Thailand Elephant Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi

Get up close to elephants in a sanctuary where they freely roam. Wash them, prepare their food, bathe and swim with them!

This project takes care of rescued and sick elephants. You will enjoy washing and swimming with the elephants, whilst also preparing food and making sure that the elephants are living in a comfortable environment. Moreover, we will take you out to discover Kanchanaburi’s gorgeous nature.

about the program

The project is based in Kanchanaburi, which manages a delicate balance between tradition and tourism. Its surrounding limestone hills create an unimaginably beautiful landscape enhanced by its numerous bamboo-style buildings, stunning meandering rivers and unique temple caves. Kanchanaburi is truly one of Thailand’s natural gems and the perfect place to indulge in nature and spend time with elephants in our project.

The project takes place in a sanctuary where old, sick, disabled, previously abused or illegally-owned elephants now call home. Here, we work for the elephants, not the other way around. This means there will be no elephant riding in the program. However, 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.

The elephants freely roam around the sanctuary by day, and then are taken to the forest in the early evening.

You will be spending time alongside experienced mahouts, who invest their entire lives gaining an understanding of the elephants and how best to care for them. The sanctuary does receive one day and short stay visitors for respectful “Saddle Off” interactions with the elephants. Without this level of support the sanctuary would not be able to maintain these majestic animals who, whether young or old, were previously used in the captivity of hard labor (logging and farming) or entertainment labor (riding and shows). This could mean that you may see 40-50 persons on site working for the animals, preparing food, assisting with bathing and lovingly observing their actions.

This program is for maximum 1 week.

Aims & Objectives

Take care of relocated, injured, ill, previously abused or illegally owned elephants at the sanctuary
Give you a unique, unforgettable experience in caring for elephants
Assist the local sanctuary staff by providing an extra hand

Schedule of the Program

Monday
After breakfast, depart to Kanchanaburi from Singburi and engage in an Introduction and Safety Rules lesson. This is followed by observing and feeding the elephants in the river
Prepare sticky rice balls and feed them to the elephants
Then after lunch, participate in bathing the elephants with mud inside the river!
Nature Trekking – roughly half an hour of trekking around the elephant center
Elephant bathing where you will get up and close washing an elephant with your hands!
Elephant feeding
Finish off the night with a nice Dinner

Tuesday
Breakfast in the morning followed by preparing food to feed the elephants such as grass and pineapple stalks
Walk with the elephants, feed them and bathe them.
Then after lunch, participate bathing the elephants with mud
Elephant feeding
Walk with the elephants
Dinner
Visit local market

Wednesday
Sticky rice ball making and feeding the elephants
Breakfast
Go to Krasae Cave / The Death Railway and Collect Elephant dung
Elephant bathing
Dinner

Thursday
Start off the morning with planting grass / bananas
Breakfast
Lunch
Help caretakers in cleaning the area where the elephants are fed
Nature Trekking – roughly half an hour of trekking around the center
Dinner
Cook rice in bamboo

Friday
Breakfast
Engage in some traditional grass cutting
Elephant feeding and bathing
Followed by traditional Thai cooking lessons
Observation of elephants (grass eating)
Lunch
Elephant bed cleaning
Campfire – bond with each other through engaging in a well-lit campfire

Saturday
Breakfast
Depart from the elephant sanctuary, taken to Kanchanaburi bus station if it’s the end of your program or back to Singburi for further programs out with the sanctuary

* This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

accommodation & meals

Location

Boasting some of Thailand’s finest forests, a statement not to be taken lightly, Kanchanaburi is rapidly increasing as a popular tourist destination. Situated 130 km west of Bangkok, its central location makes it an ideal stop off point for those travelling through Thailand. Our location is based in a beautiful setting where you can see the elephants enjoying their natural habitat.

Accommodation & Food

Accommodation is provided in a spacious house within the Sanctuary grounds. The rooms are simple, yet comfortable and appropriate for this setting.Food Arrangements

Food Arrangements

A variety of Thai style dishes (vegetarian and fish) will be served. Mostly rice dishes will be provided in addition to fruits and vegetables, on a few occasions meat may be available too.

The closest ATM is about 5 kilometers outside of the Elephant Camp. There is also a hospital, multiple convenience stores and also a pharmacy close-by for all your essential needs.

Due to its rural location, participants on this program normally stay on site at the park and enjoy their immediate surroundings. For those wanting to trek further afield, you might stumble across some waterfalls!

Reviews Thailand

“My experience with GapXperience was perfect. I really enjoyed sharing everyday’s life of the children. All of them were so cute and so nice. The staff were really nice and friendly. It was an amazing experience, I recommend it.”

Estelle Schoeb

“It was an amazing experience. I’ve learned a lot and it really opened my eyes. The children were so beautiful and cute. The staff at the orphanage were very nice. It was the best experience of my life.”

Sophine Kooiman

“Very well organized and made sure we felt at home straightaway. The program was varied and interesting, we learnt a lot. Our coordinator made the whole program very easy. Contact was always available if needed and they went out of their way to help. Definitely going to recommend to others. Absolutely brilliant!”

Philippa Tilbury

“The program was top notch from start to finish. I could not have been more impressed by the quality of treatment I received and the support from GapXperience as well as the accommodations. This program was amazing!”

Anna Soboleva

“The program was well run. Our coordinator was a dream. She is the warmest and most caring person I met in Thailand. All the volunteers in the group simply loved her. I think GapXperience has great volunteer opportunities.”

Reena Malhotra

“We are extremely privileged to have been able to spend time with the elephants all and hopefully made a positive impact in their lives. Being able to bathe, feed and care for the elephants is such a majestic experience. We would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat!”

Ash, Cody & Jess

How to Book your Program

Participants are encouraged to submit their applications as far in advance as possible as places on the program are limited. You can apply up to 1 month before your start date. Apply today and get ready for one of the most amazing experiences of your life!

Application Form
Fill out the Application Form. We will process your application and let you know if your application was successful within 24 hours.

Deposit
Pay your deposit to reserve you place in the program. You can pay the deposit in these different currencies: £240, US$285 or €250.

Remaining Fees
Pay the remaining fees, minus the deposit which you already paid, six weeks before your start date of your program.

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