Volunteer to Help Elephants at Ethical Sanctuaries in Thailand or Cambodia!
Want an Elephant Experience that doesn't cause harm or suffering to these gentle giants? Well we have great news for you. You can still meet elephants without riding them or seeing them perform. Instead volunteer to help care for elephants that have been rescued from a life of hard work & suffering!
Volunteer to Help Elephants Abroad
Travelling to Asia can conjure up dreams of getting up close to some beautiful Elephants. However, you don't want to support Elephant Riding or performances; so what can you do if you still want fulfill your dream of getting up close to some beautiful Elephants? Well we have good news for you! You can still have an elephant encounter without riding them or seeing them perform! Instead you can volunteer to help care for elephants that have been rescued from a life of hard work and suffering.
With Globalteer you can volunteer with Elephants at Ethical Sanctuaries in Thailand or Cambodia. The sanctuaries are home to rescued Elephants that come from hard lives (in the entertainment & tourism industry, logging or elephant camps). The sanctuaries now provide them with a life as close as possible to their wild relatives. Additionally, they focus on education, conservation an how to protect elephants remaining in the wild.
An Ethical & Responsible Elephant Encounter
As a UK Charity, Globalteer does not support elephant riding or elephant performances which are common in Asia. So you won't find these at the sanctuaries; but you will still get up close to these gentle giants when volunteering with them! The sanctuaries Globalteer work with put the elephants first! Volunteers are there to help them have a carefree life free from the burden of work.
Your elephant experience will have you working alongside elephant keepers! You will assist with tasks such as walking the elephants into the forest to forage and bathe. Volunteers also feed the elephants and help carry out health checks to ensure they remain healthy and happy. In additional to this you will also help plant and harvest food for the elephants and carry out general maintenance tasks around the sanctuaries so the elephants can have the best life possible!
See our available elephant sanctuaries below for more information! Or fill in the contact form and we'll send you everything you need to know about how to have your own amazing Elephant Experience!
Volunteer to Help Elephants Abroad
Lets Get Started in your Journey Volunteering with Elephants!
- Katharine Hughes
I think it speaks volumes for the quality and impact of the experience, that I returned for a second trip! I first volunteered at Picaflor House Children's Community Project in... read more Peru in 2014, as a solo traveller, staying in Cusco for two months. I think it speaks volumes for the quality and impact of the experience, that I returned for a second trip at the end of last year - this time for just two weeks, but with my husband, as part of a wider trip through South America. Two very different visits, but both equally rewarding and life-changing. During my first trip, I met with a wide variety of lovely volunteers from all over the world, some of whom I am still in touch with today. In contrast, on our recent trip, we were the only volunteers. However, this allowed us to sample a broad range of experience at the project, and the opportunity to take more responsibility - we got to run two days worth of Art lessons which was great fun, and a real eye-opener, especially for my husband, who had no previous classroom experience. The volunteering at Picaflor is very flexible - our individual skills were used to their best advantage. I focussed on the English classes, using my language and communication training to the full, and my husband worked in the Nursery class, supporting the children to develop their social and practical skills (and honing his fledgling Spanish). In addition, on my first much longer trip, I was able to take the odd day off, enabling me to take in the local art and culture by visiting places of interest further afield. Picaflor House is a really valuable resource for Oropesa. It provides occupation and fun for the children in the afternoon after their school day finishes, allowing parents to work full days, and provides extra academic support, especially with English - particularly important as it enables the children to get better jobs when they leave school. The children at Picaflor are extremely lively (expect more noise, and less formal seated activity than in your average British school), but on both trips we particularly enjoyed the sporting days (as did the children!) on Fridays when everybody came together to play volleyball, football, and to skip, play on the swings and slide, and to dig in the sandpit - Chris enjoyed a particularly muscle-building day breaking up and raking the sand for the children, and I enjoyed a spot of gardening - as I said the experience was very varied! The regular, permanent staff at Picaflor are particularly supportive. We were prepared well in advance - I particularly needed this reassurance on my first trip alone, and even though on my second trip, I knew where everything was, we were confident that we could still access any extra help if needed. As a couple, we received an especially warm welcome on my return, and would definitely consider a third visit in the future. I would highly recommend Picaflor to future volunteers 🙂 read less2/28/2018
