This unique retreat offers you the life changing opportunity for direct hands on experience with an internationally celebrated conservationist in a unique program that protects a highly endangered species.
Most volunteers leave with a proud sense of accomplishment and a deep satisfaction having made a significant contribution to Asian elephant conservation efforts. The park provides sanctuary for disabled, blind, and orphaned elephants that have often been abused as working animals and for street begging. You will actively be helping improve their lives and the conditions in which they live. Developed by local Thai Conservationist, Sangduen "Lek" Chailert, this award winning project portrays aspects of culture, fauna and flora impossible to experience elsewhere.
The park also offers sanctuary to numerous dogs, cats, birds, buffalo and many other rescued animals.
Volunteering at the park offers visitors the opportunity to engage with the animals without riding or harming them and, for many, it is a life-changing experience. Volunteers can feed the elephants regularly, as well as learn more about their care. During free time, there are many activities to enjoy such as cultural lessons and walks. Your volunteer experience includes six nights of lodging in private or shared rooms and three meals a day. Several days on the front and back end of our time at Elephant Nature Park will be spent exploring the ancient city of Chiang Mai.
Your meals will be Local and abundant vegetarian cuisine prepared daily, as well as meaningful times of meditation, yoga and a connected integration of your volunteer experience with these rescued elephants in their natural habitat.
We invite you to embark on a healing journey as you observe the nature of transformation, learning from these brave and majestic creatures who have survived and thrived despite their past suffering.
This experience will be an exchange of service to the elephants as you volunteer on site, helping bathe, feed them, and care for their habitat while they in turn nourish your soul as you learn their stories and connect to these beautiful beings in heart, mind and body.
Getting to the Park
You will fly into Chiang Mai city a few days before (arriving by Friday July 3, 2020). We will spend several days in luxury accommodations (4+ stars) before we travel 2 hours outside of the city to the Elephant Nature Park.
The several days we have in Chiang Mai city will be spent adjusting to the time change while you enjoy the sites, including market tours, Thai massage classes, and temple hopping led by your expert guide, Leah Knippel (who has been traveling to Thailand since 1997 and lived there cumulatively for 5 years) or choose to head off into the city solo.
We will be escorted as a group to the nature park Monday morning around 09:00am where our stay at the park and seven days of service and connection will begin.
What Kind of Volunteer Work Will I Be Doing?
During your stay you will see for yourself the challenges facing elephant conservation in Thailand and the part that this project plays in the preservation of their herd.
This is a great way to understand and enjoy all parts of the conservation mission, while enjoying a place tucked away from the beaten track.
What does a typical day at the Elephant Nature Park look like?
Breakfast is at 7:00 am and then it is off to practice your acts of service to our Elephant friends.
Each day you will help prepare the elephants food, have the satisfaction of feeding them and the moving experience of watching the delight they have bathing in the river. This is all against a backdrop of witnessing how they behave in their natural habitat.
The service task will be different during each day of our stay at the Elephant Nature Park. Tasks will be done in a group and are designed to create a hands-on educational experience.
*Be educated on and experience how Elephant Families communicate and heal together
*Find out about the problems facing elephants in Thailand today
*Discover how the Elephant Nature Park is helping to rescue and heal these creatures all over the world
*Clean and prepare elephant food, feed elephants, Scooping elephant poo, and a variety of tasks concerned with elephant care.
*Small construction projects maintaining mud pits and helping in local villages and small maintenance tasks around the park
*Caring for dogs and other animals on-site at the Nature Park
To learn more about daily life at the Elephant Nature Park click here.
The symbol of Thailand is the Thai Elephant and is held in the highest regard. Thai people hold the elephant sacred as they represent good luck, strength, intelligence and prosperity. Thai elephants are different from other elephants as they have a more bulky body and their legs are slightly shorter. Due to the destruction of their habitat, they were added to the endangered species list in 1989. This unique adventure provides a fascinating insight to the life of the elephant in the way these magnificent creatures think, live and react.
This 10 day sacred journey will provide you with the opportunity to:
* Have a chance to enjoy the elephants- and help future generations have this privilege too
*Come away with a real understanding of the issues and play an active part in genuinely making a difference.
*Enjoy an abundant amount of delicious Thai cuisine. Certainly one of the highlights of the country, the food here is not to be missed!.
*Great social life, from enjoying the bar scenes, to exploring the local villages and learning more about *Thailand in the various presentations, talks and sessions and organized educational components this retreat will offer.
*Making friends for life in one of the worlds most beautiful countries
Accomodations and Thai Food
During your stay at the Elephant Nature Park, you will be living on-site in rustic, yet comfortable accommodations where you will share your space with 1-2 other volunteers. If you prefer a single room (single supplement will apply) please include that request when you reserve your space so we can explore that option for you. Your stay at the park will feel like you are "glamping" while you fall asleep to the sounds of peace and nature.
The food is excellent, with a large vegetarian buffet style lunch and dinner with many different dishes to choose from.
Why is this Experience Different?
Whether it is an elephant, a dog, cat or human being, every living creature carries and shares an energy with everyone whom they come into contact. Our willingness to let down our guard and be open to sharing our own energy will determine the reaction and the type of energy we receive in return.
Join us for a one of a kind experience in taking your spiritual practice deeper while enjoying organized daily reflection, yoga, spiritual education, exploration of Chiang Mai city, the opportunity to discover jungle hikes, massage, skin therapies, local Thai culture and of course up close encounters with the beautiful rescued elephants at the Elephant Nature Park.
We have noticed that participants who have experienced these types of service based yoga retreats that include a purposeful and supported educational and inspirational component come back feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and open to the vast possibilities of life.
This retreat is designed to create an unforgettable experience in a community of like-minded people, while giving you the space and time to nurture yourself on a personal level.
What is Provided?
All transport to/from airport/hotels, to/from activities (markets/temples/outings) and transport from Chiang Mai to Elephant Nature Park and back
4+ Star Accommodation in Chiang Mai city
Clean, comfortable and convenient eco-lodging accommodation on site at Elephant Nature Park
Three delicious vegetarian meals per day, served buffet style with colorful and abundant choices Internet connection provided
A practical education on the challenges facing elephant conservation
Multiple daily yoga and guided meditation practices which are integrated into your volunteer experience each day.
What Do I Need to Bring?
A valid passport that has an expiration date of 2022 or beyond
Insurance (covering your placement time and any planned independent travel) - You can learn more about the insurance required at the ENP here.
Airfare to Chiang Mai city is your responsibility, plus any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment, alcohol (allow $10-$20 depending on lifestyle).
A visa is not necessary for under 30 days from most western European countries.
No required vaccinations are necessary although do check with your doctor to make sure polio, typhoid and Hepatitis A&B shots are up to date
Comfortable and travel clothes for 10+ days (tennis shoes will be required for your work at the nature park)
Suggested: backpack, water bottle, sunscreen, yoga mat, journal and other personal conveniences
Please bring your own bath towel to use while at the Elephant Nature Park. Bath towels and all other standard amenities will be provided at the luxury accommodations before and after your stay at the Elephant Nature Park. However, you will need to provide your own toiletries and towel while staying at the Nature Park.
I'm ready, where do I sign up?
Click here to reserve your place with a $500 deposit.