Wildlife Rescue - Volunteer Reviews

THAILAND

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Wildlife Rescue project

Marta, Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“I volunteered in the Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue projects in Thailand and I absolutely fell in love with that place. I was only staying there for three weeks, but it was so amazing to work there that I decided to extend and stay there for 2 more weeks. The work there is very rewarding, every day at 6am when the alarm rings and it’s time to get out of bed, I would think of those amazing animals I was going to care for, and every single day it was so easy to get out of bed and work all day. In the night I would feel happy, tired, but satisfied and I would think "everyday here is a great day. There are no bad days here". The people who work there are also AMAZING and played a major role on my happiness while working there. I definitely recommend these projects to people who love animals, are hard workers and love nature.

What did you find most rewarding?

Watching those beautiful animals every day and knowing that I was contributing for their day to be better

What did you find most challenging?

Coming back home 

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Bring clothes that you don't care for and repellent!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

Felt secure and I liked Pod since my first contact with Lucy.”

Victoria, Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“I had a wonderful time volunteering at the Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue project. My experiences there were life changing and some of the best of my life. Lucy and everyone at Pod helped me prepare for every aspect of my travels. Even though I went alone, It never felt like I was. Getting the chance to meet the animals was just as wonderful as meeting other volunteers from all around the world. The only thing I would have done differently, would have been to explore and travel other parts of Thailand either before or after my time volunteering.

What did you find most rewarding?

Knowing that your time, efforts and money are going to a wonderful cause.

What did you find most challenging?

The actual amount of work. I knew it would be difficult but it was definitely more challenging than expected, especially the wildlife portion.” 

Katja, Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“My experience on this volunteering trip was very, very rewarding. I truly felt that my money, time and effort was well spent and went to the correct place. I got the impression that the majority of the monies does truly go to the upkeep and welfare of the animals. All the volunteer staff and permanent staff, local and foreign do their utmost best to help the animals. I have come away carrying a deep desire to do my bit from home and I will certainly recommend Pod Volunteer! I loved every minute of it in the knowledge that while experiencing a unique time I was also doing my bit in a small way.

What did you find most rewarding?
The knowledge that I was part in something very worthwhile.

What did you find most challenging?
The high humidity %.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be prepared to have insect bites and high humidity levels.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
It seemed to be the clearest and most honest

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Mirjana, Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue - 2017

"I had an amazing time and experience. I'm so happy I did this and it wouldn't been possible without Pod Volunteer! Thank you. I had an amazing time at the project. I made new friends and memories I'll never forget about, and mostly I got the experience I've always wanted: being close to and helping animals. I recommend this project to everyone who has a passion for wildlife and for animals overall.

What did you find most rewarding?
Being close to animals all day, waking up in the morning by gibbon sounds and dogs barking. May not sound that wonderful, but believe me - it was.

What did you find most challenging?
To find the energy and strength to work. I come from Sweden and I am not that used to such a warm climate, so I got easily tired by the heat. Also we were often up late and waking up early in the morning, it was sometimes hard to keep up with that tempo and those routines. But it was all worth it in the end, I found my motivation in what I was doing for the animals!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
It will all be just fine, don't worry too much. But one tip I have is to bring cortisone and band aids, because EVERYONE got mosquito bites and it was super nice to have it with me and treat my bites in a good way.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
No, it's not a hotel, it's a volunteer center. As long as the animals are happy - I am happy! I’m just glad the money I'm paying is NOT going to cleaning our rooms but for the animals well being.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
You had the placement I was looking for available and you are non-profit, something which is very important to me."

Lizzie, Wildlife Rescue - 2017

"I spent two weeks volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue centre in Thailand. Pod Volunteer provided so much information about the placement hence when I arrived it was very close to what I expected. I was staying up in the female dorms by the elephants and the rooms were actually a lot nicer than I anticipated. There were cold water showers, and quite a few bugs in the shower rooms but accommodation definitely wouldn't put me off this project. The work day was very tiring! We started at 6:30am and finished at about 5:30pm. By the end of my two weeks I was physically exhausted, but I went expecting this to be the case and was glad to have a lot of work to do as it reinforced the dependence of the centre on volunteers and it was nice to know you were actually wanted there. I went alone to the project and would definitely recommend it to anyone unsure!

What did you find most rewarding?
Doing necessary work for the animals such as preparing food and cleaning, and learning a lot about other cultures by meeting many other volunteers.

What did you find most challenging?
The physically demanding work and there were a few mosquitos.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this
placement?
Go for it.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
The website was very clear and they were very helpful and got everything sorted quickly."

Katie, Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“Volunteering at the wildlife rescue center in Thailand enabled me to gain new knowledge about the animals within the center and meet inspiring people despite only being there a week. I would not change a single thing about my stay there, my only regret was not staying a second week to work with the elephants as I only did one week with other wildlife. All the leaders were so helpful and knowledgable and the center provided plenty of trips in the evenings and for days off in order to keep us occupied in free time and be able to explore the local towns and villages. All in all it was worth every penny and hope to return again in the future

What did you find most rewarding?
Seeing the difference after completing a job

What did you find most challenging?
Hearing about the animals and their pasts

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Don't be scared to take the plunge and risk, it's definitely worth it and you meet a lot of amazing and inspiring people

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Seemed trustworthy, good prices and reliable

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Louise, Wildlife Rescue, 2017

“Me and my partner volunteered here for the first week of our honeymoon. We had the most amazing and wonderful experience and it is something we will never forget. From first signing up with pod volunteer, the communication from start to finish was spot on.
This place was magical and although hard work in basic conditions we wouldn't change it for the world. The staff were so friendly and the love they have for these animals is unconditional. We met some amazing young people from all over the world who all shared the same love for animals and it was just perfect. Because of this we have promised ourselves to volunteer every year at a different place and create more memories. I would recommend this to anyone and am truly blessed to have been a part of it.

