Elephant Experience in Thailand
Elephant Welfare & Conservation
GIVE’s Thailand Elephant Experience takes you through Northern Thailand to trek with elephants in the jungle, empower local experts, and volunteer at an ethical elephant sanctuary! We only work with individuals that love and respect these gentle giants, which ensures that you have an unforgettable and ethical elephant experience. By joining GIVE’s Thailand Elephant Experience, you’ll give local experts the resources they need to protect this keystone species in Asia. Want to travel longer? Our Southeast Asia packages allow you to experience 2 countries and up to 4 unique programs on one unforgettable journey!
“My experience with GIVE Volunteers was nothing short of life changing. P’Ann was an incredible guide who was so knowledgeable about everything she showed us; the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of elephant tourism and its history. I’m so grateful for my experience where I learned so much more in this hands-on, culturally immersive adventure than I ever could in a classroom. If you want to truly see the elephants of Thailand and their people, this is how you should do it.”
– Hanna, Elephant Experience Volunteer
Why support ethical elephant tourism?
Aside from spending a full week hanging with elephants in the jungle…
“Because you vote with your dollar,’ I voted to have my tourism dollars support the first Elephant Hospital in Thailand, which offers free veterinary care to elephants throughout the country, a mahout-training program that teaches positive reinforcement training techniques, and a reforestation program that regenerates the tropical forests necessary to sustain elephants in the wild.”
This Keystone Species is Disappearing
Asian elephants are currently listed as endangered and their population is decreasing. By supporting elephant sanctuaries and conservation centers, you’ll help to ensure these incredible creatures are around for future generations to see.
Understand Elephant Conservation
Every day you will be learning from local elephant trainers, mahouts and conservationists about the complex issues Asian elephants face. More importantly, you will be able to support and witness their holistic solutions in action.
Preserve Mahout Culture & Integrity
The bond between mahouts and elephants is centuries old and, unfortunately, is being lost with each passing generation. Empower mahouts to maintain their culture, livelihood and integrity, and directly support elephant welfare.
Elephant Experience Itinerary
here’s A GLIMPSE of ALL That awaits you
Play with baby elephants | Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary | Trek with elephants in their natural habitat | Empower local experts | Summit Thailand’s tallest mountain
Your Thailand elephant experience commences: Group arrives in Chiang Mai. Meet your guides and fellow travelers at the airport, and then head straight to our hotel for an opening orientation.
Head into the Mae Taeng mountains to our first stop – an ethical elephant tourism camp! We’ll follow our local mahouts into the forest to meet two elephants and then hike with them down to the river for some bathing and feeding! Note: This is the most hands-on of any of the places we’ll visit, so get those elephant hugs in while you can!
After lunch, we will spend more time with the elephants – making and feeding them nutritious herbal supplements and learning about elephant behavior and anatomy from our mahouts. That evening we’ll head to a beautiful cafe along the river to relax and enjoy some Thai cuisine!
After saying goodbye to our mahouts and the elephants, we’ll then drive north through the rolling green landscape of Doi Inthanon National Park, stopping by a waterfall to have lunch…
Day 3 Continued…
After lunch, we’ll continue on to Burm and Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary (BEES) (~1-hour drive by minivan), which provides a home for old, injured and retired elephants needing rest and/or permanent care. This is a special place where elephants are free to just be elephants! Spend the evening touring the facilities and learning about the sanctuary’s history and mission from its founders. Note: BEES is a no-contact sanctuary, so prepare to observe these gentle giants from a safe distance.
Spend the morning volunteering at BEES to prepare food for the elephants and/or maintain facilities around the sanctuary. Note: BEES is a no-contact sanctuary, so prepare to observe these gentle giants from a safe distance.
After lunch, we’ll head deeper into the mountains towards the Karen hill-tribe village of Huay Pakoot (~1.5 hours by minivan). Learn more about the community’s storied history of keeping elephants and how they’ve adopted a unique and innovative form of community-based ethical elephant tourism. That afternoon, we’ll tour the village, receive a blessing from a Buddhist Monk, and then take part in a sports day with local children! For dinner, we’ll enjoy a Thai barbecue dinner with our homestay hosts and local mahouts.
Trek into the jungle with your mahouts in search of a familial herd of semi-wild elephants. Spend the entire morning and afternoon observing the herd in their natural habitat, while learning about the unique spiritual bond these elephants share with their mahouts. Note: There will be some brief moments of hands-on interaction, but these elephants are semi-wild, so prepare to observe them from a safe distance most of the time.
After breakfast we’ll hike into the jungle to say goodbye to the herd before heading to the town of Mae Chaem for the night (~1.5 hours by minivan). That night, we’ll take part in a Thai cooking class and then enjoy our home-cooked meal while a local student group performs traditional dances from Northern Thailand! This will be a night of discussion, reflection and celebration with your GIVE family.
After breakfast, we’ll drive to the top of the tallest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon (~1 hour by minivan), to explore the summit and check-out some mountain top temples.
After lunch, we’ll begin the journey back to Chiang Mai (~2 hours by minivan) for a traditional Thai massage before our final meal together. After dinner, you’ll have some free time to explore the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, a one-stop shop for every Thai souvenir imaginable.
Trip End: All good things must come to an end. Say your goodbyes and begin the journey home.
**THIS IS A SAMPLE ITINERARY WHICH IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Extend Your Trip
Southeast Asia Packages
Volunteer in Thailand with GIVE and immerse yourself in Thai culture and remote hill-tribe villages as you work alongside host community members on our organic farming, reforestation and English education projects. Learn more about GIVE's Thailand Volunteer Trip!!
