Day 1 (Saturday) 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 – the transfer coordinator will arrange your transfer to Singburi, a small town about 140kms north of Bangkok and your base for your first 2 nights in Thailand. Arrivals after 4pm will be taken to an airport hotel for the night (included) and then travel to Singburi next morning. If you can’t arrive Saturday, then a Sunday morning arrival is also OK.
Day 2 (Sunday) After a good night’s sleep (and/or a late night with the group), Sunday is a free day to explore the many delights of Singburi city. Singburi, meaning Lion City in Sanskrit, is known as the spiritual heartland of Thailand and the Land of Heroes. A good way to spend a few hours is by visiting one or more of the many “wats”, Buddhist temples some of which have giant Buddha statues. Pak Bang Market is also well worth a visit.
Day 3 (Monday) This morning we head to Kanchanaburi by bus, a journey of around 175 kms through the Thai countryside. On arrival, we’ll check in to our new home at the elephant sanctuary and run through an orientation briefing, including safety rules. Then we’ll meet the mahouts and the elephants, and get straight to work !
The project During your week at the sanctuary, you will get the chance to experience and bond with these gentle giants by swimming with them, bathing them and preparing their food, which typically comes in the form of Bana grass, sugarcane and banana plants.
You’ll be immersed in the mahout way of life here, getting hands-on with the day to day care of the elephants. You will assist with providing food and water, mucking out and helping to bathe them – all great fun ! You’ll learn how to cook their sticky rice, then make rice balls – an elephant favourite! You’ll collect, wash and prepare their fruit and we’ll spend time with the elephants as they graze and take mud baths. You’ll also learn to safely walk alongside them as they head to the river for a refreshing swim.
On Wednesday, we head to the gorgeous Erawan Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in SE Asia, and here we have plenty of time to swim and relax. On Thursday we go for a few hours jungle trekking to explore the spectacular scenery of the area, spending the night under canvas in our own jungle camp. Next morning we are back to the sanctuary for more elephant time before we finish up with a farewell party.
Your last day (Saturday) Your program finishes after breakfast and our team will drop you at Kanchanaburi bus station from where a bus to Bangkok leaves every 30 minutes, a journey of 2½ hours costing about $10. A night or two in Bangkok is a perfect end to your trip. If you are in a hurry to get to the airport, a taxi from Kanchaburi will be around $100 – allow a journey time of 3-3 ½ hours and book your flight to depart no earlier than 6pm.
Accommodation is provided in a spacious, wooden house within the Sanctuary grounds. The rooms are simple, yet comfortable and appropriate for this setting. Volunteers share a bunk-style room with up to four others, and bathrooms are shared. Rooms are lockable and there is wifi access, a safety box for your valuables, hot showers and western toilets.
We will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends. Meals are typically Thai and vegetarian-friendly