What did you find most rewarding?
Meeting other volunteers and helping with the rehabilitation of so many different animals.

What did you find most challenging?
Working in the heat but it was to be expected.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be prepared to work hard and go with an open mind and heart

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
We chose Thai land for our honeymoon location and they had the most centres there to choose from

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes. Just to say thank you so much for the incredible experience”

Sophia, Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“My experience volunteering in Thailand was one I won't forget. I got to work with wildlife and elephants, every day was very hard work but I have never worked in a situation where I had felt so rewarded.

What did you find most rewarding? Every day was rewarding as I knew that the work I was doing was helping the animals and that their lives were better at the centre.

What did you find most challenging? Probably the work, the days are very long and you definitely have to be physically there!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? If you're considering the placement then you should be prepared to work like you haven't before, meet people that you wouldn't usually at home and if you aren't sure whether to go or not, just remember your decision should be based the animals! You also have to get your hands dirty on the placement and go head first.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? I was looking for somewhere to volunteer and I just typed it on google! I looked at Pod volunteers website and decided I was going to go with them!”

Liberty, Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“Had the most amazing experience of my life. I cannot wait to go back! I loved working with the elephants, but decided to spend more time on Wildlife as there is so much to do and the team work was awesome.

What did you find most rewarding? Helping to put together a new enclosure.

What did you find most challenging? Adjusting to the food.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Just do it! Any reservations you may have can be addressed and people are all in the same boat and willing to help”

Jake, Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“Arriving at a remote wildlife sanctuary, in a country so far away from my own, was certainly daunting in the beginning; the people were new, the food different and the working hours long. Yet over the course of a month, I established somewhat of a rhythm. Adapting to the change in environment, my days became easier. I began to feel fulfilled by my labours, as the connection I cultivated with the centre deepened. Making improvements to the place that provided for me, and looking after animals that were such helpless beings, I found deeply satisfying. Close friendships with the people around me were also developed, adding a welcome pillar of support. Undertaking an experience such as this definitely shouldn't be underestimated, but the rewards to be had are many. This has undoubtedly been a life-changing event that will continue to shape me throughout the future.

What did you find most rewarding? Working and interacting with the elephants provides an unforgettable experience.

What did you find most challenging? The physical nature of the work definitely takes its toll!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Prepare for hard work!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Because they appeared to be a very reputable organisation, with many awards and accreditations to boast.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes. Thank you!”

Chloe, Wildlife Rescue - 2017

(Chloe was 14 years old and volunteered alongside her dad, Rob)

"I volunteered for one week, I worked with the primates and the other wildlife. Considering I was the youngest volunteer there, at the age of 14, people still were very nice towards me and didn't treat me differently. The experience I had was amazing and you really get close to the animals, you learn a lot about them too. The food is also amazing! The rules are strict, you can't touch any of the animals (except from the elephants and some animals who were blind) but I was very happy that they were in place as it showed you that the people working there really cared about the animals. I loved working there, and I'm planning on going back when I'm older, I definitely recommend going.

What did you find most rewarding?
Feeding the Langurs' without my hand getting smacked.

What did you find most challenging?
Feeding the Langurs' without my hand getting smacked.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Working a week there goes very quickly, if you want the full experience go for 2-3 weeks. It is hard work but very rewarding.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I have always wanted to visit Thailand but also wanted an experience whereby I would be working with the animals. I wanted to know the animals were well cared for and to see conservation at first hand.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes"

Annie, Elephant Care &Wildlife Rescue - 2017

"What did you find most rewarding?
Seeing the animals enjoying the enrichments we made for them

What did you find most challenging?
Leaving the animals behind and going home

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Expect physically hard work in high temperatures. However seeing the animals enjoying their newly cleaned enclosures or pools etc makes it worth it 100%.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Good reviews online, and lots of support and advice given before placement

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Tzia, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“My volunteer experience was more then I thought it would be. You get to work with a great staff team that are very helpful and meet some great people. The animals were great too you get to watch them and get to know their personality, and see how the place changes over time. I would say a longer stay is better and you get to help make these changes. Can't wait to go back and see how it's changed even more.

What did you find most rewarding?
Helping fix up the enclosures

What did you find most challenging?
People who came and didn't really care about the animals and just wanted some cool pictures

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Expect to work hard but have fun doing it

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
It seemed like a good company to go with looked legit

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer?
Yes”

Natasha, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2017

“My two months in Thailand at the Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue project, was one of the best times of my life. I met wonderful people and looked after amazing animals, despite everything they've been through. I especially fell in love with Blue, the parrot and Simon, the three legged cow, to say nothing of the amazing elephants that I got to work with (Chokdee, the slow but always happy elephant was my favourite). Every day was similar and yet different (or as they love to say over there, same same but different), with the basic schedule of the day being the same but when working in different groups and having different special projects, each day feels different. This project was one of the best things I've ever done and I met some wonderful people and animals over there. If you're on the fence about it, then I say go for it!

