Location: Surin province – NE Thailand by Cambodian Border
Nearest Airport: - Buriram (BFV)
Duration: Volunteer 1 week ( 7 days) - Initial Maximum stay 2 weeks.
Starting Day: Every Monday.
Surin Home Stay - Elephant Volunteer: Main focus is to let the elephants free from work. We brought elephants from street begging to live in their homeland. Volunteers stay with mahouts families in a traditional home stay, learn about mahouts culture, experience Buddhism activity and take care the elephants, offering them a better life.
Surin Project - Weekly Volunteer: The Surin Project´s main focus is placement of elephants into more natural surroundings where volunteers can walk alongside them and observe these magnificent creatures in a vastly improved environment.
This offers the mahout owners an alternative form of employment away from elephant riding or circus shows which are the common forms of income for many mahouts in the area.
The Khun Chai Tong Surin Project is a unique concept aimed at improving the living conditions of captive Asian elephants by providing economic sustainability for their owners through responsible volunteering. We work alongside the Gwi community in the Surin Province in North East Thailand.
The Khun Chai Tong’s main focus is to get the elephants off of the street and out into more natural surroundings where volunteers can walk alongside and observe these magnificent creatures in an environment of care.
This offers the mahouts who own the elephants an alternative form of employment to elephant riding or elephant shows which are the main forms of income for many in the area.
What to Expect
Volunteers coming to the Surin Elephant Home Stay should expect to be engaged in the local Gwi culture in the remote village of Khun Chai Tong. Working alongside the mahouts and the local community volunteers will learn more about this unique culture and their relationship with elephants.
Most importantly volunteers will get a chance to go out on daily walks and observe the elephants interacting with each other in a more natural setting.
Hopefully, in time, as volunteer numbers increase, and we show the local mahouts that people are willing to see elephants in a natural state they will adapt their mindset to be more considerate of the elephant´s welfare and expand our ability to support more elephants and mahouts in this region.
Accommodation and food
You will be living on site in basic but comfortable home-stay same gender shared accommodation. Volunteers will eat together for every meal. The food is healthy and varied, with a buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner with many different dishes to choose from. and vegetarian food is always available. All dietary restrictions are catered to.
What is Provided?
What do I need?
The initial maximum 2 weeks may be extended depending on availability and suitability. Any decision of extensions will be made at the end of your stay with us.
All About Your Volunteer Position:
Buriram We meet at Buriram Bus Station (Map) on Monday afternoons at 2pm (where we join with the Bangkok group and travel together to the project by air con mini van or pick up)
For volunteers traveling from Bangkok, we offer a pick-up service from the Northern Mo Chit Bus Station (Map) at 7:30am on Monday morning, on the 3rd floor in front of the Dunkin Donuts (NOT the booth), for an additional fee of 500 THB.
Own travel to project: For volunteers already in NE Thailand or travelling from Cambodia it can be more convenient to travel to Khun Chai Tong via Surin city bus station. Please contact our staff for more details if you plan on doing this as you will need to arrive at project on Monday no later than 3pm.
Return after finishing at the project: Depending on where you want to return to you will either leave on Saturday evening or Sunday morning – Bangkok arrive around 3:00pm. Other forward transport can be arranged when you are at the project.
What to Bring: We suggest that you travel as lightly as possible. We recommend that you take the following:
Essential items: Flashlight, Earplugs, Alarm clock/watch, Basic First Aid kit, personal medication, Towel, personal toiletries, sunscreen, Insect repellant, flip flops, closed shoes, long sleeved shirts and trousers, extra socks.
Seasonal gear: (poncho/ waterproofs (Rainy season: June - October), warm clothing, long sleeves, sweat pants, jumper (Cold season: November - February; can get quite cold at night times).
Recommended but not essential: reading material, travel games, camera, small daypack, gardening gloves, wide brimmed hat- we can provide gloves and hats on site if you do not have these items.
Important Note about clothing: Please remember to pack clothes that are respectful to the local culture - t-shirts that cover your shoulders, shorts that come down to your knees - No bikini´s, string vest tops or hot pants allowed. You will be asked to change if you are wearing any of these items.
Baggage / Luggage allowance: One Standard Check-in Sized Rucksack/Suit Case/Bag AND one small day pack per person.
Volunteer Operational Months: All year round
Age Suitability: Adult and children over 16 years old if accompanied by an adult
What is Included: Transport from Buriram bus station accommodation, to project and back, Clean, convenient accommodation on site, Three delicious meals per day, A practical education on the challenges facing elephant conservation, free t-shirt and reusable water bottle.
Bookings close: Two Days before you are due to visit.
The cost to volunteer for one week (Monday - Sunday) is 15,000 Baht. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age, and any participant younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a legal guardian.