Volunteer with amazing Elephants at the Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary
Experience the beautiful Cambodian culture while volunteering with magnificent elephants in the Mondulkiri Jungle!
Trek into the jungle to observe the elephants in their natural habitat and participate in elephant research and care, while also assisting in the conservation of protected jungle and upkeep of the sanctuary. Volunteer and stay in a private traditional style bungalow or shared dormitory room in rural Sen Monorom, Eastern Cambodia, for a life changing experience!
This programme provides an unforgettable rural experience for volunteers who wish to help rescued elephants that are recuperating from their previous work lives of exploitation in logging and tourism elephant rides.
This is done by taking a hands-off approach to the elephants and a hands-on approach to education and welfare improvement, working as much with the local community as with the elephants.
Join us at one of our most popular and adventurous volunteer programmes!
The Project: The Elephant Sanctuary is 650 hectares of mountainous, forested terrain and provides a safe haven where elephants come out of work to rest and recuperate. This is done by taking a hands off approach to the elephants and a hands-on approach to education and welfare improvement, working as much with the local community as with the magnificent elephants.
Project Location: The elephant sanctuary is based near the town of Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri province, eastern Cambodia, near the border of Vietnam. The elephant conservation project is located a few kilometres from the town in a protected area of forest.
Main Volunteer Activities: Observing the elephants in their natural habitat, participating in elephant research and care, conservation of protected jungle and upkeep of the sanctuary.
Hours: Volunteers work from Mon to Fri, with weekends free for relaxing or sightseeing in this undiscovered corner of Cambodia.
Duration: Volunteer placements are year-round and for 1 to 12 weeks.
Accommodation: Private traditional style bungalow or shared dormitory rooms.
Volunteer Requirements: Volunteers at this project must be aged 18+ and have reasonable English. A moderate level of fitness is required as volunteers spend at least half of the day hiking mountainous terrain through the forest, which includes water crossings.
Volunteer Placement Fee: From UK£525/ US$680
The elephants of Cambodia need help. There is little education on the care of captive elephants and few possibilities of veterinary assistance when required.
The sanctuary provides vital jobs to the local indigenous population that cares for their elephants. Mondulkiri is being rapidly deforested and the project protects an area of "elephant forest" for the local population and the creatures that inhabit the area. The basic fact is the more funding that can be raised, the more forest and wild elephant population can be protected.
The Elephant Sanctuary is as much about people as it is about elephants. Without secure employment for an elephant's mahout, an elephant is essentially at risk.
Only a few years ago there was enough forest in Mondulkiri for a mahout to just let his elephant wander around, with little more than a leg binding or a drag chain, but this is not the case anymore. A mahout now has to tend to his elephant regularly to stop damage to a neighbour's crops or injury from a criminal or poacher. Without regular employment and income there is little incentive for proper and correct care in modern Cambodia.
This inspirational project also works to provide the families of mahouts and the local community with a stable future through assisting them with education and medical care.
How the project is helping
Why the project need volunteers
The Elephant Sanctuary is a place where mahouts can go to work, earn an income and look after their elephants in a way that keeps the elephants best interests at heart.
To help pay for this the project welcomes volunteers who can immerse themselves in the simple yet amazing daily routine of the elephants and mahouts. Long after volunteers have left, thanks to your visit the project can continue paying wages, buying rice and foodstuffs, fuel and bananas and letting the lovely elephants rest in forest that is dedicated solely to their use.
There is always a range of tasks to be carried out by volunteers and you will work with our local staff on some or all of the following:
- Learning about the sanctuary and the elephants.
- Observing elephants in their natural habitat.
- Walking with the elephants into the forest to forage.
- Watch elephants bathe themselves in the river, or help at a washing station (September to November) depending on the availability of water sources.
- Participate in elephant feeding habit research or vet care checks.
- Work to improve the living conditions of the elephants and to grow food for them.
- Help to improve the elephant sanctuary by maintaining banana plantations, doing light construction work, planting seedlings and maintaining pathways.
Taking the elephants to the river to bathe and watching them enjoy being elephants has to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the volunteering experience.
Volunteers cut the banana plants, a favourite food of the elephants!
Volunteer helping measure an elephant for their regular medical checks.
Please note that activities are seasonal and will depend on weather conditions, availability of water, river levels and other factors.
The first night’s accommodation is in Phnom Penh on Saturday night where you will be able to meet other volunteers. The rooms are clean and comfortable with private bathroom.
