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Sustaining Thailand's Treasures
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Sustaining Thailand's Treasures

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

An unforgettable week with the elephants and people of Eastern Thailand

It's impossible to convey the experience you'll have spending a week with the elephants, mahouts, staff, and volunteers of the Surin Project. Of the 12 volunteers (in our case from the US, UK, and Germany), 5 had volunteered before and they were staying for multiple weeks. I understand why; it's a wonderfully transformative experience. There are some great videos on YouTube and Vimeo that past volunteers have put together. Just search for Surin Project and you will get a sense of what it's like.

A typical day involves having breakfast, doing some light labor for 1-2 hours, going on a walk with the elephants through the forest, having lunch in a local roadside restaurant, enjoying a little free time (find a wifi spot, go shopping), then observing the elephants in an enclosure area or feeding and bathing them in a river. There's a little time before dinner, and the Thai food is delicious--cooked keeping volunteers' food preferences in mind (allergies, vegetarian/vegan options, etc). There's usually an early evening activity and time to hang out with volunteers before bed.

The people are awesome and being up close with elephants is amazing and surprisingly peaceful. We will probably return in a couple of years. Many of the volunteers we were there with have been back each year. It's like nothing else you'll ever do.

A few potential cautions. If you don't do well in the heat this might not be a trip for you. The accommodations include a bed on the floor of a clean wooden home (2-3 volunteers per home) with a mosquito net and 3 speed fan. The shower is a pail you scoop from a barrel. My teenage daughter was bummed when we arrived; within 12 hours it was no big deal. If these things matter to you, they'll become non-issues once you start hanging out with the elephants.

We go on a volunteer trip abroad every year - Morocco, Thailand, Peru, Costa Rica. All have been special, but the week with The Surin Project through Globe Aware is our favorite. Extremely cost effective as well, even with air fare thrown in.

Institution Affiliates:

The International Volunteer Programs Association