Thailand Fact File for the Elephant Sanctuary
Location of the Elephant SanctuaryThe centre is part of a larger wildlife project incorporating both an elephant & wildlife rescue project and an education centre. The project is located 160km south of Bangkok in the Petchaburi province. The centre is built on temple grounds which are generously donated by the local Abbot - Conservation of nature and wildlife as well as animal welfare, compassion with all living creatures is an important part of Buddhism. The local village is called Kao Look Chang and has internet access, shops and bars. It is a small village unaffected by tourism like many places in Thailand, so you will be able to experience authentic Thai culture and lifestyle.
The centre is next to a beautiful lake, surrounded by dense forest and near some of Thailand's least visited National Parks. Cha Am is around 40 minutes away by car, it has a sandy beach, many bars, shops and restaurants. Cha Am's tourist are mostly Thais who travel from Bangkok to visit the nearest beautiful beach. Volunteers can visit the town on evenings to frequent the restaurants and bars, as well as shopping trips to the night market.
Days off in the town can be spent on the beach and cheap accommodation can be found throughout the town. Hua Hin is less than an hour from the centre and is busier and livelier than Cha Am. The town has a sandy beach, nightclubs, bars, restaurants and many shops as well as cheap accommodation for overnight stays. Hua Hin is frequented by foreign tourists, and volunteers can find most of their needs catered for here.
AccommodationThe accommodation at the centre is in clean but basic bungalows and rooms most often are shared. The bungalows have comfortable beds, fans, western style toilets with a manual flush and cold showers. On site you will find a communal area for eating, a small bar and kitchen.
Volunteers have access to free hot drinks, filtered water, bread, jam and other essentials. Two main meals, Thai and occasionally Western food are prepared by the cook. Vegetarians, vegans and those with food allergies can be accommodated. Evenings can be spent watching DVD's, relaxing with a book or socializing with fellow volunteers.
Getting to the projectThe nearest airport to this project is Bangkok, Thailand (Airport code BKK).
To help you find the best air fares Globalteer has formed a partnership with a division of The Flight Centre Group who will tailor make your travel arrangements for you at a competitive price.
You can contact them for a free, no obligation travel quote by calling 0844 560 9944 from within the UK, or if you are outside the UK you can call +44(0)203 056 1146. Make sure you mention Globalteer when you call and if you do purchase your travel through them, Globalteer will receive a small donation. However, don’t forget that it’s up to you to make sure your travel arrangements are right for you and your project.
Visas for Thailand
Most nationalities receive a free 30 day visa on arrival in Thailand. A passport with at least 6 months validity is required. For longer stays you will most likely need to arrange a visa from your home country with the Thai Consulate or travel agency. Note: As visa requirements can change and are different for nationalities, it is the volunteers responsibility to arrange entry visas. You only need a tourist visa, as volunteer work does not require a business visa. It is better not to confuse immigration officers by telling them you are working, as volunteer work does not require a special visa, just state you are visiting Thailand for tourism. Once your visa expires you must leave Thailand and re-enter to get another visa.
Got a question about volunteering with elephants in Thailand? Try our Thailand Elephant Sanctuary Frequently Asked Questions
Climate in Thailand
Thailand is sub tropical and has three seasons.
1. March to June, hot and dry.
2. July to October, hot and wet.
3. November to February, cool and dry.
The hot season rarely reaches above 37C and the cool season may go as low as 20C. The monsoon can mean 1 to 2 hours of rain in the afternoon making them easy to plan around, and with long periods of no rain.
The official currency is the Thai Baht.
Local transport: Tuk-tuk ~ less than 50 Baht for short trips Taxi ~ 15 minute fare approximately 150 to 250 Baht
Food: Meal at market ~ Less than 60 Baht
Meal in restaurant ~ 200 Baht
touch: Internet cafes ~ 50 Baht per hour Telephone calls ~ approximately 6 Baht per minute to most Western countries. If you are spending a long time in Thailand then many people bring their own mobile cellular phone and purchase a sim card locally for around 200 Baht, making text messages a very affordable and versatile option for communicating.