- Fiona Mehmet
It was a huge eye opener and I would do it again in a heartbeat! I volunteered with Globalteer in Cambodia last year and I... read more had an amazing experience. Every member of the team there were so hospitable and friendly, that it made it feel like a home from home. I worked on two projects, building waterfilters and the women's empowerment program, where we made intricate products with the locals from plastic bags! It was a huge eye opener and I would do it again in a heartbeat! read less1/16/2018
- Diego Alonso
Had a great time and was happy to support such a worthwhile project. Having done lots of research on volunteer projects, I decided... read more that this program was the best for me. Globalteer was different to the other organisations, they are a registered charity so I felt straight away that I had some trust in them. They did not disappoint, I had a great time and was happy to support such a worthwhile project. read less11/13/2017
- Jessica Robinson
Well organised, really helpful and welcoming staff. I had an amazing experience volunteering with Globalteer earlier this... read more year. Well organised, really helpful and welcoming staff and a great range of really worthwhile and sustainable projects! Definitely recommend!!! read less1/12/2018
- A.N. Barry
I would most definitely recommend Globalteer to anyone who is interested in volunteering. My experience with Globalteer was amazing and I've volunteered with... read more them two years in a row now in Siem Reap. The staff are incredible and very accommodating which definitely made the idea of travelling to a new country alone a lot less daunting. The projects they have really immerse you into Cambodian culture as you're working with locals so you get the opportunity to really see how the Khmer live. Siem Reap itself is a wonderful town with plenty of restaurants, local and western, and an endless list of things to do. I would most definitely recommend Globalteer to anyone who's interested in volunteering. read less1/14/2018
- Anna Von Foerster
The Globalteer staff was extremely friendly, helpful, and made me feel right at home. One of the best experiences I've ever had! The Globalteer... read more staff was extremely friendly, helpful, and made me feel right at home. Whenever there was an event going on, they always made me feel included. Such an amazing experience helping animals and being in such a great city. read less6/30/2017
- Mark Catling
Could not fault the hard work these people put in to support people less fortunate than myself. Great experience in Peru, couldn't fault the hard work these... read more people put in to support people less fortunate than myself. No ones perfect but all you can do is your best. Thanks guys read less6/30/2017
- Eva Deix
I felt very much taken care of and I met amazing people who worked on other Globalteer projects. Coming from a country with very few organisations that offer... read more international volunteering jobs (Austria), I had to trust online reviews from other volunteers when I tried to find a suitable project for my sabbatical. And in my research, Globalteer was described as a very reliable organisation which offers an authentic insight into the countries where it operates. As a volunteer of the Cambodia Community Project for 4 weeks where I worked as a teacher in the rural Helping Hands Cambodia School outside of Siem Reap, I can only say that I had made the best choice. Everyting worked out perfectly - all my questions were answered promptly before my stay, I felt very much taken care of during the project and I met amazing people who worked on other Globalteer projects and they have all become an important part of my life. I think my teaching job out there in the country couldn't have given me a better insight into the life of this young country. I feel very much connected with the teachers and especially these fantastic kids that I met and since my return I have been following all their projects very closely. Should you want to know more about my volunteering experience with Globalteer, you can visit my blog, which you find if you google for: evaoff4abit.wordpress read less1/14/2018
- Holly Bygrave
The whole experience was fantastic from start to finish. All the Globalteer staff made me feel really welcome. I spent a couple of weeks volunteering at the Helping... read more Hands School just outside Siem Reap. The whole experience was fantastic from start to finish. All the Globalteer staff made me feel really welcome and were always on hand to answer any questions. The school itself was really well run and the kids were brilliant to work with. It felt like such a worthwhile way to spend my holiday. Will definitely be going back! read less7/26/2018
- Jess Robinson
