Day 1 (Friday) Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport (airport code BKK) and say Sawasdee to Thailand. After clearing customs and immigration, you’ll be met by our local team and taken straight to your accommodation in the heart of Bangkok’s backpacker district, a journey of around 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Arrive any time between 6am and 8pm and we’ll be there to meet you with a warm welcome.
Day 2 (Saturday) After a good night’s sleep (and/or a late night enjoying the Khao San scene), you’ll meet the rest of your group at orientation (it is highly likely you met many of them already yesterday). Later, we take you on a fun city tour of Bangkok – we’ll explore the old city and it’s magnificent temples, and we’ll head out by boat on the Chao Praya, Bangkok’s main river which serves as a major transport route to get around this city, avoiding the infamous traffic jams. On return, we’ll enjoy an evening out on Khao San Road and a welcome dinner.
Day 3 (Sunday) This morning we leave the bright lights behind us as we head to Surin province, culturally important as the Elephant capital of Thailand ! Our journey is 6-7 hours through the Thai countryside and is usually by train (sometimes bus). Thailand’s trains are slow but full of character making the journey an experience in itself. On arrival in Surin city we check in to a lovely city centre hotel for the night, with time to explore the city, check your emails or do any shopping you need before we head to the elephant village tomorrow.
Days 4 to 8 (Monday to Friday) On Monday morning we head out of Surin city and in to elephant country. Our home is a rural and traditional Thai farming village where the houses are made of wood, roads made of dirt, with rice and sugar cane fields as far as the eye can see.
Since elephants are no longer used in the logging industry, the Mahouts (elephant guardians), often earn less than $5 per family per week and struggle to properly care for the elephants. Through a partnership with the village elders our tours provide support to the villagers and their elephants through their efforts and the income provided by this program. Without the help of volunteers like you, the Mahouts would be forced to take the elephants to beg on the streets.
Here at the village we immerse ourselves into traditional village life and get up close and personal with the elephants where we learn to care for, feed, wash and even swim with them.
We stay in shared home-stay accommodation here in the village. Your village hosts are excellent cooks and all meals while at the village are included. On Friday afternoon, we return to Surin city and the comfort of a western-style hotel room, a wifi connection and Surin’s bars and restaurants.
Day 9 (Saturday) Today it's time to head to the Kingdom of Wonder, Cambodia! The land-border crossing is a fun experience in itself as we get a couple more stamps in the passport, then it’s on to the charming French colonial city of Siem Reap, our base for the next week. Not only is Siem Reap in the shadow of the majestic Angkor Wat but it is in its own right a wonderful place to stay and explore. With vibrant markets, the hugely entertaining Pub Street with it’s bars and restaurants, quaint riverside cafes and shopping galore there are moments when you forget you're in a small town in a third-world country!
Day 10 (Sunday) A full day tour at Angkor, one of the most important and breathtaking archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. Extending over 400 square kilometres, the Angkor site contains dozens of temples, reservoirs, canals and ancient roads. For several centuries Angkor, was the centre of the Khmer Kingdom and the vast temple complex contains the magnificent remains of the capitals of the Khmer Empire dating from the 9th to the 15th century. These include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat itself, Angkor Thom and The Bayon to name a few. Angkor is a sight to behold, a truly inspiring place that must be seen to be believed.
Days 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday) Cambodia is still classed as a third world country and once you get underneath the surface of Siem Reap you'll understand why. Poverty is widespread here so be prepared for an at-times confronting experience.
For this week’s community volunteering, choose from being a teaching assistant to the kids or working on a clean water filtration development project. Whichever you choose, you’ll be accompanied and supported by our team each day on project, no experience is expected and you’ll be guided throughout the volunteering days.
Located 20kms from the centre of Siem Reap city, our small community school was set up to offer free English classes to children aged between 6 and 12 and through the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, these local children have the opportunity of a brighter future. Our project here presently supports around 100 children who come here before and after regular school to supplement their education
Low income families in the area generally have little or no access to clean running water, so with volunteer help we aim to make improvements in this area through the creation of wells and the development of clean water filtration systems – be part of this positive change in the area.
As your working week progresses you’ll begin to understand much more about why we do what we do and how your time is helping.
Your last day (Friday) Oh no …… time to say goodbye to your newfound friends. You can arrange onward transport for any time today. There is an international airport in Siem Reap so you will be able to book a flight home from here – alternatively there are regular buses to Bangkok (a long, 11 hours+ journey) or Phnom Penh (6-7 hours)
10 nights twin-share hotel/guesthouse accommodation with wifi, private bathroom with hot shower, air-con and may have a TV too !
4 nights dorm-style shared accommodation at the elephant village. Volunteers will share fan-cooled bedrooms. Sleeping arrangements may be a bed but may also be a mattress on the floor. Mosquito nets are provided
Breakfasts are included each day and you will also have a traditional welcome meal in Bangkok. During your volunteering in Surin, Thailand, lunch and dinner are also included each day you are volunteering. In Siem Reap, lunch is also included at the volunteer project.