Volunteer Northern Thailand Elephant Sanctuary

This truly is a unique elephant volunteering opportunity and is perfect for anyone who loves elephants - students, children, older volunteers, couples, groups and solo travellers. Spend your time with our brilliant mahouts and immerse yourself in elephant life. Read on to get the low down on how you can help these amazing animals...

Duration: 1 to 4 weeks

Hours: 5 days per week

Activities: Work alongside professional mahouts preparing food, feeding the elephants, harvesting crops for feed, learning about the elephants, and keeping the sanctuary in the best condition for the elephants

Location: Thailand

City info: Chiang Rai, with its own international airport, in lovely Northern Thailand

Accommodation: Spacious on-site shared rooms with views of the elephants

Requirements: Aged 18+

Volunteer Placement Fee: From £650 / US$775

How you will spend your time at the project

Volunteers work a 5-day week, with approximately half your working with the mahouts and project staff planting and harvesting food for the elephants, feeding the elephants, and cleaning and preparing their sleeping areas. You also help with the general upkeep of the sanctuary making sure the elephants can be as happy and comfortable as possible. Your remaining time is spent observing and learning about our resident 'family' of elephants in their natural habitat with a guide.
Typical volunteer duties include:

  • Learning about the elephants and this unique animal sanctuary and observing them in their natural habitat.
  • Cutting different types of elephant grass, fruit and banana trees and transporting it to the night areas to keep their big appetites in check!
  • Feeding the elephants
  • Planting elephant grass, banana trees, sugar cane, pineapple or corn for fodder.
  • Participating in elephant feeding habit research, weekly vet (care) checks and learning about the biology of the elephant.
  • Helping to improve the elephant sanctuary by doing light construction work, planting seedlings and maintaining pathways.

NB Activities can be seasonal and dependent on factors such as the needs of the elephants and weather conditions.

NEW! Join a group volunteering trip

If you are travelling on your own but would like to volunteer with a group, then this project has just what you need - group volunteering trips. Your placement includes everything you get with our regular placements but you will join a friendly group of fellow volunteers on arrival. Group volunteering trips run on fixed dates to make life eaiser for everyone and we require a minimum of four volunteers to make it viable.

A group trip is the ideal option for volunteers who can't persuade their partner or a friend to come with them, and would rather share this unforgettable experience with a ready-made group of volunteers from aroudn the world. Group volunteers can be from any country and any age provided you meet the project's minimum requirements. For full details click here. Or if you are ready to go you can apply here.

Why the Sanctuary needs Volunteers

Looking after the elephants, growing and harvesting their food and maintaining the sanctuary is a full time job. The sanctuary has one mahout per elephant but the more volunteers who join the project, the better the care we can give to the elephants and the closer we can keep the sanctuary to their natural habitat.
The Northern Thailand sanctuary is dedicated to providing a safe, natural habitat to elephants who are being rehabilitated from years of exploitation in logging, elephant rides and shows.  Not only are these elephants being given a second chance at a normal life, it also serves as a place of education for care and treatment of elephants for the public and for other local elephant owners. 
Volunteers work under the guidance of local staff and professional mahouts in caring for the day to day needs of elephants and ensuring that the sanctuary is well maintained.

"I'm always slightly embarrassed that I am not very good at roughing it so I am thrilled we can offer even softies like me a chance to connect with these lovely elephants"

Simon, Globalteer's Development Director, UK

More Information

Read more about the Northern Thailand Elephant Sanctuary including accommodation, location, extra activities, climate and what makes Globalteer different.

Read More about the Sanctuary


1 week

2 weeks

3 weeks

4 weeks
Shared room
£650 /
£1,065 /
£1,420 /
£1,715 /

Volunteer Placement Fee

The volunteer placement fee includes: 
  • Airport pick up from Chiang Rai international airport.
  • Accommodation and all meals at the lovely on site accommodation (vegetarians, vegans and fruitarians are provided for).
  • Onsite project orientation with introduction to the elephants and their behaviour.
  • Full in country support from the project staff.
  • Sunday arrival with departure on Fridays.
  • Comprehensive information brochure about the sanctuary.
  • Assistance and advice for travelling to Thailand.
  • Donation to the project.

The placement fee does not include flights, visas or personal insurance although we can provide information as required. The sanctuary does have public liability insurance as required by Thai law.

Groups and families are welcome at this project. Please enquire about our discounted group and children rates. Returning volunteers and those doing multiple Globalteer projects will receive a discount of US$70 / GBP£50.

Reserve Your Place

Application process & requirements

The minimum age for volunteers travelling on their own is 18 years old. Parents and legal guardians are welcome to bring their children. No previous experience or qualifications are necessary but we do require volunteers to be respectful and open minded to the cultural differences they will encounter in Thailand.
While the Sanctuary does have public liability Insurance it is highly recommended at this project that you also come with your own travel insurance because the local hospital is excellent but rather expensive.

Volunteers must be reasonably fit as the work can be demanding in the tropical heat.
You must be able to speak basic English.
Volunteers must have a similar ideology to the mission of the elephant sanctuary, wildlife trainers and those who exploit wildlife for the benefit of people are not suitable for this project. This is a place of calm, rest and care.
  1. Click on the link below to fill out an application form.
  2. Add "@globalteer.org" to your E-mail safe list to ensure that you receive a response.
  3. Your application will be reviewed and if accepted you will be notified via E-mail within one week.
  4. Pay your deposit to secure your placement within one week of acceptance.
  5. Research your destination, book your flight, inoculations and ask us any questions you may have.
  6. Full amount is to be paid 10 weeks before the start of your placement.
  7. A comprehensive information folder will be sent to you with all information including a packing list, Thailand cultural differences, Buddhist Monk etiquette, useful Thai language phrases, elephant sanctuary rules, useful phone contacts and full project information.
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