As an elephant sanctuary volunteer in Thailand with PMGY, you will have the unique chance to work behind the scenes to care for elephants. Eager and passionate volunteers are required to assist with the general upkeep of the project throughout the year. The centre works to rescue and rehabilitate elephants within Thailand. With our team on this Thailand volunteer program, you will have an amazing chance to help care for these gentle giants.
ELEPHANT SANCTUARY VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE UN'S DEVELOPMENT GOAL NO.15 – LIFE ON LAND
WORK CLOSELY WITH ELEPHANTS ON A TOP-PICK PROGRAM FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
LEARN ABOUT SOME OF THE PRESSURES & DIFFICULTIES FACED BY THAILAND’S WILDLIFE
EXPERIENCE A CAPTIVATING & DYNAMIC CULTURE BY VOLUNTEERING IN THAILAND
EXPLORE SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST MAGNIFICENT TEMPLES IN YOUR FREE TIME
BACKGROUND TO THE ELEPHANT PROGRAM
Thailand is home to both populations of wild and domesticated populations of the Asian elephant. The domestic population is sadly made up of animals that have been caught from their natural habitat or bred in captivity. These animals have been trained/broken to live and work in the tourist or logging industry.
Today, Thailand’s wild population elephant population is struggling for survival. The wild elephant population of Thailand is estimated at 2,200, living in open grasslands and dense rainforests spread over the country. Historically, domestic elephants have been used in the logging industry. In turn, they have ironically and unwillingly helped to destroy the very habitat they rely on to survive.
After the ban on logging in 1989, most of the logging elephants ended up being used within the tourism industry. Others have been used to make a living by begging on the streets of big cities. Walking day and night on these dirty and traffic-congested streets is detrimental to the elephant’s health, and is simply unnatural. Street begging elephants often end up being involved in road traffic accidents. This commonly results in fatalities for both the elephant and the mahout.
Unfortunately, in Thailand, there are currently no laws to prevent this abuse and mistreatment. Therefore there is an urgent need to help these animals. This is where our participants come in. This sanctuary has been created for elephants to retire and be given the respect these amazing creatures deserve. Our international participants help support the centre, assisting and leading different tasks to help rehabilitate and home these gentle giants.
ELEPHANT VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT
WFFT - If you wish to be a responsible volunteer, working ethically with elephants, then this is the place to volunteer. This wildlife volunteering abroad project allows you to learn more about them, the problems they face and be part of the solution. The forested land around the rescue centre gives rescued elephants the chance to roam around in near-natural surroundings. Large pieces of land have been purchased to make these forests and grasslands similar to their natural habitat. The large elephant enclosures allow the elephants the space to move around and socialise with other elephants. Each enclosure can be up to 5-hectares in size, with natural trees, lakes and grazing areas. No elephant is ever chained up, day or night.
The rescue centre provides elephants with the freedom they deserve in a safe and natural environment. Our team provides lifelong veterinary care to those who need it, as well as the best husbandry and diet. As an elephant sanctuary volunteer, you will be taught everything needed to take care of these captivating creatures. A volunteer with elephants in Thailand will prepare food, create enrichment items, clean and maintain enclosures, and harvest plant matter. Common meals for elephants include banana trees and grass. You may also be lucky enough to walk the elephants between pieces of land!
When volunteering in Thailand with elephants, our coordinators will assign participants to groups each day. The groups are managed by team leaders - longer-term experienced participants who assist and guide their teams throughout daily tasks.
YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORKING DAY
As a volunteer in Thailand, you are required to support and assist with the day-to-day operations at the elephant conservation project. This includes (but is not limited to): preparing and distributing food, preparing and distributing behavioural enrichments, assisting with environmental enrichments, cleaning the land, and general maintenance, including maintaining forest areas.
