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Thailand: The Elephant Village Initiative™

Thailand: The Elephant Village Initiative™

Elephants are Thailand’s gentle giants—learn about their cultural importance and share your love for these majestic animals with local youth.


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  • Enjoy the best of both worlds: split your time between elephant stewardship and spending time with children in the community
  • Learn about cultural, social and environmental issues related to elephant eco-tourism
  • Hike in picturesque mountains
  • Experience Thailand’s vibrant culture and cuisine
  • Visit colorful street markets filled with local handicrafts
  • Go on a whitewater rafting adventure

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Travel to a rural village in Thailand where you’ll have the unique opportunity to ethically interact with elephants, an important figure in Thai society and significant symbol for many centuries. In this program, you’ll learn both about elephant conservation and local community life, which are deeply interconnected in this region. Your immersion in the Chiang Rai region will also give you the chance to engage with children in the community and make a difference in the lives of local youth. Share your love of elephants with them, and learn a thing or two about Thai culture from them that you would never expect. You’ll also explore the unique sights and smells of Thailand on a variety of cultural excursions that simply can't be missed.

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Community Service

Your service projects in Thailand give you a unique opportunity to assist in elephant conservation work while also spending time with children in the community. You’ll assist with a variety of physical projects, such as food harvesting, reforestation or land rehabilitation, that help achieve long-term harmony for the elephants, many who live in protective captivity due to human encroachment on their population. When working with youth in the region, you'll see the importance of helping the next generation learn the value of preserving the environment and how community impact can shape the course of Thailand for generations to come.

Hands-On Learning

In addition to observing the animals’ biology and social behavior, you’ll also become deeply engaged with complex global issues regarding captive elephant welfare, tourism and conservation. Discuss the challenges elephants and their caretakers face today with mounting tourism and endangerment caused by human activity. You’ll have the opportunity to watch documentaries and listen to regional experts speak on these controversial topics. To gain a complete perspective on Thai culture, you’ll visit with children in the community, and will even spend a day at a high school for cultural exchange and get to know the students.

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A trip to Thailand wouldn't be complete without a little adventure! Visit beautiful temples in Thailand and see firsthand the exquisite details built into these incredible edifices. You'll also take an excursion to explore colorful, bustling markets, where you can browse around for handcrafted wares found only in this part of the country. To take a break from your service project, you'll also go whitewater rafting, taste foods you may never have seen before and explore the city of Chiang Rai.


The GLA Home Base is a rustic lodge surrounded by nature. The Home Base features a covered eating area and is basic, but clean and safe. Students stay in gender-segregated rooms with roommates and have access to showers and western-style toilets.

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Dates & Tuition

Thailand: The Elephant Village Initiative™ 14-Day Program
2018 Dates
Jun 17 - Jun 30, 2018
Jul 3 - Jul 16, 2018
Jul 19 - Aug 1, 2018
Aug 4 - Aug 17, 2018
Duration: 14 days
Tuition: $3,699
Student/Staff Ratio: 6 to 1
Community Service Hours: 30
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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GLA provided a wonderful support system on The Elephant Village Initiative™, and the mentors on the trip were amazing. I would definitely recommend Global Leadership Adventures to anyone who wanted to do service abroad while simultaneously learning about different cultures.

Thailand: The Elephant Village Initiative™
Hometown: Hoboken, NJ

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