If you’re considering getting involved, just do it! I guarantee you won’t regret it. I had an AMAZING experience volunteering on two different projects... read more with Globalteer. You really get to experience life in a completely different culture, whilst making a significant difference to the projects and local communities. The Globalteer staff are all so helpful and welcoming, and the little things like being picked up from the airport and being shown around the local area made my trip so much easier, and meant I settled in straight away. If you’re considering getting involved, just do it! I guarantee you won’t regret it. read less1/12/2018
- burcu eren
Wish others would also be as lucky as I am to have such an amazing experience! I can’t stop talking & thinking about this amazing experience... read more I had! I volunteered with Picaflor House in November 2018 for couple of weeks Globalteer team put children into their heart and they direct you accordingly during your volunteer program. The kids are amazing, teachers are so helpful and everything is so well organized that you don’t have anything to worry about. Wish others would also find the opportunity and be as lucky as I am to have such an amazing experience! Thanks much for this great experience read less1/10/2019
- Hercules Moriarty
The staff working there are dedicated but also good fun. What an amazing experience! We spent a week with this... read more incredible sanctuary in August 2018. The passion for the animals in the care of this rescue sanctuary is genuine and heartfelt. The staff working there dedicated but also good fun. Loved the interactions with the monkeys, deer, and birds and building the monkey house for the howlers, I hope they enjoy it for many years to come. I strongly recommend anyone who is visiting Peru and wants to genuinely help wild animals to be returned back to their natural habitat to spend time here. read less9/22/2018
- Hope Wilson
I met a fab group of people and they made the trip even better! I had the best time volunteering, especially with a background... read more in childcare I found this an amazing experience and highly recommend to anyone who is thinking about doing it. I met a fab group of people and they made the trip even better! The people who support you from Globalteer keep you informed and are always there through-out your trip and I hope to come back in the near future! read less1/16/2018
- PICKLE SMART
If you go there, you would definitely love it. I stayed in Picaflor House for like one month and... read more a half. I really really appreciate everything they've done for the kids, and what I have learned from them. They are so happy, so pure, and so cute. If you go there, you would definitely love it. If you are wondering where you should go for volunteering, especially for those who love kids, Picaflor is the best choice, and Cusco is one of your best destinations. You would not regret it. read less8/31/2019
- Katrina Baxter
Anyone wanting to volunteer I would 100 percent recommend Globalteer!!!! I had the pleasure of volunteering with Globalteer at Picaflor... read more House. From the Moment I arrived I was collected by staff and shown around Cusco. I also got to enjoy the weekly quiz nights with staff from globalteer. The staff went out of there way to make me feel welcome. I had an amazing time at picaflor house. The children were beautiful. Anyone wanting to volunteer I would 100 percent recommend globalteer!!!! read less7/04/2017
- Nathan Crook
Globalteer employ members of staff who themselves have a passion for travelling. Having chosen to spend three-weeks volunteering on a Cambodia Community... read more Project in Siem Reap, a perfect school placement was found, which allowed me to gain one of my most memorable life experiences to date. The regional Globalteer team in Asia managed to find an excellent placement school, which not only allowed me to gain new skills, but also share my teacher training experiences with others. From the moment I landed in Siem Reap, the local Globalteer helped me to settle in, and remained available as a support network, as well as my fellow volunteers. Regular catch-up nights meant that a shared social life was available. Such events facilitated wide-ranging conversations between volunteers who were working on a range of different projects whilst in town. At the same time, space was afforded for each volunteer to shape their own experiences. Globalteer employ members of staff who themselves have a passion for travelling and volunteering, and it’s this methodology that helps create a great experience for their volunteers. It’s therefore my pleasure to highly recommend Globalteer projects to future volunteers. read less1/25/2018
- Peter DiFrancesca
Globalteer were there every step of the way to help facilitate everything. Such a rewarding experience. Candice and Globalteer were there every... read more step of the way to help facilitate everything. Spent 2 weeks at a dog rescue in Cusco, Peru. I highly recommend them! read less7/10/2017
- Ann Quinlivan