On this Thailand elephant sanctuary volunteer program, the animal volunteering day starts at 6:30am. The Volunteer House is where all organisation and orientation of participants is based. On the Thailand elephant sanctuary volunteer program, you will normally finish work around 5pm. There will be several breaks throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and water and toilet breaks. Participants are expected to work 6 days a week with one day off. The Volunteer House is based on-site at the rescue centre. Although volunteer work with elephants in Thailand is very physically and mentally demanding, the end result is always well worth it. Volunteering in Thailand with elephants is tremendously rewarding.
As a volunteer with elephants in Thailand, you will stay on-site at the wildlife centre. This means that external transport is not required. Any required transport for the needs of the project will be included in your Program Fee.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING IN THAILAND
Strictly Hands-Off - Please be aware the elephant conservation volunteer work in Thailand is strictly hands-off. Volunteer work with elephants in Thailand will involve no physical interaction with animals. The elephant conservation project tries to provide a natural experience for elephants rather than an opportunity to pet the animals.
Instead, elephant volunteers in Thailand will provide the essential daily and long-term needs of the animals. This includes activities such as feeding, cleaning enclosures and providing stimulation in the form of behavioural and environmental enrichments.
Physically & Emotionally Demanding - The work as an elephant conservation volunteer in Thailand is incredibly demanding. Participants must, therefore, be fit in both physical and mental health to complete the project. Before committing to the program, individuals are encouraged to reach out to a member of PMGY staff should they have concerns.
During volunteer work with elephants in Thailand, each participant will have their own pace, strengths and weaknesses. You are asked to kindly respect that not everyone will have the same abilities - individuals may work at different paces. Everyone on the Thailand elephant sanctuary volunteer program is here to help and will make their contribution in their own way.
Additional Tasks - All participants volunteering in Thailand with elephants will be asked to assist in additional tasks outside of project hours. This is to help run the Volunteer House and include activities such as ‘house duty’ and ‘doggie duty’. Typically, two people per day are chosen to help with each. House duty involves ensuring all areas are kept tidy each day and some common housework is completed. Doggie duty involves caring for some of the dogs that live at the Volunteer House. This involves washing, feeding and walking the dogs.
CHOOSING A VOLUNTEER TRIP
Can people from outside of the UK or USA volunteer with PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of participants from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries participants have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time volunteering. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our participants really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to volunteer with elephants in Thailand?
PMGY welcomes elephant sanctuary volunteers of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 (or 14 years old with parents) and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak Thai. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in Thailand will go a long way.
All elephant volunteers in Thailand must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the Thailand volunteer program?
For your volunteer trip to Thailand, you should book your flights to either Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok) Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang Airport (DMK) Airport in Bangkok on the Sunday start date. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the Sunday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.
When is the best time of year to volunteer in Thailand?
Feedback from elephant sanctuary volunteers often suggests that it is best to join a PMGY project outside the European summer months. This is since June-August tends to be when we have peak numbers at each of our projects and accommodations. Conversely, outside of these months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed in the project and within the local community.
Are there any age restrictions to be a volunteer in Thailand?
In order to join as an elephant volunteer in Thailand, you need to be at least 18 on the program start date (or 14 years old with parents). Generally, the average age range of participants is 18-25.
There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome participants of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 18-25 age range.
When should I apply to be an elephant volunteer in Thailand?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 45 days prior to your start date.
What duration would you recommend to volunteering for?
Based on feedback from previous elephant volunteers in Thailand, we believe that 4-6 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer in Thailand. Consequently, this means you have enough time to integrate into the local community and really get involved in a project. For one thing, you will be able to make a positive impact on community development. Additionally, you will have a greater opportunity to explore during your weekends. Elephant sanctuary volunteers who join us for 2 weeks frequently tell us that this was long enough and wish they had stayed for longer!
For those looking to potentially join us for a longer period, we recommend checking out our Encounter Programs that offer a 2-4 week stay across 3-10 destinations.
Can I volunteer abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer with elephants for the same project. However, please note the majority of our accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our participants work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, participants safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer with elephants programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our participants are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international participants. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist participants 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join the Thailand elephant program, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international participants to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the volunteer with elephants program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my volunteer program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place as an elephant volunteer in Thailand, you need to pay a deposit of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 45 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge. If you’re applying within 45 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Payments made in advance of the 45 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I use the elephant program as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to be a volunteer with elephants in Thailand as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that the Thailand elephant sanctuary volunteer program will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.