At the project, volunteers stay in large individual lodges constructed in the traditional Bunong style with western style furniture, including toilet and shower. Volunteers who want a cheaper option can choose shared dormitory accommodation on their application form.
Free Time in Mondulkiri
Mondulkiri is renowned for its village visits and some of the largest waterfalls in Cambodia.
Trekking forms the backbone of tourist activities in Sen Monorom, with incredible waterfalls, valleys and views all within easy reach of the town.
Mondulkiri province is home to the Bunong People, the largest indigenous highland ethnic group in Cambodia
|The most affordable way to volunteer and experience the elephants! A perfect option for groups and families that want to volunteer together, or if you’re traveling alone, a great way to meet people and make new friends from around the world!|
|Want a rural experience but with more privacy? We have you covered with the option of your own private bungalow! End the day relaxing in your own bungalow with the option of hanging out in the common areas with the other volunteers!|
Included in your volunteering trip in addition to 5 nights of accommodation at the sanctuary is 1 Full Day with elephants and then the other 4 days split between volunteer activities and elephant visits. Volunteers also receive all meals beginning with dinner on Sunday until lunch on Friday.
You will receive return transportation from Sen Monorom to the Elephant Sanctuary as well as all the necessary project equipment, training, induction and in-country support from experienced English speaking project staff.
As a UK charity, Globalteer only works with ethical and responsible partners. These value additions are part of our social enterprise efforts to support our projects and charitable objectives.
Want to enjoy your trip and be stress free before volunteering? Leave the planning to us and let us arrange your travels to the sanctuary from Phnom Penh!
Additions at no extra cost:
√ Free airport pick-up arranged
√ One night in a guest house in Phnom Penh
√ Road transfer from Phnom Penh to Mondulkiri
√ Accommodation at a guest house in Sen Monorom during the weekends for volunteers that stay longer than 1 week.
√ Transfer back to Phnom Penh
√ Cambodia orientation guide
If you need to arrange additional nights in Phnom Penh before or after your volunteering then please ask our knowledgeable staff to assist you with the arrangements!
Family and Group Pricing
Looking to volunteer with elephants in Cambodia as a family? We love for children and families to visit the elephants as well as learn about the sanctuary’s conservation efforts! Children 15 years and under receive a 50% discount! Please let us know if you have any questions regarding volunteering with your family and we will gladly assist you and your planning!
Do you have a group of friends or work colleagues that you would love to volunteer with? We enjoy assisting groups in volunteering with elephants and can make arrangements for group accommodations! Please let us know if you have any questions or inquiries regarding group volunteering and we will happily assist with the group discount prices!
As a UK registered Charity, Globalteer is required to be financially transparent to our donors. You can therefore see a full breakdown of where your money goes and our independently audited accounts by clicking below:
To discover why you should consider choosing Globalteer, please visit the following page:
Why do we charge a fee for volunteering?
Globalteer requests a donation from volunteers to allow us to achieve our charitable objectives and support our partner programmes. In return, Globalteer provides volunteers with an amazing, responsible and ethical volunteer experience. Ensuring that your placement is responsible as well as rewarding, safe and enjoyable takes a good deal of work.
A summary of Globalteer’s total expenditure for the last financial year is shown below:
Donations and Grants 60% – This includes a share of volunteer placement fees, grants we have secured for our projects and donations managed by Globalteer that are made by individuals and groups to our projects and partner projects.
Support Costs 29% – This includes volunteer accommodation, volunteer transport, support staff costs, travel costs and some volunteer meals.
Operational Costs 11% – Costs of running Globalteer.
What’s not included
- Medical and travel insurance
What do everyday items cost?
The official currency of Cambodia is the Riel, however, all shops and market stalls accept US$ and you may be given small change in local currency ($1 = 4000 Riels). Be aware that dollar bills with any tears or markings are generally not accepted. ATMs dispense cash in US$. The cost of living in Cambodia is very low compared to most countries in the developed world. The costs of some typical items are:
- Short journey by tuk-tuk - $1 to $2
- Meal in a market - $1
- Bottle of soft drink - $0.50 to $1
- Draft beer - $0.50 to $2
- Meal in a restaurant - $4 to $25
“I would definitely recommend this project - it's a once in a lifetime experience!”
Elise, Teacher, UK
Volunteer rated at
(5 / 5)