Elephant Care


Live in tropical Thailand and work up close to rescued Asian elephants, living in freedom after a hard life. Your work helps to educate others on conservation issues and protect endangered animals. You can combine this role with Wildlife Rescue to work with a variety of animals.


Key Info

key info
  • Location: 3 hours south of Bangkok
  • Start dates: Every Sunday
  • Duration: 1 - 6 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (but 16-17s can join the U18 Trip)
  • Availability: Spaces available, limited until Sep
  • Cost: From £599 / €720 / $810 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

Volunteers work alongside local staff to care for nearly 20 Asian elephants. Each day will differ but elephant care volunteer tasks may include:

  • Feeding and giving water to the elephants
  • Help with the cleaning of the enclosures
  • Hosing down and washing the elephants
  • Harvesting and collecting food from local farms - pineapples, bananas etc.
  • Creating enrichments for the elephants
  • Looking after other domesticated animals on site

You may also be involved in other activities around the centre such as helping clean the grounds, maintenance of enclosures or helping on the sanctuary’s farm land.

This project is ideal for stays of 1-6 weeks. If you have 6 weeks or longer we would recommend combining this project with the Wildlife Rescue project which is based at the same centre.

Working days and hours

Volunteers work six days a week on a rotation basis, volunteers usually work from 6am until 5pm however there are regular breaks through the day.

Other volunteers

There are generally between 25-35 volunteers on the Elephant Care role, however you live alongside volunteers on the Wildlife Rescue role and there can be 40-50 volunteers at the centre at one time.

Volunteer Reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Thailand Elephant Care Volunteering reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Whilst each elephant is cared for by a dedicated mahout, they are in need of assistance with their tasks. The local staff are often over-stretched with daily care tasks and so the extra man-power from volunteers allow them to focus on long term plans. Additionally volunteers can offer contribute creatively and help to design enrichments for the elephants.

“The passion and commitment shown by volunteers allows the centre to run smoothly. Their love for animals allows us to continue to rescue and rehabilitate animals that have been forced into the tourist industry or kept as pets.”Becca, Volunteer Coordinator

How is the Elephant Care project making a difference?

The sanctuary we work with gives refuge to domesticated elephants that have been used in industry and many of the elephants arrive with severe health problems and bear the scars of previous abuse. The sanctuary’s aim is to provide a refuge that is as close to nature as possible.

Domesticated elephants were traditionally used in the logging industry but after the ban on logging, many mahouts turned to making a living from using their elephants in the tourist industry. Many elephants were used for begging on the streets of big cities, within circuses, made to give rides or to perform. The sanctuary campaigns to raise awareness of the abuse elephants (and many other animals) face in the tourist industry.

Where will I be living?

The sanctuary is based on temple grounds donated by a local abbot in a tropical region south of Bangkok. It is a peaceful and rural location and the sanctuary is located beside a small lake which has a series of small ‘gibbon islands’ used to rehabilitate the gibbons. In total there are around 400 animals living on site at the centre.

Volunteers live in basic shared rooms on site at the sanctuary, bathrooms are shared with cold water showers and western bucket-flush toilets. The sanctuary has a communal area where volunteers can relax in the evenings as well as a communal kitchen where you can make snacks and drinks.

Volunteers have one day off per week and popular local destinations include Hua Hin beach, Kui Buri National Park or relaxation at a local spa resort with a swimming pool!

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - Sarah or Lucy will be your dedicated placement manager
  • In-depth Volunteering Guide on your volunteering placement
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod

On your placement:

  • Animal care volunteering placement
  • Arrangement of airport pickup from Bangkok (journey cost payable to the driver)
  • Accommodation - a basic shared room
  • Food - all main meals
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your placement manager
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), cost of pickup and transfers. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
Elephant Care - 1 week £599 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £200 GB Pounds
2 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue £849 GB Pounds
3 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue £1009 GB Pounds
4 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue £1169 GB Pounds
5 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue £1329 GB Pounds
6 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue £1489 GB Pounds
7 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue £1649 GB Pounds
8 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue £1809 GB Pounds
Extra weeks on a combination placement £110 GB Pounds

Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Discounts for volunteers combining Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue roles, see above for examples


animals rescued by the Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue centre this year

"Pod is a no nonsense volunteer organisation looking to change lives"Cian

Sarah Lucy

Pod UK Specialist

Apply and you'll hear from Sarah or Lucy soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.



  • Thailand Elephant Care volunteer - Eric

    “Working with the elephants was an incredible experience… I worked as hard as I ever have, I was tired, wet, muddy, smelly, but never as alive and satisfied as I was when I was there.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Elephant Care volunteer – Jo

    “This is without doubt the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I went by myself and had no idea what to expect... I am so glad I did. The harvests can be brutal, but I just told myself 'boot camp' and kept going!”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Elephant Care volunteer – Samantha

    “My time in Thailand was the best time of my life! I highly recommend this placement for animal lovers, anyone who enjoys new experiences or who just wants to be immersed in a completely different way of life.”

    Read more volunteer reviews


We have other projects you may be interested in

Elephant Conservation

Elephant Conservation

Desert Elephant Conservation

Desert Elephant Conservation



You can also combine projects to make the volunteering trip of a lifetime!

Children’s Home

Children’s Home

Marine Conservation

Marine Conservation



  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal