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World Animal Protection – Volunteer with Elephants

5th Nov 2022 - 13th Nov 2022

9 days/Thailand /Moderate


Get hands on in Chiang Mai where you spend two and a half days at the Chang Chill Elephant Sanctuary involved in a range of tasks such as maintenance of the grounds, cleaning, feeding and food preparation for these gentle giants.

You will also explore the stunning Khao Yai National Park with its dense jungle, hidden waterfalls and native flora as you go in search of wild species such as gibbons, deer, macaques and even wild elephants.

A moderate trip for someone of a reasonable fitness level due to the hot and humid climate and active nature of the trip. An ideal candidate would be an open minded person who enjoys trying something new, experiencing different cultures and making a difference.

You will be accompanied by English-speaking local guides, a Different Travel Company tour manager and a World Animal Protection staff member who together will support you and make your trip memorable.

November is considered the ‘cool’ season in Thailand however you can still expect highs of 32 ̊C during the day, dropping down to 24 ̊C at night. Weather conditions vary and may be unpredictable but in general you can expect hot, cloudy days with a 35%chance of rain and moderate humidity. It’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures so ensuring you have suitable lightweight clothes which keep your skin protected from the sun.When the sun comes out it can feel very hot so wearing sunglasses and a hat, and keeping well hydrated is crucial.

Please note that the above climate details are based on historical averages and may differ due to climate change and the unpredictable nature of the weather. We cannot be held responsible for weather conditions which differ to this.

The food you will enjoy during this trip comprises traditional Thai meals,freshly prepared and delicious. Thai food isn’t always spicy but if you like your food with a kick, chilli or chilli sauce is often available if you ask. Typical dishes include soup, rice, fresh vegetables, meat, eggs, fruit etc. Special dietary requirements can be catered for upon request.

In Bangkok, Khao Yai and Chiang Mai you will stay in a hotel with en-suite facilities; 2-3 people to a room. On the journey to Chiang Mai you will sleep in an air-conditioned overnight train. During your time at the Chang Chill Elephant Sanctuary you will stay in a basic guesthouse.
You are advised to bring ear plugs so you can block out snoring and other noises which may disturb your sleep (e.g. train noises, other hotel guests, wildlife).
Please try earplugs in advance so you know you are comfortable using them as there are a variety of shapes and types. It cannot be overstated how important earplugs are while staying in shared accommodation.

The bathroom facilities are en-suite at the hotels and shared on the overnight train. We recommend you bring biodegradable toiletries to minimise your impact on the environment. Lush cosmetics have a wide selection of natural products.There are western style toilets at all accommodation. Toilet paper is usually provided but we recommend you bring a small supply (1-2 rolls). Toilet paper must not be flushed but put into the bins provided. The sewer pipes are not large enough to cope with toilet paper and if you attempt to flush it, you will block the pipes and make the facilities unusable for everyone else.

You must be at least 18 years old to participate on this trek unaccompanied. It may be possible for you to participate if you are 16 or 17 years old but you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
There is no upper age limit.
No experience is required to take part, just an open-minded adventurous spirit, a willingness to get involved and ambition to make a difference. For optimal enjoyment of trip, we suggest that participants have a good level of fitness and are in good health to be able to cope with the hot climate and activities undertaken.This is an adventure trip rather than a holiday so you should expect active days.

Although the activities will be at a gentle pace you will be doing something different every day, sometimes taking part in physically demanding tasks. Having a good overall level of fitness is recommended to maximise your enjoyment of this trip.General fitness training can include hill walking, running, cycling, swimming, gym workouts, boot camps etc. You can download a number of free apps which help you train and track your progress. E.g. MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run), MyFitnessPal.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.

The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.

If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.

In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.


E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport + copy
Thai visa (if required)
Insurance policy details
Pen for immigration forms
Cash (£) /+ Credit + ATM card(s)
LED head torch + spare batteries
Adaptor (multi-prong option)
Mobile phone + charger
Camera + spare batteries

Clothing & Footwear

Hiking boots*
Casual footwear for evenings/travel
Socks + underwear
Non-cotton long sleeve shirt/top
Non-cotton t-shirt
Long sleeved light warm layer
Lightweight trek trousers
Lightweight poncho
Change of clothes for evenings
Sun hat
Cooling neck wrap (e.g. Cobber)
Scarf/pashmina (for use at temples)
Casual clothes for sightseeing


Shampoo + conditioner*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Antiperspirant deodorant*
Shower gel*
Wet wipes*
Toilet paper* (1-2 rolls)
Sun cream (SPF 30+)*
Hand sanitizer
Feminine hygiene products*
Nappy sacks* (for used toilet paper)
Hair brush or comb