What did you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing was learning your way around a section and then being able to teach new volunteers.

What did you find most challenging?
I found the mosquitos the most challenging aspect. I wore insect repellent for the most part but I still got bitten a fair amount. They were quite itchy but the more you itched them, the more itchy they became. The key is to be able to ignore them right at the start and then they stop being itchy quite quickly.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
If not now, then when? This placement was one of the best things I have ever done and you meet so many wonderful people and meet such amazing creatures that it is worth every penny!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I used them for a previous trip and they were fantastic.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes.”

Moyin, Wildlife Rescue - 2017

"Great communication before and throughout my time there, also very fun and educational! Everyone there was very friendly and welcoming so you felt comfortable right away. Made many friends and had a lot of fun at the wildlife rescue centre.

What did you find most rewarding? Helping with the wildlife rehabilitation

What did you find most challenging? The weather smile

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Loads of hands on work which is great fun and messy so bring clothes you definitely don't mind getting ruined smile

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? The charity is very effective and definitely making a difference.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Zoe, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2017

"An amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone and everyone, thank you POD! The lifestyle, the environment, the people, the animals, nothing could compare to the experience I've had at this project! If your looking to work with and care for amazing animals, put in the hard yards for a rewarding experience of a lifetime and work with a group of amazing people then this is the place where'd you feel the most at home!

What did you find most rewarding? Seeing the animals benefiting from all the work your doing and having the people be so kind and grateful for your contribution

What did you find most challenging? Not one bit of it was challenging, it's hard work but its work you want to get up for. At the end of the day you feel productive and can see your efforts building this foundation. The only thing I found challenging was leaving

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Be prepared for nothin but tears when you leave! I was only there for a month and I could've called it my home

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed? I wouldn't change a thing!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? They are a great team of people who make the transition 100% drama free

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes"

Jessie, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

"Volunteering at the Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue project was a fantastic experience, it was so fantastic waking up to calls of elephants and gibbons every day. At first it was quite an overwhelming settling as there was so much to remember like the names of all the other volunteers, staff, all the animals and different places at the centre. But the volunteer coordinators did a very good job at making everyone feel welcome and giving guidance.

My room was very nice as I stayed in the elephant dorms that are new and I was put with roommates who I became very close with over the 2 weeks they were there. I met so many people on my placement from all around the world, the placement was a very social experience especially in the evenings and on bar nights and I felt as if all the volunteers were so like minded and passionate about the animals.

The days were very long and tiring but we did get a one hour break at breakfast and lunch so this allowed time to eat, chat to people, walk around and take pictures and rest. Every meal I ate I felt like it was so well deserved and the food was so fantastic and there were so many options. Volunteering at the Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue project really opened up my mind to so much in this world, I now feel so inspired to do more volunteer work, to help save our planet, travel and meet up with the people that I met at the centre.

What did you find most challenging? The most challenging part was definitely working long days from 6.30 till 5 in the heat and also the physical demand of banana tree harvest.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Definitely give both Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue a go as they are both at the same facility, take a few snacks for in between meals, take gumboots for the wet season, wear bugs spray and apply tiger balm to ant or mosquito bites, take lots of photos, stay longer than one week, be open minded and passionate about the work.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? It had really great options for placements, the staff were quick with their replies and the website page was very well organised."

Sabrina, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

"My time at the project was utterly amazing. There were days where you push yourself not only to learn and grow, but to help the others around you and people in your team. Life at camp is great, if you forget something, someone always helps you, whether it's forgetting to look at the duty rooster or even your hat, someone is always there. Volunteering at the Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue project helped me understand other people better, and myself better. I have made friends from all around the world now that I plan on staying in touch with. You have to go in with an open mind and a positive attitude, and if you do, you will be rewarded tenfold!

What did you find most rewarding?
Being able to work in a team and get to know other people

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
If you go in with a positive attitude, you will be fine. Be willing to give everything a go!"

Rachael, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

"The centre was such an inspiring and wonderful place to go and work at. All the staff were friendly and helpful and the Thai staff all had such wicked senses of humour! There was sometimes a language barrier, but it was always overcome by either a little bit of translation or just some good old fashioned hand gestures. I did both the Elephant volunteering and the Wildlife volunteering and both the coordinators Pin and Dave were so lovely and friendly. You learn so much about how these animals have been treated and it has taught me so much about animal cruelty and the importance of education in order to improve the quality of life for millions of animals across the world. The centre itself was in a beautiful area, with day trips available to surrounding areas and lots of fun activities organised by the centre. This experience was wonderful and one I will not forget. I miss it everyday and would truly go back there in a heartbeat.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Be prepared for challenging weather and an always changing group of volunteers!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? It seemed reasonably priced and had good connections with less obvious organisations across the globe.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes. Thank you for a wonderful trip!"

Laura, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

"When started with elephants it was so tough getting used to the heat and working the long days but with the friendly atmosphere and some amazing people and staff you all manage to get everyone through it. Accommodation is very basic but don't need it much so anything was appropriate! The atmosphere was really nice to go down in evenings to the communal eating area, chat laugh and share experiences with people from all across the world.

