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Elephant Refuge

Project Description

As a volunteer at the elephant project, you will be taught everything you need to know about the care of these magnificent animals. You will work hands-on with the elephants, washing them, feeding them during the day, going out to collect food for them, walking with them into our beautiful lake to swim and cleaning their enclosure. The financial contribution you make to the center supports the costs of caring for the elephants and for your own food and accommodation.

Typical Daily Schedule & Activities

Volunteers work 6 days a week. There are two volunteer coordinators present to facilitate to the needs of the volunteers, as well as to organize the daily schedule. Working hours are generally from 06:30 to 17:00 depending upon the job the volunteers are on for the day. There are breaks for breakfast and lunch. Although every working day is different, with different tasks to carry out, there are several jobs which need to be done daily.
Volunteers go on banana harvests every other day. For example: Monday - Harvest, Tuesday - no Harvest, Wednesday - Harvest, etc. Volunteers should be prepared for hard physical work.

06:30-08:00 Volunteers on the ER project will make banana balls, feed them to the elephants, clean the general area and get the fruit ready to be used later in the day.

08:00-09:00 Breakfast

09:00-12:00 Elephant volunteers will help with scrubbing water tubs, salad bowls, composting the enclosures and other tasks that are required to be done for the day.

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-17:00 In the afternoon period, the volunteers will ibe involved in enrichment making, cleaning the food preparartion areas, making banana balls and feeding the elephants. Some volunteers may have the opportunity to walk an elephant if needed as part of it's physical rehabilitation but this is not guaranteed.

17:00-18:00 Personal time (usually used for showering!)

18:00-19:00 Dinner.

19:00 onwards Personal time to socialize with other volunteers, walk into the village (must be in groups of two or more), or take a taxi to Hua Hin or Cha Am. We encourage volunteers to keep the noise down after 22:00 to avoid disturbing the wildlife.

The types and variety of duties will depend largely on the duration of stay of each volunteer, and number and skills of volunteers participating. Some of the work is also seasonal and dependent upon available resources on-site at the time.

Although the work with these domesticated elephants is hands-on, we do not support the riding of elephants. Many of our rescued elephants have endured decades of backbreaking work carrying tourists in elephant camps and ‘attractions’, and the Elephant Refuge and Education Center is their sanctuary, somewhere they no longer have to ‘perform’ or be treated unnaturally.

Project Combinations

It is also possible to combine this Elephant Refuge project with the Wildlife Rescue Center project. Both projects are based on the same site and it’s a good opportunity to experience conservation work with many different types of animals without having to change location. Please let us know if you would like a combination of these two projects.

Mitä hintaan sisältyy?

Ylimääräiset paikallismaksut


Free one day a week but not necessarily the weekend. On your days off, you can go to the nearby beaches at Hua Hin and Cha am. There are also national parks nearby where trekking is possible. Days off can be coordinated, so you can spend free time with your friends.

There is a local village (10 mins walk) where volunteers can buy noodles, crisps, soda, beer fruit juices etc and there are also very good places to buy Thai food. There is a night market every Sunday where food, clothing and other goods can be bought.


All volunteers stay at the accommodation at the center. The accommodation is in simple same gender bungalows within the centre (exceptions for families, friends and couples). Each bungalow has its own (European style) toilet and cold shower and are mainly either two or three bedded. There are only cold showers available in a communal bathroom area if needed during your stay. All rooms have a fan. The rooms are cleaned weekly, however, we ask all volunteers to look after their own space and keep your personal area tidy. A positive attitude towards group living and teamwork is essential.

We have a main volunteer house where many volunteers hang out and socialize. Free use of Wi-Fi is available at the volunteer house, elephant kitchen and the midlands accommodations. There is also an area for smokers. The volunteers usually organize outings like going to the night market in Hua Hin once a week, as well as some trips to the national park. There is a notice board where you can sign up for activities and shared taxis.

There is an onsite laundry where volunteers change their bedding on a weekly basis for free, and they can take items of clothing, (except underwear), to be cleaned at a set price of 7 Baht per item.

There is a telephone in the office where emergency international phone calls can come in or local calls can be made. This is only for emergencies and incoming calls should only be made during working hours at the center. It is highly recommended that volunteers bring a mobile phone (unlocked) with them as they can purchase Thai SIM cards cheaply from the shops in the local village along with mobile phones for as little as 1000 Baht.

Paikalliset kuljetukset

The volunteer organisation offers different pick-up options in different locations. Your travel advisor can help you request a transfer that best fits your needs, and fill all necessary transfer information in a disclaimer form. You are then required to sign this disclaimer to agree that the information given is correct. In case you miss your pick-up, you will anyhow be charged in full. The terms and conditions are included in the template that lists the allocated pick-up times, costs and pick-up points. The template also includes the contact information for our coordinators, such as email addresses and phone numbers.

Arrival Transfer Times & Costs (Paid locally)
Bangkok (International Suvarnabhumi Airport) between 06:00 and 14:00 - 2200 Baht
Bangkok (International Don Mueng Airport) between 06:00 and 14:00 - 2200 Baht
Bangkok (Hotel) between 06:00 and 14:00 - 2200 Baht
Cha Am between 06:00 and 16:00 - 400 Baht
Hua Hin between 06:00 and 16:00 - 700 Baht
Petchaburi between 06:00 and 16:00 - 800 Baht

The costs are per taxi that can seat up to 3 passengers.

It's highly recommended to book the arrival transfer from a Bangkok hotel at 09:00 and from Hua Hin, Petchaburi and Cha Am at 10:00. This gives you enough time to arrive at your project, settle in and be ready to start the orientation tour at 13:45.

If you have an early morning flight from Bangkok, you need to book your last night in Bangkok (your own cost), as it’s not possible to get back to Bangkok in time for an early departure.
On your day of departure you need to leave your room by 09:00 but you are welcome to stay at the project until late afternoon, if you want to spend a few hours taking photos of the animals.


Three meals a day are provided. All meals are served at designated times, so if volunteers wish to cook their own foods, they will need to purchase this in the village, the Robinson shopping mall, Hua Hin or Cha Am. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are freshly prepared by our Thai cooks, and are predominantly traditional and local Thai. However, we do also have Western cuisine nights.

At all meal times there are clearly labeled ‘meat’, ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’ options. However, they cannot guarantee that the food will be completely free from nuts, seafood or be gluten free. They are unable to cater for individual needs. Clean drinking water is also provided in a number of locations on site. There is a bar area where alcohol is available for volunteers that are 18+.

If you wish to see a menu over all the food included including the ingredients, ask your travel advisor for a copy.


What to Bring
Bring a head torch, work clothes and mosquito repellant.
Working gloves are recommended when harvesting food for the elephants, and essential when composting.
High-factor sun-cream/sunglasses are recommended when harvesting in the fields.

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