It was a life-changing experience for me, one that I will never forget. I absolutely loved my time volunteering in Cambodia with Globalteer!... read more I worked at Helping Hands School in a rural village outside of Siem Reap--very different from my native New York City. Globalteer representatives Jillian and Theavy worked with me to find a placement that allowed me to use my skill set. I am a School Librarian, and I was able to start a lending library with books that had been donated by students at my school in New York. I also assisted with English classes. The Globalteer staff was supportive, and the students and teachers were absolutely amazing. It was a life-changing experience for me, one that I will never forget. read less5/31/2018
- Nick James
Great organisation making a real difference. Great organisation making a real difference in Peru.12/20/2017
- Kayla Lynne Kiteley
This trip was very well organized by Globalteer. I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer with Globalteer at... read more the Northern Thailand Elephant Sanctuary! It was amazing being at this sanctuary and if you love being outdoors with animals then I highly recommend this one. One of the best things about this sanctuary is that you can stay overnight! It is incredible to see the elephants before you turn in for the night and then watch them get bathed in the morning as you eat your breakfast. This trip was very well organized by Globalteer. The sanctuary is small but it gives you the chance to really see the animals in their natural habitat. You can participate in feedings and sit in bungalows out in the jungle and just watch these magnificent creatures. Meals are filling and delicious and I highly recommend staying for a few nights. read less1/25/2018
- Sally Bateman
All the Globalteer staff I have worked with have become friends and I value their support and encouragement. I have volunteered with the Globalteer Cambodia Community Project in... read more 2014 and twice in 2017 and will be returning this year, 2018. It is my home away from home. All the GT staff I've worked with in that time have become friends and I value their support and encouragement. The project itself is amazing and I highly recommend it to anybody who loves kids, is keen to be involved in a sustainable education project and who wants to see and learn about Cambodia village life. The work that Globalteer does will go on to benefit Cambodia and Cambodians for many years to come. read less1/17/2018
- Tiarne Biviano
It was organised so well and I felt so comfortable throughout the whole process. Late last year I was able to spend a month... read more in Peru to volunteer at two of the Globalteer programs- The Dog Shelter in Cusco and The Amazon Wildlife Sanctuary in Puerto Maldonado. It was organised so well and I felt so comfortable throughout the whole process. I was picked up from the airport and the staff made me feel so welcome and at home. Being a young girl in a country like Peru, my family and friends were quite worried at first, as was I, however, I felt safe the entire time. I didn't have to worry one bit about the organisation of both volunteer groups, even though they were on the opposite sides of the country, it was an easy process with the staff being so quick and prompt in replies and helpful when I arrived in Cusco. I genuinely had an incredible time with so many life lessons and learning experiences taught throughout the trip. Would definitely recommend even if this is your first time overseas alone - as it was mine. read less2/02/2019
- Anna Hilbert
Would highly recommend them to anyone considering volunteering abroad. A wonderful organisation that's truly dedicated to helping the communities... read more they work with. They ensure the volunteers are contributing as much as possible and putting their skills to the best possible use. I had an incredible experience with Globalteer and would highly recommend them to anyone considering volunteering abroad. read less9/30/2019
- Robert Bisson
Each morning I woke up excited and full of energy to meet the other amazing volunteers and start our work! This experience was one of the most rewarding things I... read more have done - it opened my eyes to how other cultures in different countries cope without luxuries that we take for granted each day. I began volunteering with Globalteer on the Clean Water project in Cambodia for 2 weeks. Each week consisted of 3 days of building the water filters and 2 days going to the different villages and giving the water filters to those who needed them. All of the stages were important and I felt like I was really making a real difference. Each morning I woke up excited and full of energy to meet the other amazing volunteers and start our work for the day! I loved going into the villages the most, as you could see how grateful the locals were to receive such an important gift into their lives! After my two weeks of volunteering I managed to get a job with globalteer running the sports project ... yes that is how much I fell in love with Cambodia, the people, the culture and their way of thinking! Globalteer is brilliant and were so hands on with any problem or issue that arose! I have had nothing but positive experiences and will always follow the amazing things they do daily! read less1/12/2018