Wildlife was tougher in my opinion as the days were longer and didn't have as much breaks as elephant care. However it was extremely rewarding working with wildlife as the mahouts are always with the elephants but without us on wildlife they wouldn't have anyone so that was quite rewarding to do.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be prepared!! It's harder than it sounds but it's amazing to work so close with the animals."

Giselle, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

"Everything was over expectations. Thank you. I had a wonderful time. Being able to be in contact with the animals is amazing. They say work is "hard" but I´d say it depends on each one. I enjoyed it a lot!!! Thanks.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
It is a good combination living the experience of Elephants and Wildlife. Definitely I will be back with my kids!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Because of the projects and the answers & follow up you gave me since the begining"

Drew, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

"I would never had considered doing a volunteer project however I found I had some time available and found Pod volunteering website and thought it looked interesting so I gave Sarah a call at Pod volunteering and she was most helpful in helping me decide as she explained my rolls in each project I thought off.

Once arriving in Thailand I was met by my taxi and taken straight to the elephants and wildlife project which was just like everything that was described to me by Sarah , it's true it does take a few days to adjust but once you do its such an amazing feeling you have looking after these wonderful animals knowing that the project and myself are helping them to hopefully be able to have a great life . The elephant’s part of my volunteering was breath-taking to be so close to these magnificent animals each with their own humourus personalities was amazing never had I thought I'd be so close to an elephant feeding them and taking them on short walks I'd recommend this project to anyone and have been chatting about it to everyone I meet as it's been a very great experience that I have came away with thanks to Sarah at Pod volenteering or arranging everything and making my trip hassle free

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
It's so rewarding knowing ur helping these animals and also hard as u get told of the hardships they have been through

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Spoke to Sarah and she sounded like she knew what's what and managed to explain the project well"

Amy, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

"Prepare to sweat, feel dirty and have to work hard!! It was truely an amazing project to be involved in and I was sad to leave the animals behind. The food and accommodation are very basic so dont be expecting luxury but if you make some good friends and make the most of the experience its worth it.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Expect long days in the sun and to need plenty of bug spray

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Reading the reviews from others and the communication from Pod was very reassuring"

Isla, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

“I loved my time at the Elephant and wildlife centre in Thailand! It was the best experience I have ever had in my life and recommend it to anyone who is considering it. I went as a 17 year old with a friend for 3 weeks. At first it was a bit daunting as all the information was very overwhelming but I quickly settled in. I loved the animals and the team spirit at the centre was so good. I met some amazing likeminded people there that I hope I remain friends with for a really long time. I also hope to return as soon as I can! I enjoyed my time on wildlife and elephants just as much but they are quite different. On wildlife (which I did for 2 weeks) it is very hard work as there are a lot of animals to care for depending which team you are on so don't expect it to be easy. However the team spirit made it really enjoyable.

Working with the elephants was slightly less work than wildlife and was so nice because I felt I got something back from the elephants. They are such incredible animals, it was amazing to work with them!

What did you find most rewarding?
Seeing how the animals benefitted from your work especially the elephants as their backgrounds were so terrible it felt good to be giving them something and putting them first.

What did you find most challenging?
The only thing I found challenging was dealing with the change in my surroundings and the heat on my first few days but it wasn't long until I didn't ever want to leave!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Do it! And don't worry too much about it, it's an amazing experience you will not regret! But bring mozzie bite cream!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
They offered me help and advice throughout the whole process and answered any questions I had.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Emma, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

“The centre was amazing and I met some brilliant people there which made the experience far more enjoyable! Feeding and cleaning out the wildlife was very fulfilling as well but not as fun as watching the animals play with their enrichments which we had made by hand!

As for my time with elephants I would not have changed it for the world it was amazing! You form a bond with them and that makes the work you do with/ for them feel more valuable. Overall my experience was brilliant and even the tough jobs like harvesting the banana trees was made a lot easier with the amazing team atmosphere the centre has and the job turned out to be a lot of fun!

Pod was very helpful throughout the process of planning and booking our stay as well as giving us support when there. The amount of contact they had with us made the experience and preparation time far better.

What did you find most rewarding?
The work with the elephants as after my three weeks of volunteering we saw some elephant camps while visiting the temples and it made me realise the amazing things the centre is doing for them.

What did you find most challenging?
The first few days of settling in was quite hard with the heat and humidity.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
To socialise a lot and put yourself out there as the experience is made an awful lot better when you've made friends out there.”

Steph, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2016

“AMAZING! I was apprehensive about going to Thailand and working in this kind of environment. But after getting into our accommodation which was surprisingly better then expected and meeting like minded people I was put at ease. The work can be tiring, adjusting to the heat and food. But you get days off to explore other places in Thailand, the mahouts are so funny and most people are friendly there so it becomes like a community. Banana harvest is a must if on elephant care. It's hard but really rewarding. The mahouts help out and play upbeat music, it's a fun experience and you know you're feeding the elephants.

What did you find most rewarding?
After a long day of work, the satisfaction you've fed 79 odd gibbons and helped to make their lives enjoyable after what they have all been through. Being able to watch all their different characters, definitely gives you the feels.

What did you find most challenging?
Adjusting to the heat and food. Hungry a lot of the time and working in the heat can be challenging.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Just book it. It's an amazing experience, meet so many lovely people. Be prepared to get dirty and tired! But it's all worth it for the experience.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
My friend had gone through them herself for a volunteer programme and said how good they were. Looked professional and had good reviews.”