GIVE’s Thailand Elephant Experience takes you trekking deep into the jungles of Northern Thailand for a unique, eye-opening experience with these gentle giants while learning about elephant conservation. Learn more about GIVE's Elephant Experience Add-On!
GIVE’s Thailand Scuba Conservation trip takes you to breathtaking Southern Thailand to get PADI Open Water Scuba Certified and dive amongst incredible marine life while engaging in marine conservation projects. Learn more about Thailand Scuba Marine Conservation with GIVE!
GIVE’s Laos volunteer trip takes you into the heart of Laos for an authentic cultural experience filled with adventure. Volunteer alongside host community members on wildlife conservation, permaculture, English education projects, and more. Learn more about GIVE's Laos Volunteer Trip!
Southeast Asia Trips & Packages Save $300 - $1,500!
Reserve your spot with a deposit of $595 on one trip, or combine our four unique Southeast Asia adventures to travel for 2-7 weeks and save up to $1,500! The longer you travel, the more you save. All deposits are included in the total trip cost.
Past volunteers get an additional $250 discount!
Don't see your preferred trip combination? Contact us to see if we can make it work.
Thailand. 14-days. $2895
14-days I $2,895 I Package & Save!
December 17 - December 28, 2023
January 2 - January 13, 2024
May 7 - May 20, 2024
May 25 - June 7, 2024
June 12 - June 25, 2024
June 30 - July 13, 2024
July 18 - July 31, 2024
August 5 - August 18, 2024 - Earn academic credit!
Laos. 14-days. $2495
14-days I $2,495 I Package & Save!
December 28 - January 8, 2024
May 21 - June 3, 2024
June 8 - June 21, 2024
June 26 - July 9, 2024
July 14 - July 27, 2024
Elephant Experience. 8 days. $1995
8-days I $1,995 I Package & Save!
December 28 - January 4, 2024
May 20 - May 27, 2024
May 29 - June 5, 2024
June 7 - June 14, 2024
June 25 - July 2, 2024
July 13 - July 20, 2024
July 22 - July 29, 2024
July 31 - August 7, 2024
Scuba Conservation. 11 days. $2795
11 Days I $2,795 I Package & Save!
January 8 - January 18, 2024
May 10 - May 20, 2024
May 19 - May 29, 2024
May 28 - June 7, 2024
June 15 - June 25, 2024
July 3 - July 13, 2024
July 21 - July 31, 2024
August 8 - August 18, 2024
Thailand + Laos. 28-days. $4890. Save $500!
28-days I $4,890 I Save $500!
December 17 - January 8, 2024
May 7 - June 3, 2024
May 25 - June 21, 2024
June 12 - July 9, 2024
June 30 - July 27, 2024
Scuba + Laos. 25 days. $4790. Save $500!
25 Days I $4,790 I Save $500!
December 28 - January 18, 2024
May 10 - June 3, 2024
May 28 - June 21, 2024
June 15 - July 9, 2024
July 3 - July 27, 2024
Thailand + Elephants. 21 days. $4590. Save $300!
21-days I $4,590 I Save $300!
December 17 - January 4, 2024
May 7 - May 27, 2024
May 25 - June 14, 2024
June 12 - July 2, 2024
June 30 - July 20, 2024
July 18 - August 7, 2024
Scuba + Elephants. 18 days. $4490. Save $300!
18 Days I $4,490 I Save $300!
May 10 - May 27, 2024
May 19 - June 5, 2024
May 28 - June 14, 2024
June 15 - July 2, 2024
July 3 - July 20, 2024
July 21 - August 7, 2024
July 31 - August 18, 2024
Elephants + Scuba + Laos. 33-days. $6485. Save $800!
33-days I $6,485 I Save $800!
May 20 - June 21, 2024
June 7 - July 9, 2024
June 25 - July 27, 2024
Thailand + Elephants + Scuba. 32 days. $6885. Save $800!
32 days I $6,885 I Save $800!
May 7 - June 7, 2024
May 25 - June 25, 2024
June 12 - July 13, 2024
June 30 - July 31, 2024
July 18 - August 18, 2024
Thailand + Elephants + Scuba + Laos. 46 days. $8680. Save $1,500!
46-days I $8,680 I Save $1,500!
May 7 - June 21, 2024
May 25 - July 9, 2024
June 12 - July 27, 2024
Thailand + Laos + Scuba. 33 days. $7185. Save $1,000! (Winter only!)
33-days I $7,185 I Save $1,000!
December 17 - January 18, 2024
GIVE goes above and beyond for our volunteers, before, during, and after their trip. Dive into all that's included here.
- All accommodations during your trip, which are comfortable with basic amenities and security
- All ground transportation during your trip (not flights)
- All meals and water throughout your stay (a few country-specific exceptions)
- All of your epic adventure and cultural immersion activities
- Funding for volunteer projects
- Dedicated and experienced GIVE and local guides during your trip
- 360-travel support, including customer care, trip preparation materials, trip planning, and Volunteer Profile to manage your trip.
- 24/7 travel support and risk management practices
- Post-trip pathways to remain active and engaged global citizens
Simple put: we care. We care about your experience pre-trip, during your trip, and post-trip. And that's just scratching the surface. See all that's included in your GIVE trip here!
Honestly, pretty much everything outside of pre and post-trip logistics is included, but GIVE and our travel partners will support you! Dive into what's included here.
- Flights to and from Thailand/Laos, along with associated air taxes, ticket fees, and any country entry/exit taxes
- Medical and Travelers Insurance
- Passport and visa (specific to your host citizenship)
- Vaccinations (specific to your host country)
- Souvenirs and Snacks (because everyone has different snack expectations;)
- What's better is what IS included. See all that's included in your GIVE trip here!