- Colin Elkington
The most eye-opening and inspiring experiences I have had. My time spent volunteering in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with Globalteer... read more was one of the most eye-opening and inspiring experiences I've had. Volunteering in local schools allowed me to see parts of the area that I wouldn't have been able to as a tourist, and coaching sports to the school children offered me a chance to interact with locals and engage in their culture. Communication with Globalteer leading up to and during my trip was easy and constant. All the staff and volunteers I worked with were very friendly and supportive, always eager to help me out with any issues or concerns I had. Free time during the evenings and weekends allowed me to explore and enjoy what Siem Reap has to offer. I would definitely recommend Globalteer to anyone wishing to immerse themselves in a new culture, step out their comfort zone and make a difference to the local area! read less1/14/2018
- Colin Elkington
All the staff and volunteers I worked with were very friendly and supportive. My time spent volunteering in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with Globalteer... read more was one of the most eye-opening and inspiring experiences I've had. Volunteering in local schools allowed me to see parts of the area that I wouldn't have been able to as a tourist, and coaching sports to the school children offered me a chance to interact with locals and engage in their culture. Communication with Globalteer leading up to and during my trip was easy and constant. All the staff and volunteers I worked with were very friendly and supportive, always eager to help me out with any issues or concerns I had. Free time during the evenings and weekends allowed me to explore and enjoy what Siem Reap has to offer. I would definitely recommend Globalteer to anyone wishing to immerse themselves in a new culture, step out their comfort zone and make a difference to the local area! read less1/13/2018
- Hannah Verity Stone
Everything was well organised from day one and any special requirements were met with ease. Volunteering with Globalteer at Picaflor House was an incredible experience... read more - everything was well organised from day one and any special requirements were met with ease. I can fully recommend volunteering with them to anyone who wishes to spend their time and energy on a worthwhile charity project! read less6/30/2017
- Lauren Franklin
I had an amazing time and look forward to volunteering with Globalteer again in the future! I volunteered with the Peru Community Project out of Cuzco... read more for 5 weeks. I was so impressed with the amazing work they are doing at Picaflor and how well the kids and the community responded to the project. Furthermore, I was grateful for how helpful and welcoming the staff was. I had an amazing time and look forward to volunteering with Globalteer again in the future! read less6/30/2017
- Jeff Bartlett
They are great in every way. I have worked with them twice and I am counting down the days until I return next. Working with Globalteer and Picaflor house is amazing. They're great... read more in every way. I've worked with them during two extended stays in Peru and I'm counting down the days until I return next. read less6/30/2017
Accommodation was perfectly chosen and I made friends for life during my month working there. Learnt so much in an authentic and safe environment. Accomdation... read more was also perfectly chosen and I made friends for life during my month working there. Working hours flexible for a passionate explorer like myself read less2/13/2018
- Geraldine Parkin
The trip has changed my outlook on life and I believe that this is only the start of my volunteering career! Mid-life crisis? Mid-life adventure? It could have been either.....or even... read more a break from the husband! Following retirement from a demanding career in 2014 I had the luxury and freedom to enjoy being a lady that could wine and dine to her heart’s content but deep down I still yearned for a challenge. Then I came across the amazing opportunity, along with a friend, to work with underprivileged children in Cusco, Peru. This was for a month under Globalteer. I was able to be part of an inspirational and holistic after-school project for 70 children aged from 3-14 in a mountain village near Cusco. The project gives free classes and help with homework to underprivileged children, plus a safe place to play, to learn traditional music and dance, to enjoy free fruit, clean drinking water and a nutritious lunch. Once our applications had been accepted and the relevant checks completed I embarked on a fundraising campaign. Individual Just Giving pages were set up and I approached various companies to donate much needed items for the children such as educational books, art supplies, toys and clothing. My local M&S were very supportive and donated underwear and socks. Anxiety, apprehension