Priyanka, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2015

“I spent my first week in elephant rescue and then 2 weeks in wildlife care. It is at the same facility. Both were amazing but in different ways. There was more free time throughout the day in elephants but you were mostly in the extremely hot sun so everything you did was tiring. Wildlife was more walking/thinking and less free time but it was in the forest so not as hot. The day went by faster in wildlife. I should also mention that wildlife is hands OFF.

What did you find most rewarding? When you watch videos of how horrible the treatment is of tourist elephants, monkeys and other wildlife animals- it's rewarding to know that you helped that animal live outside the industry and made a difference.

What did you find most challenging? The heat. The sun while working in Newlands on Elephants (one of the areas you could be placed) is almost unbearable at times. But everything else that was challenging (harvest being the only other thing) was more rewarding than challenging.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Go for more than 1 week on each. I suggest 3-4 weeks total so that you can actually meet the animals."

Holly, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2015

"One of the best experiences of my life! I worked six weeks at the centre, three on each program; I can highly recommend doing both to gain a fuller experience! I found each challenge, be it physical or mental, was outweighed by an even greater reward. The centre is not only a place where I was given the incredible opportunity to observe, care for and learn about the most amazing animals but also a place where I made lifelong friends. I was quite apprehensive to come alone, but after my experience I can highly recommend it. The experience as a whole has given me an inner confidence I never knew I had and (such a cliché but) has helped me grow in so many ways.

My top recommendation is to read through the Volunteering Guide thoroughly to avoid going there with false expectations. Be prepared to work long and hard days (especially on the wildlife program), sweat a lot and find yourself dirtier than you ever have been.

But overall, I would highly recommend the program to anyone considering becoming involved!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Read through the manual. Don't go there with expectations that it will be easy or you'll be cuddling animals. Remain open minded and be ready for anything.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? To gain an understanding of the world that goes deeper than just seeing sites"

Yuma, Wildlife Rescue - 2015

“I thoroughly enjoyed my placement in Thailand as I got to see a variety of animals and their different behaviours, some acquired and some innate. Within the 2 weeks of volunteering I have increased my knowledge of the animals I worked with and was astonished by how little I know! Even though it was hard work at times, I believe my time at centre was an invaluable experience. Also, I have met some amazing people whom I will remain in contact with.

Finally I would definitely recommend this project to anyone who is genuinely interested in animals and even their behaviour.

What was a typical day at the Wildlife Rescue project? Get up early; work; breakfast; work (with some breaks in between depending on your department); lunch; work (with some more breaks); dinner; personal time such as going to the night market, just sleeping in, etc.

What did you find most rewarding? Realising that some of the animals will be released back into the wild and some (like the elephants) can now "retire" without being abused.

What did you find most challenging? Flies and mosquitoes.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Just be aware of the work load

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Explore cultures and meet people from around the world.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Because it is non profit and ethical.”

Courtney, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2015

"I found the guided tour with the volunteer coordinators upon arrival to be the most rewarding. I valued the informational piece to be of high importance as it allowed for me to be educated on the mission of the Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue Centre, as well as how they operate as an organization. I was also moved to learn the history of the animals and how the centre has made positive changes with their rescue.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? I would advise others to brings multiple pairs of shoes that are to be ruined when cleaning out the animal enclosures and pools. Many volunteers had cuts on their feet (due to wearing sandals) that would later become infected. I would as recommend bringing old t-shirts and shorts as the banana tree sap during harvest stains clothing.

I chose Pod Volunteer due to an overwhelmingly amount of positive volunteer reviews. Pod Volunteer also made tremendous efforts with volunteer preparations and provided transparency as an organization."

Natasha, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2015

"The centre exceeded all my expectations. As a hotel queen I adapted well to non-flush toilets, no sink and brushing my teeth over the toilet, but the weather and the animals made it all worthwhile. The most useful things I brought was my mini Tempur pillow, a flat sheet (as it was too hot to use the blanket quilt provides) and my gardening gloves for the composting and harvesting. Its funny coming home and telling others that I was picking up Elephant poo with my hands (gloves on of course) and a friendly geko in my room to eat to mosquitoes. I would certainly recommend the 100% deet insect repellent from Go Outdoors, I only got 3 bites in my whole 3 weeks and this was my fault for going outside forgetting to apply. The worst part was the red ants, god they bite, but you just get on with it. Oh and don't forget your flip flops, I only wore trainers for harvesting, else it was sandals and flip-flops.

What was a typical day at the Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue project?
Alarm goes off at 5.45am, it’s still dark, but by the time I’m up, dressed, creamed up with factor 40 and bug sprayed, cleaned my teeth and out the door it is daylight, beautiful early morning sunshine and so warm its delightful.

A quick cuppa in the Volunteer House at 6.15am before starting the job in your designated teams at 6.30am. For wildlife we spent 1 hour preparing food - a production line chopping fruit and vegetables, the food quality was amazing. For elephants we made banana balls for their breakfast, feed them, cleaned there enclosure and then went for breakfast. There were eggs, bread and fruit available everyday - the bananas were so amazing.

At 9am we start again, preparing food, feeding, cleaning enclosures, cleaning pools (bears and peacocks), this was hands and knees scrubbing. Lots of breaks in-between so you can mooch and see the animals.