Post offices are located in Cha Am and Hua Hin.
Money: You will need enough cash for your needs whilst at the centre as there are no banks or ATMs in Kao Look Chang.
ATMs can be found in Cha Am or Hua Hin.
Travellers cheques are also a good option in Thailand. Visa withdrawal and money transfer facilities can be found in Cha Am and Hua Hin.
Laundry services are available at the centre for around 10 Baht per item.
Health and Safety
The project has a basic first aid kit for minor injuries.
Emergency services - Kao Look Chang has a police station, nurse and chemist. A 15 minute drive away is a hospital capable of handling emergencies and illness. Bangkok has international standard hospitals.
Embassies - All international embassies are located in the capital of Bangkok.
Daily schedule at the Elephant SanctuaryVolunteers work closely with the Mahouts on a 6 day week. The working day starts early and can be long but there are many breaks throughout the day to relax or hang out with the elephants.
An example of a typical day:
Start your day at 6.30am
Get breakfast from 8-9am
Lunch at noon
Workday ends approximately 5pm
Dinner at 6.30pm
Here is an example of some of the work you will do with the elephants:
• Cleaning the elephants’ paddocks each morning and evening.
• Washing the elephants in their paddocks with hoses and brushes, depending on the schedule.
• Collecting the elephants’ dung and food waste for composting.
• Walking the elephants to the lake or into the forest to forage.
• Collecting fruits for their big appetites, and harvesting banana trees, sugar cane, pineapple or corn for fodder.
• Learning all about these gentle giants, and performing basic daily health checks on the elephants.
• Taking care of the domestic animals at the centre, including Sam, the rescued beach pony and the dogs.
These are only examples of what your daily activities may be. The elephant sanctuary is continually evolving and the needs of the elephants may change before or during your stay. Rest assured we are very flexible with volunteers’ personal needs, but we do require the same flexibility in return as the elephants are the top priority.
Please be aware that harvesting pineapple plants, banana trees and corn for fodder is essential and regular work for volunteers. This involves chopping and dragging plants and trees over rough ground. Some heavy lifting is involved, which can be quite tiring work in the heat. It is essential that you wear appropriate clothing (sun hat, gloves long sleeves and trousers) and sturdy footwear for this task, pace yourself, and drink plenty of water.
Extra ActivitiesDays off can be spent at the beach in Cha Am or Hua Hin which are less than an hour away. Cha Am is a quiet resort frequented mostly by Thais whilst Hua Hin is busier and has many western tourists. You can find great shopping opportunities (especially on market days), great nightlife and a variety of restaurants at both resorts.
On Monday mornings and Friday and Sunday nights, you can find the market in the local village where you can try a variety of Thai foods from the street stalls or shop for cheap bargains. The centre itself is on temple grounds and therefore you can see authentic Thai temples and even a 15 metre long laying Buddha, all close to the centre.
Visit the local village to get an experience that very few foreigners get. The village is just a 5 minute walk from the centre but is not frequented by tourists, so you get a unique insight into true Thai culture unaffected by the huge influx of tourists that the rest of Thailand experiences.
Camping in the National park is an additional activity you can enjoy. Occasionally volunteers get together and hire a taxi into the National park. Overnight camping, treks and visiting the waterfalls in a rarely visited National park is an unforgettable experience that is highly recommended. You can see a variety of animals, birds, insects and amazing vegetation.
General facts about ThailandCountry name: Kingdom of Thailand (formerly Siam)
Area: 517,000 sq km
Terrain: mostly low, flat plains; mountains in the north
Population: 65 million
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22%, 15-64 years: 70%, 65 years and over: 8%
Life expectancy at birth: 69 years
Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Religions: Theravada Buddhist 95%, Muslim 5%
Literacy: 93% of population
Capital: Bangkok (pop 8.5 million)
Government type: Democratic constitutional monarchy
International airports: Bangkok & Phuket
Currency : Thai Baht
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