and anticipation were just some of the feelings experienced but the time to embark on the adventure soon came round and we flew from Heathrow to Cusco via Bogota. The accommodation was in a family ‘homestay’ as we wanted to embrace and immerse ourselves in the culture and be part of a Peruvian family and also to practice the little Spanish I had learnt. In fact there were 11 people in the house in Wanchaq on the outskirts of Cusco. The family were very friendly and welcoming but you soon began to appreciate what you had left behind and not to take anything for granted. Altitude sickness was the first issue that had to be dealt with. Cusco is around 3400m above the sea level which can present a problem because the human body starts to react at around 2500m. Thankfully after taking the local remedy of Coca Tea and being given oxygen we were up and about after 36 hours. Meeting the children for the first time at Picaflor House was a very emotional experience and brought on the first of many tears. At the end of the first day with them I felt so privileged and humbled to have met them. They had nothing but were always smiling and wanting to hold your hand. I assisted with English classes, Mathematics and activities such as music, crafts and games on a Friday. They delighted in playing the simplest of games such as ‘Piggy In The Middle’ which started off with 3 and then everyone wanted to participate! The older girls made makeshift swings one day from cardboard and ropes! We were advised not to have favourites but I have to own up to having a soft spot for the Kindergarten class! The ongoing project focuses on the young and vulnerable to assist them in finding a way out of the trap of poverty and is aimed at keeping the children in a secure environment off the streets, and providing them with a safe place to learn and enjoy being children. I did witness in various parts of the area young children on their own begging in the streets or trying to sell sweets to motorists whilst waiting at the traffic lights. Sadly despite the wealth of tourist money that enters the country, very little of the money filters down to the average Peruvian and millions live in extreme poverty. This means a lack of education, healthcare and nutrition effects the poorest the hardest. Many homes have no running water or proper sanitation and heating is unheard of. With volunteers Globalteer hope to help the least fortunate live healthily, with dignity and with a future. We caught a local bus to and from the project. The journey was just under 1 hour each way and cost 3.50 soles return – approx £1! On one of our weekends off we visited Machu Picchu – an incomparable wonder and despite having seen so many pictures nothing prepares you for the first time you see the Inca citadel rising high above a bend in the river. It was well worth the 3.45 am alarm call to see the sunrise which was absolutely breath-taking. Another challenge we took on was to eat the local dish ‘Cuy’ – otherwise known as guinea pig! A Peruvian delicacy it is either fried or roasted and cooked whole. We ate it with our hands and although the meat looked like the dark meat of chicken it tasted more like duck. I also celebrated my birthday whilst out there and I gave the children a small bag of ‘Haribo’ sweets as a treat. They were absolutely delighted and so happy to have in their eyes such a luxury. I didn’t need to translate in to Spanish on this occasion – I think ‘sweets’ is a universal language! The trip was an incredible experience not only because of the gratifying sensation of helping in a foreign and vulnerable country, but also learning more about ourselves and appreciating what we have. The children made a lasting impression and I do have intentions to one day return. Volunteering at Piclafor House has taught me to never take things for granted and to realise how we can manage with far less than we think we need – I have a wardrobe of clothes so why do I think I need more? I left a case of clothes and toiletries for a lady I met and she actually filled with tears when she saw the bottle of shampoo I had donated. The trip has changed my outlook on life and I believe that this is only the start of my volunteering career! I would recommend volunteering with Globalteer to anyone who wants to have a memorable life experience. read less2/06/2018
If you would like to to have an ethical elephant encounter abroad, then choose to volunteer to help elephants!
The Thailand Elephant Sanctuary gives safe haven to rescued elephants so they can live a life as close as possible to their wild relatives. Without the sanctuary these lovely animals would otherwise be roaming the streets, suffering terrible conditions at working elephant camps or being exploited by the tourism industry.
The Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary is based at the head of a beautiful jungle valley in Eastern Cambodia. The sanctuary provides rescued elephants with the most natural living environment possible. The project also works tirelessly in elephant conservation to protect Cambodia's remaining wild elephant population.