At 12noon we have lunch (Thai Chicken and Rice)

At 1pm the food preparation starts again, feeding, watering, cleaning and showering the elephants.

At 5pm most teams have finished for the day, then a walk to the village to connect to Wi-Fi or get a cold pop or some munchies.

At 6.30pm we had dinner - Thai Chicken and Rice.

Then it was free time to do whatever you want, go to town or just hang out.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Take conservative clothes to respect the culture, old T-shirts, flip flops, be prepared to work hard, there is a lot of bending down, carrying watering cans etc."

Roz, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2015

"Volunteering for the Elephant & Wildlife centre was a first for me. I had never done anything like this before or travelled abroad alone. From my first e-mail to Pod I was looked after very well, the reply to my application and confirmation that I had a place came through quickly. The information was comprehensive & concise and I had complete confidence that my trip was going to go well.

I had the most wonderful time away, the centre is a mad & chaotic place but I loved it. There are the routine jobs that have to be done every day to ensure the well being of the animals but there is also plenty of time to wander around the centre & observe your favourites.

The noise level is staggering, with Gibbons, Otters, Parrots, Elephants, dogs, Macaques etc., all sharing their unique sounds. To wake up every day to this was an absolute joy and I miss it very much.

I had the most wonderful time in Thailand, I learnt a huge amount about the animals I was working with & about myself. There were surprises, frustrations, tears, warm fuzzy feelings and a huge amount of laughter and I would do it all again without hesitation!

Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Lauren, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2015

"Everything was great overall as a whole! I will definitely be working with Pod again in the future, great experience and great opportunities. Thank you so much for helping every step of the way!

Everything was well run and there was always someone there if you had any problems (which I did not, but comforting all the same)."

Jennifer, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2014

"My time working at this project was fairly exhausting, but also incredibly fun, educational and inspirational. I'm so glad I went for longer than a few weeks, because I felt was able to experience every part of the center, and truly become part of the community. I would recommend this project to anyone that wishes to learn not only about wildlife conservation, but also about themselves.

Why did you choose Pod? I chose Pod because they are transparent in their business dealings and are well reported upon by multiple organizations. I also received incredibly friendly and helpful service from everyone I interacted with (particularly Becky, who I had the chance to meet in person when she visited the project. Pod is lucky to have her!) I also love the variety of locations and projects that Pod has available. It was nice to have so many opportunities within in one trusted company."

Abi, Phil and Carrick, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2014

"We decided to volunteer as a family to share an experience that we hoped would be so much more than a holiday. We spent 2 weeks at the Centre, 1 week on Wildlife and 1 week with elephants. As the Pod manual rightly says this is not a holiday, go expecting to work hard, muck in with the team, work through the jet lag and be open to Thai food. However, it is a life enriching experience where you get the opportunity to meet amazing people with a passion for animal welfare and amazing travel experiences. You also get the opportunity to spend time with animals that have been through tough times and have a unique story to tell.

On returning home I know I spent two weeks doing something meaningful that really does make a difference, however small and I know we have equipped our son with an experience that will shape his future in one way or another.

What did you find most rewarding? Knowing that you are helping rescued animals, making their lives better. Meeting amazing people and hearing about their life experiences. Hearing first hand from the owner of the centre why he is so passionate about the Foundation

What did you find most challenging? The 6.30am starts, particularly at the beginning when we still had jet lag. Accommodation was very basic but we knew this before we came so no problem - except perhaps the rats!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Read the Pod manual - it’s very accurate

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? The whole experience was very rewarding. It makes you appreciate many of the things you take for granted at home. On returning home you know you have done something so much more than sitting on a beach in the sun for 2 weeks - and that makes you feel great!"

Hannah, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2014

"It's really hot, hard work, you feel dusty and dirty pretty much all the time, the accommodation is pretty basic but despite all of that it was the most amazing experience of my entire life. I just didn't care about the home comforts of the western world when I had the opportunity to work so closely with such amazing animals. When you give an elephant a shower, make some enrichments for the bears, even scrub out the pools in the turtle enclosure it's an amazing feeling as you are contributing to these animals finally having happy lives away from exploitation. It's not a place to go if you don't like hard work but the work is so rewarding I felt that 4 weeks was just not enough.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Physical work in a tropical climate is really hard and you will probably feel uncomfortable and get bitten by all sorts of insects so you need to consider carefully if you can cope with that. But if you can deal with that it is incredibly rewarding work and a hugely social place.

Also I got bitten by mosquitos/ants on my feet and because of the volunteer role I was then working in dirty water doing pool scrubs at the centre. My bites got infected and I had to get antibiotics - everyone at the centre was great and really helpful. My advice is to use insect repellent day AND night (in my case it was after going for a swim at the spa that I forgot to put repellent on afterwards) and to have antibacterial wipes to keep bites/wounds clean if you do get them."