First Aid Kit

Prescription medicine
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Plasters + blister plasters
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Decongestant (optional)
Zinc oxide tape (optional)
Spare glasses/contact lenses


Portable power bank charger
Video camera + charger
iPod/MP3 player
Walking pole(s)
Books/playing cards


Holdall or kit bag (60-70 lltres)
Daypack (25 litres)
Combination padlock(s)
Combination cable lock (optional)

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
2 x 1-litre water bottle(s) OR
2-litre water bottle (e.g. CamelBak) + 1-litre bottle
Water purification
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)


Ear plugs (essential)

Please note: This list is not exhaustive and does not account for your personal taste or preference. It should be used as a guideline only. If you have any questions or queries regarding this list which are not answered in the sections above please contact

*Please ensure you pack your boots in your hand baggage in the unlikely event your luggage is delayed or goes missing.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.


Day 1 (Saturday 5 November 2022):

London – Bangkok
Depart London on an overnight flight to Bangkok.

Day 2 (Sunday 6 November 2022):

Upon arrival in Bangkok we will transfer to a central hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant this evening. Depending on flight times there may be some time to explore this bustling and exciting city.
Meals: Dinner

Days 3-4 (Monday 7 – Tuesday 8 November 2022):

Bangkok – Khao Yai National Park
After breakfast we depart the city for Khao Yai National Park (approx. 3 hours’ drive) and check into our hotel. This afternoon we have a briefing on the activities we can take part in such as a jungle trek in search of hidden waterfalls and local wildlife, safari drives, a visit to wildlife hides and more! During our time at the national park there is a good chance of spotting animals such as gibbons, macaques and elephants, as well as a spectacular variety of bird and insect life. Please note wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Wednesday 9 November 2022):

Khao Yai National Park – Ayutthaya – Chiang Mai
After another jungle activity this morning we head to Ayutthaya (approx. 3 hours’ drive) and take the overnight train to Chiang Mai. We’ll take a packed dinner to eat on-board and will enjoy the comfort of an air-conditioned sleeper cabin.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, packed dinner

Day 6 (Thursday 10 November 2022):

Chiang Mai – Chang Chill Sanctuary
Upon arrival in Chiang Mai we make a stop for breakfast then take a one-hour drive to the Chang Chill Elephant Sanctuary. We’ll spend time observing the elephants, volunteering and learning about each elephant from the expert guides. We’ll also learn about the history of the sanctuary and the challenges facing the species. We will transfer to the Plern Home Guesthouse (or similar) where we will stay for the next two nights.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7  (Friday 11 November 2022):

Chang Chill Sanctuary
We spend today at Chang Chill Sanctuary. There will be opportunities such as preparing food for the elephants and helping out with other tasks, such as planting or harvesting their food, clearing the ground, or some light construction projects, depending on the need at the time.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 (Saturday 12 November 2022):

Chang Chill – Chiang Mai
After a final morning with the elephants we return to Chiang Mai (one hours’ drive), stopping for lunch en-route. This afternoon we check into our hotel and there will be some free time in this fascinating town before a farewell dinner to celebrate your achievements.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 (Sunday 13 November 2022):

Chiang Mai – London
Depending on flight schedules there may be some free time this morning before transferring to the airport for the flight home (possibly via Bangkok).
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 (Monday 14 November 2022):

This morning we arrive back into London depending on flight schedules.

NB This itinerary is complex and details may change due to unusual weather patterns, the needs at the sanctuary and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary however we cannot be held responsible for changes that might occur outside of our control. In all such circumstances your guide and tour manager will have the final say in the interest of the health and safety of the group. Adventure travel is often unpredictable so flexibility and an open mind is recommended.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £350
Fundraise or pay: £3310


  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • You are asked to fundraise or pay £3,310 to World Animal Protection which covers your trip costs and a substantial donation to the charity.
  • You can personally contribute as much or as little as you wish to this total, or you can fundraise the entire figure.
  • The £3,310 figure must be reached by Friday 12 August 2022.

What's included

  • Return flights from London*
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • Local transfers and transport
  • Accommodation (twin/triple rooms at hotels, dormitories at Elephant Valley)
  • English-speaking local guides
  • Conservation fees and permits
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Activities at Khao Yai
  • All entrance fees
  • Different Travel UK tour manager

What's not included

  • Any necessary vaccinations
  • Thai visa (if required)
  • Drinks, laundry and personal expenses
  • Spending money (tips and gratuities, souvenirs)
  • Transport to/from UK airports
  • Personal trek kit
  • Travel insurance

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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