First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after elephant sanctuary volunteers have confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in Thailand can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Can I fundraise for my volunteer trip?
With PMGY, the money our participants pay goes towards the structure you receive on the Thailand volunteer program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY participants decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that elephant sanctuary volunteers set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for participants to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore together, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For elephant volunteers in Thailand looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide volunteers in Thailand with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
For elephant sanctuary volunteers who have already confirmed their volunteering role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my volunteer work?
It is possible that as an elephant volunteer in Thailand, you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your work in Thailand. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to volunteer in Thailand?
When you apply to be an elephant volunteer in Thailand, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place on volunteer work with elephants in Thailand has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
How do I obtain a background check?
To become an elephant sanctuary volunteer, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the participants we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check, then you will need to apply for one. UK participants need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place as an elephant sanctuary volunteer.
For elephant sanctuary volunteers from the US, you can apply for a background check through Sentry Link. It costs 19.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
All volunteers in Thailand will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare as an elephant volunteer in Thailand. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Zoom, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options on the Thailand volunteer program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our Thailand elephant sanctuary volunteer program.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed as an elephant volunteer in Thailand. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our participants to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide volunteers in Thailand with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code at the projects?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our participants adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Thailand.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our participants, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as an elephant volunteer in Thailand can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as an elephant volunteer in Thailand, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates on either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to work within. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. This is since we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering, as you have made a commitment as an participant in Thailand.
On the Thailand volunteer program, you will live in one of our Volunteer Houses. All houses are located on the same campus. The accommodation is based in the region of Phetchaburi, in southern Thailand. Housing is based on the same grounds as the elephant conservation project rather than in a town. However, there are nearby villages in walking distance for convenience stores. There is also a small shop on the same site as the project that sells snacks, drinks and souvenirs.
As a volunteer in Thailand, you will be living with other international participants. Volunteers in Thailand stay in European style, concrete and brick bungalows. Each room houses on average 2-3 people. The rooms are usually single-sex, however, there can be exceptions for couples, friends and families if requested enough time in advance. Fresh linen is provided weekly during your stay on the experience. Bathrooms at the accommodation are communal, with a western-style toilet and shower. Each room has its own fan.
There is free Wi-Fi in certain areas across the main project base. This can be intermittent, therefore volunteers in Thailand should also purchase a local SIM card in-country to use with an unlocked mobile phone. Throughout the accommodation, there are two main communal areas for international participants to relax and socialise. This is also where the volunteer work is coordinated each morning. There is a local laundry service available at the accommodation. Alternatively, there is some but limited space to perform hand-washing. Individuals on a volunteer trip to Thailand are recommended to bring a small padlock. Any valuables can be stored with our local team, however, participants are encouraged to only bring essential items during their volunteer work in Thailand. There is fridge space within the accommodation for participants to cool items they need to keep chilled. Please note that power cuts are fairly commonplace in Thailand although they tend not to last more than a couple of hours.
The Volunteer Houses are located on the same grounds as our local coordinators. Although they will not be based within the houses, they are accessible if needed. Our accommodation is on the same grounds as our volunteer placement. However, the centre covers acres of land. This means that when your project is not in walking distance from the accommodation, our local team will transport you to and from the project each day. The cost of this service is included in your Program Fee.
During your volunteer trip to Thailand, all your meals are provided and are prepared by the local team. Meals are predominantly traditional and local Thai cuisine. Our team clearly label meat, vegetarian and vegan options. There are some western meals provided on a weekly basis. Filtered water is available at the accommodation free of charge.
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed. This means that there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 45 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.
If you’re applying within 45 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 45 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME - 45 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Thailand works as follows -
🇰🇪 Kenya - 57 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Thailand and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India - 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don't have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA - 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.