Tammy and her daughter, Wildlife Rescue - 2014

“The wildlife project is a very good project to take part in. It is hard work, with the early starts and routines that must be completed each day, but it makes it worthwhile when you see the difference you are making. The accommodation is very basic, so do not expect luxury, but again you can see where the money goes so, you don't mind a period of discomfort. It will take you a couple of days to get your bearings and feel you are starting to fit in. It depends on who is volunteering at the time but the majority of people are very friendly and invite you to eat with them, plus as the days go on you work with different people and get to know more people. At the end of our time we felt so comfortable and used to the routine that we didn't want to leave.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Be prepared to work, it isn't a relaxing holiday, each day routines have to be completed and if you get stuck in and get them done you will have more free time. Basically don't be lazy do your fair share of the work, as this causes less stress to the leaders

Why did you choose Pod? Personally it fitted in with the other things I wanted to do in Thailand, but on initial contact with Pod Becky who is based in the UK office kept in contact with you by email and the Volunteering Guides provided told you everything you needed to know, so I felt confident that it was a reputable company. I even received an email a couple of days before I left for the project which I thought was a nice touch and made me feel someone cared about my well being.”

Tim, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2014

"I had a fantastic time volunteering in Thailand. I did a week at the Wildlife Rescue Centre and a week at the Elephant Care Centre. It was great having a chance to spend some time on each but a week was not enough. I could easily have stayed there a lot longer. It's easy to see how some people end up staying there for months.

Why did you choose Pod? This was the second time I have used Pod (previously volunteered at Belize Wildlife Centre). They are very helpful and they provide all the information you need."

Amanda and son, Wildlife Rescue - 2013

"Amazing experience!! One week definitely not long enough... the rescue centre was very well organised, and the delicious Thai food, meeting heaps of like-minded people from around the world, and helping all the gorgeous animals made up for the slightly hard beds!!

Katherine, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2013

"In my time at the center I spent one week in the wildlife rescue section and another week in the elephant rescue and found it beneficial to get the experience of both.

My first week I was on wildlife and spent most of my time with the primates in the center and in the forest. I would spend the mornings feeding them and giving them water. It was a lovely experience to interact with them. There is nothing like waking up to the sounds of gibbons howling in the forests surrounding you.

My time with the elephants was much more up close and personal. I will never have another experience in my life like standing on a concrete bowl leaning with my hand on the head of one of the elephants with a scrub brush trying to get all the dirt off the top of her head. The look in her eyes is one I will sure never forget. You appreciate the majestic beauty of this giant creature when you are put face to face with them. It is an experience of a lifetime.

What did you find most rewarding? The work was by far the best part.

What did you find most challenging? Aside from the 6am wake up 6 days a week?! The hard work in the heat was rather challenging as well. Not to mention that there were about 30 other volunteers so it’s interesting dealing with different peoples personalities from all over the world!"

Sadie, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2013

"I had an amazing time in Thailand I met so many lovely people and living on a sanctuary with seven elephants, a crocodile, otter, exotic birds and loads of monkeys was just crazy! I was hard work on the banana harvest but it all paid off when we got to hand feed Boonmee and the gang. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves animals."

Max, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2013

"I had an amazing time at the Wildlife Rescue Centre, I have made a lot of good friends from around the world and working with the animals was great, I can't think of anything negative at all to say, will definitely be returning when I next can."

Meg, Wildlife Rescue - 2013

"This was my first time volunteering for anything like this, and mixed with the fact that I was volunteering for a month, I was pretty nervous when I left for Thailand. I'm not going to lie, the first week was not easy. I was unused to the heat and the complete change in my everyday life was hard to adjust to. However, after the first couple of days, things got easier a lot quicker. Not only that, but thanks to Pod themselves and their public Facebook wall I was able to contact other volunteers prior to arriving. They became a nice support pillar throughout the time that they were there. I've got to say, the other volunteers who were at the centre really made the experience for me. Not only have I learned more about animals, Thailand, and volunteering, but I have also learnt a lot about myself along the way. I know that this will be an experience I will remember forever. If you love animals, are ready to explore, meet new people and have some unforgettable memories, this program definitely offers you it.

What did you find most rewarding? Actually being able to do something to help out the centre; the work you do every day really lets you see how much work there is to be done and how much you and others' contributions, whether it be financially or through volunteering, is actually helping.

What did you find most challenging? I'd have to say just the general change in life style was the hardest. The bugs, the frugality of everything, and for some days the intensity of the labour you have to do in the heat. I considered leaving early in the first couple of days but I'm so glad I stuck with it! The heat itself was also hard to adjust to in the beginning but you quickly become acclimatized. The goodbyes were also very hard; I met the most amazing people during my stay and I'm sure I will see many of them again in the future.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Talk to everyone and take every opportunity there is! I am a shy person, but I found that I was able to open up, be myself, and have loads of fun. The people you will meet at the centre are amazing and many are just like you, you just need to talk to them to find that out! Also, bring plenty of clothes that you don't mind getting messy. But also bring clothes that, at then end of the day or for going out, you can feel more human in. Most of all, be prepared for a wide range of emotions; these too are all part of the experience!”

Kelly, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2013

“If there was anything Pod wasn't helpful on, it was telling me just how much I was going to LOVE my entire experience. I went in with no expectations, and it is definitely the way to go. Everyone is united under the same goals and beliefs, but individual reasons for coming are so varied. It is not only a wonderful chance to work with incredible creatures and for valiant causes, but an opportunity to do so side by side with unforgettable people.”

Holly, Wildlife Rescue - 2013

“My time spent at the centre, has been I very rewarding experience. For anyone who has an interest in animals and has the determination to make any animal's life better than this opportunity will not disappoint. It has opened my eyes to what happens in other countries and how differently animals are treated and valued to back home in Australia. I would recommend this project to any animal lover. The more volunteers that get involved, the better off the well-being of these animals will be.

