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Thailand: Elephant Health & Welfare Project™

Thailand: Elephant Health & Welfare Project™

Take your compassion for animals a step further as you work on elephant conservation efforts on a permanent care reserve.


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  • Stay at the first elephant hospital in the world and observe as elephants are nursed back from injuries
  • Volunteer at a traditional elephant village that supports the highest level of welfare for elephants of all ages
  • Study elephant behavior and biology in a natural environment
  • Visit a Hmong hill tribe village in the mountains of Thailand and learn about their culture
  • Learn the art of Thai cooking
  • Trek through mountain passes and find hidden waterfalls

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Embark on a life-changing experience taking your compassion for animals to the next level while you volunteer with organizations that support humane care for all elephants, whether healthy, injured, rescued or retired. Learn about responsible alternatives that can replace unethical elephant tourism while maintaining the health and welfare of the elephants. Experience firsthand how traditional mahouts and handlers bond with their elephants and manage them ethically. Observe the inherent, wild behaviours of these gentle giants, stimulated by their improved living conditions in a natural habitat. Away from service, discover the fascinating culture and lush mountain forests of Thailand.

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Community Service

Thailand is home to both wild and domesticated populations of Asian elephants. Capture of wild elephants for domestic use has seriously threatened wild populations, and encroaching farmlands and deforestation has severely impacted lands where elephants can roam freely. A shortage of available land to rehabilitate and release them has created a dilemma for domesticated elephants, therefore, there is an urgent need to help these animals. You’ll volunteer with an ethical rehabilitation organization, doing hands-on work with the elephants: washing and feeding them, collecting and preparing food and cleaning their enclosures. You will experience what it is like to be up close and personal to domesticated elephants. Along with direct care, you will help with community-based initiatives or wildlife protection campaigns.

Hands-On Learning

Work with organizations that are passionate about improving the welfare and general well-being of elephants. Learn about historic motivations for domesticating elephants and listen to what experts say about the current complex situation regarding captive elephant welfare, tourism and conservation. Observe how responsible ways of interacting with elephants benefit the animals, their mahouts and the environment. Assist trained elephant veterinarians in the treatment of sick, disabled and injured elephants and discover how prosthetic limbs are made and fitted for individual elephants. Learn how industries like logging and palm oil plantations are devastating the habitats of countless wildlife. Your involvement in this program is the start to raising the awareness around the plight of the Asian elephant.

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Thailand exudes both rustic beauty and serene elegance. The people possess vibrant character that is reflected in the landscape, culture and their reverent attitude, a refreshing comparison to the frenetic pace of the West. Feel a special connection to the culture as you explore open air markets, learn to cook tasty local dishes from a gracious local host, visit the sacred and beautiful Buddhist temples and hike towards vistas of mountain ranges and rustic farmland. Experience a deep appreciation for this remote corner of the globe.


Students stay at two main Home Bases, located in rural Thailand, offering natural surroundings and unique, authentic experiences. The first Home Base is at the property of the world’s first Elephant Hospital and the second one at a traditional elephant village. In between, students will also stay at a Hill tribe lodge in the mountains and a family resort south of Chiang Mai. Accommodations are basic, but clean and safe. Students sleep in gender-segregated rooms with roommates, and have access to shared bathrooms.

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Dates & Tuition

Thailand: Elephant Health & Welfare Project™ 21-Day Flagship Program Flagship
Duration: 21 days
Tuition: $5,399
Student/Staff Ratio: 6 to 1
Community Service Hours: 45
Language Hours: N/A
See What's Included
Tuition includes all in-country expenses including:
  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support
More Information

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for adults and families, in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association.

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