Thailand Wildlife Sanctuary Fact File
General factsCountry 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
The LocationThe 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 wildlife sanctuary is in basic bungalows, where rooms are mostly on a share basis. The bungalows have fans, western style, manual flush toilets and cold showers. At the front of the centre is a communal area with computers and kitchen.
Volunteers have access to free hot drinks, filtered water, bread, jam and other essentials. Two main meals are prepared by the cook, Thai and occasionally western meals also catering to vegetarians and vegans. Evenings can be spent watching DVDs, relaxing with a book or socializing with fellow volunteers.
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.
Daily Volunteer ScheduleVolunteers work a 6 day week, the amount of hours worked depend upon the amount of volunteers and current needs at the sanctuary.
A typical volunteer schedule would be:
Start your day at 6.30am
Breakfast from 8 to 9am
Lunch at noon
Workday ends at approximately 5pm
Dinner at 6.30pm
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.
Extra ActivitiesIf volunteering for 8 weeks or more, you will be given three days off work to join the "Elephant sanctuary". You will walk with the domesticated elephants into the forest, take them for bathing and help collect their food. This sanctuary gives refuge to domesticated elephants that have been roaming the streets of Bangkok and other cities.
You can help out in the future caring for these beautiful creatures in cooperation with professional mahouts (elephant handlers). The elephants are walked, washed and fed daily to provide them with a comfortable and safe environment, they even sleep in an open environment to provide an atmosphere as close to their wild relatives as possible.
Sunday night is market night in the local village where you can try a variety of Thai foods from the street stalls or shop for cheap bargains.
The rescue project is on temple grounds and therefore you can see authentic Thai temples and even a 15 metre long laying Buddha, all close to the sanctuary.
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. Occasionally volunteers get together and hire a taxi into the local jungle. Overnight camping, treks and visiting the waterfalls in a rarely visited parks is an unforgettable experience that is highly recommended. You can see a variety of animals, birds, insects and amazing vegetation.
The Globalteer DifferenceThese days there are a great many opportunities to volunteer overseas, but not all organisations are the same.
Watch our short video presentation to see what makes Globalteer different from your average volunteering organisation!
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 any questions about volunteering with wildlife in Thailand? Try our Thailand Wildlife Sanctuary Frequently Asked Questions.
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.
BuddhismThe predominant religion in Thailand is Buddhism. Buddhism is a rather flexible religion which teaches that nothing is eternal and everything in the world is subject to change, only aging, sickness and death are certain and unavoidable. Buddhism has no unique creed, no single authority, no single sacred book. It focuses on the potential of the individual to obtain enlightenment or “nirvana”. Buddhism was founded from the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, born in 566BC on the Indian - Nepalese border. He was from a privileged and wealthy family but became disillusioned with his life and left home to embark upon a life of wandering on a spiritual quest. As he sat meditating under a tree he had a profound experience called Bodhi or “awakening”. He had a deep understanding of the nature of suffering, its cause and a way of stopping it. The Lord Buddha then devoted his life to teaching the way to cease suffering. By his death at the age of 80 he had a considerable following and a well organised community. The eightfold path teaches the moral principals that all Buddhist should practice. Following this path helps a person realize that greed and selfishness cause all earthly suffering, with this understanding ones own suffering may end. Buddhism is a very peaceful religion that teaches morality, meditation and wisdom. Conservation of nature and wildlife as well as animal welfare, compassion with all living creatures is an important part of Buddhism.
To find out more about conservation in Asia, visit our page about the Thailand Wildlife Sanctuary.
A Brief History of Thailand
Founded in the thirteenth century, the Kingdom of Thailand was known until 1939 as Siam. Referred to as Siamese, the people of Thailand are now called "Thai", which itself mean 'Free', Thailand being "The Land of The Free."
If we trace the origins of the Thai we find their ancestors were a people of southern China called T'ai who slowly migrated throughout the area, some settling in what is now northern Thailand and establishing a fledgling Thai kingdom at Payao in 1096.
Spurred by the Mongol conquest of China, the northern Thai kingdoms grew in size and numbers, with Lanna Thai and Sukhothai becoming especially important. Mengrai, a tribal leader who founded Lanna Thai, " A Million Rice Fields", named his Chiang Mai city which still today serves as a bastion of traditional Thai ways.
Meanwhile sukhothai rose to pre-eminence under King Ramkhamhaeng who is thought to have invented the Thai writing system and established the basis of the Thai nation. By the 14th century the seat of power was transferred to Ayutthaya under King Ramathibodi. The Ayutthaya period was to last for some four hundred years, during which time the organization of government and a strong tradition of art and literature were firmly established. The Portuguese, who were especially influential as traders, also introduced firearm technology.
Ayutthaya finally fell to the Burmese in 1569. The young Prince Naresuan taken by the invaders, returned to defeat his formers captors and to rebuild and expand the kingdom of Ayutthaya.
Sadly Ayutthaya, then rich in culture and with a strong economy, fell for the second time to the rapacious Burmese who, in 1767, burned the city to the ground, and took thousands of prisoners as slave labour. Their reign was however, short-lived. Under the inspired leadership of General Phya Taksin, The Thais once again drove out the Burmese and re-established the capital at Thonburi on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river.
Taksin's mental health ultimately deteriorated, and when he was finally put to death, his successor, King Rama I, founded his new capital on the opposite bank of the river in 1782 at a small trading centre called "Krung Thep". In Thai the words mean "City of Angel" and refers to what is generally today, called Bangkok. The derivation of the word "Bangkok" gets a little tricky here. It stems from the transliteration district where Krung Thep was situated, "Ban-gog" or "Bang-magog" - a place full of olive trees.
Earlier, from 1809 to 1851, during the reigns of Rama II and Rama III, Bangkok developed rapidly with the whole country benefiting from the opening up of international trade.
King Mongkut, Rama IV, who reigned from 1851-1868, initiated the modernization of state institutions and dialogue with Western nations. His successor King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, expanded the process and maintained Thailand's independence. His reign, from 1869-1910, is considered by many to have been one of the most important in recent Thai history.
King Vajiravudh, Rama VI who succeeded King Chulalongkorn and reigned from 1910-1925, continued the reform process with the introduction of compulsory education. He also aligned Thailand with the allies in World War Two. His successor, King Prajadhipok, Rama VII,1925-1935, was to be the last of the absolute monarchs.
After a bloodless revolution in 1932 which changed the system to a constitutional monarchy, King Prajadhipok, abdicated and lived for six years in exile in England. On his death, his nephew, King Ananda ascended to the throne. When the young King Ananda died in tragic circumstances in 1946, he was succeeded by his brother, Thailand's much loved present day monarch, His majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His majesty is the longest reining monarch in the world today.
Why not read about previous volunteers stories at the wildlife sanctuary.