can feed and bathe the elephants regularly, as well as learn more about their care. Your volunteer experience includes six nights of lodging in shared rooms and three meals a day.

What you will be doing

Each day you'll help prepare the elephants food, have the satisfaction of feeding them and the moving experience of watching the delight they have bathing together in the river. This is all against a backdrop of witnessing how they behave in their natural habitat. During your stay you will see for yourself the challenges facing elephant conservation in Thailand and the part that this project plays in the preservation of their herd.

Other aspects that are involved can be preparing the elephant's bathing sites, cutting food from the plantations and helping with any maintenance tasks around the park. This is a great way to understand and enjoy all parts of the conservation mission, whilst enjoying a place tucked away from the beaten track.

Free time activities

Free time is provided before and after lunch and dinner. During free time, there are many activities to enjoy such as cultural lessons and walks. This personal time can also be spent socialising, getting a Thai massage, walking dogs, river tubing, etc. Or more simply, watching elephants wander freely on the property.

Accommodation and food

You will be living on site in comfortable accommodation sharing with at least two other volunteers. Here you will fall asleep to the sounds of elephants calling. The food is a large buffet style lunch and dinner with many different dishes to choose from. Vegan and vegetarian food is always available and all dietary restrictions are catered to.

What is provided?

Transport from Chiang Mai to Elephant Nature Park and back
Clean, convenient accommodation on site
Three delicious meals per day, served in buffet style with great amount of choice
Internet connection - generally available
A practical education on the challenges facing elephant conservation

What do I need?

A full passport valid for the duration of your stay
Insurance (covering your placement time and any planned independent travel)
Flights to Chiang Mai city
Independent travel costs and return to the airport in Chiang Mai City
Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow maybe 200 Baht per day depending on lifestyle)
A visa is normally not necessary for under 30 days from most western European countries
No compulsory inoculations are necessary although do check with your doctor to make sure polio, typhoid and Hepatitis A&B jabs are up to date


Project will run from November 23 – 29. This is outside university exam times.

Getting there

Once we have confirmed numbers we will try to sort out a group booking for flights to Chiang Mai on the Saturday 21st of November. But you can also make your own travel arrangements. We will discuss this through the Facebook page and via email for those who are booked onto the project.

Monday morning around 08:00am we will be picked up from our accommodation or we may make our own way to the Elephant Nature Park offices from where you register. We are then driven 60km north to the park

Additional travel

Some of you may wish to arrange additional travel experiences. We will help facilitate the discussion of this through our Facebook event page so others wishing to extend their Thailand (or surrounds) experience can seek out travel buddies and arrange to visit other destinations.


These projects fill up fast so if you want to book onto this project you need to get in and decide quick!

We will be coordinating a group booking but if you are in a position where you need more time to sort yourself out, you can take your booking into your own hands and gamble on the fact that there may or may not be a spot left down the track.

Total cost per person: 12,000 ฿ (about $450 AU)

To secure a position on this project a deposit of $100 per person will be required with Illawarra Intrepid Landcare, we will book online on your behalf and you pay the remaining balance to the sanctuary on arrival.


If you are serious about coming on this project please email Megan at by the 23rd of January 2015.

You will then be given instructions on how to make payment.

For more information about Elephant Nature Park visit the Elephant Nature Park website.