Luis, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2012

"My time here was magical. Working with elephants, bears, gibbons and other wildlife was simply breathtaking. And witnessing how important the center's work is made it all better; I wasn't just being a tourist, I was contributing to the animals' happiness and to create awareness on how to treat animals.

It was one of my most rewarding experiences I have had, and one of the most difficult ones, as well. The sweat from a hard day's work, the tears of seeing other fellow volunteers leave, the love you can feel from a creature that is ten times bigger than myself... Words really fall short to how life-changing this experience was for me.

I have already recommended you and shown pictures of my trips to so many people that I have lost count. I would just love for everyone to do something like this. Thank you!!!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Be willing to feel tired or frustrated at times; there's nothing bad about it. Socialize with your fellow volunteers, even if you are tired. Listen to the supervisors. Trust the man in charge; he is difficult to deal with at first, but then you realize that he does so much more than just managing a rescue center."

Cathy, Wildlife Rescue - 2011

“This was the second time that I had been to the Wildlife Rescue Centre and I just want to go back...today!! The staff were excellent support.

I would recommend this place to anyone who wants to help animals, has enthusiasm and prepared to get up in the morning and do a day’s work in a really beautiful place filled with beautiful exotic animals.

What did you find most rewarding? It’s hard to say what was the most rewarding as everyday seemed to be different and there was plenty to do. Sometimes it was just nice to see the langurs enjoying their enrichments like food treats.

What did you find most challenging? Sometimes carrying heavy baskets and heavy buckets of water was difficult. Learning how to crack open a coconut!!!

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? Read all the advice before you come, and bring all the electrical equipment and clothes that you need as you might not be able to get them in the village."

Mark, Wildlife Rescue - 2011

“I had an incredible time volunteering at the centre, meeting some great people and being able to work with some beautiful animals.  I really have gained some memories from my time in Thailand that will last a lifetime.

Thank you for your help and advice before I left.  I would definitely like to return to the centre one day.”

Victoria, Wildlife Rescue - 2011

“Waking every morning to the sounds of the gibbons was completely surreal. This centre is truely inspiring; with volunteers from all over the world coming together to make a difference. I enjoyed my time there so much, and have to say that 2 months is not nearly long enough! I got to know a lot of the animals, their different characteristics and interactions with one another; watching in fascination as they searched for the food we prepared or groomed one another during the afternoon in the shade. Definitely going to go back.”

Martha, Wildlife Rescue - 2011

“I had no idea what to expect but from the moment I arrived I felt so at home with the other volunteers at the centre. The rescue centre obviously relies very heavily on the commitment and passion of the volunteers and it is the enthusiasm of the whole team that made the experience so enjoyable both in terms of the work with the animals and the social aspect that came with living so close together. Everyone really did get stuck in and it was the best feeling to jump in the river after a fun but long day chopping fruit and scrubbing bear pools, knowing that the animals are cared for and happy.

What did you find most rewarding? Feeling of satisfaction seeing the bears hunt for the food you have hidden around the enclosure.

What did you find most challenging? It is physically hard and sweaty work but everyone clubs together and you laugh a lot.”

Elaine, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2011

“My first intention was to just work with the elephants for 3 weeks, but in e-mail discussion with Erin, she suggested some time with the wildlife too, as there was a large range of animals at the centre. I ended up working 2 weeks with wildlife, and 1 week with elephants. I am so glad I did this, as I really got to know all the animals at the sanctuary, and what each section of the centre consisted of. I really learned a great deal about animals I didn't even knew existed before I arrived at the project! There are over 400 animals at the sanctuary, and it was a great privilege to be able to get to work with most of them, and not just the elephants I was originally going to do (even though I fell in love with the elephants on my last week - I miss them so much!)”

Tina, Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue - 2011

What is a typical day at the project? "Getting up when the rooster started his singing. Take the walk up to the food house, and start either chopping or putting the chopped fruit into bowls. We would clean inside the bears’ enclosures, or clean under the monkeys’ cages after they have had their food. We would fill their water buckets and scrub either bear pools, the otter pool or the civets’ river.

You are professionals, I like your ideology. Everything with the animals, who they are and how they will be treated. You let you opinion shine through, and it is a good one. People who choose to work with animals should not do it just to hope to cuddle with them, and there you are. Not promising kisses and hugs, and trips riding the elephants in forest. You are quality in this market.”

Susan, Wildlife Rescue - 2011

“I met lots of nice animals and fell in love some kittens that come into the hospital. The people in the village were magic and I have made a lot of friends with nice people. I had a great time got loads of good pics and videos.

Just had 2 weeks in Thailand wildlife rescue it was a dream come true for me. Just retired from working at UCLAN for 27 yrs and I needed a new adventure. My placement at Thailand was great; I really cannot find words to explain .All I can say is just go and get the buzz that I got and you are never too old, it is hard rewarding work. JUST DO IT, YOU WILL NOT FORGET IT and it’s a memory in your life forever POD needs YOU.

What did you find most rewarding? Getting to know the animals and knowing you are help.

What advice would you give to others considering doing this project? Be prepared to see animals that have been injured and mistreated, and keep your toes covered up, plenty of old clothes. Most of all enjoy it, its something special that you doing.”

Find out more about the Wildlife Rescue project

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • 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