Bangkok, Beaches & Elephants
Volunteer with elephants and discover paradise islands in one trip!
Book now for £49
Group Size: Varies
Trip code: BKBE
Duration: 15 days
They say that elephants never forget, and you certainly won’t be forgetting this amazing 15 day adventure in a hurry! Get up close with these majestic animals in an authentic Thai ‘elephant village’ experience with a local guide, feeding, bathing and trekking with them. Then head down to Thailand's amazing islands for free time to relax and explore paradise!
- Spend three nights living in an authentic Thai elephant village with the locals
- Feed, bathe and care for the elephants
- Explore the best of Bangkok, and its epic nightlife
- Soak up the sun on golden island beaches
- Go wild at one of Thailand’s famous beach parties
Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok: Your adventure starts here! Arrive in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport, where you will be met and taken to your guest house in the legendary Khao San Road area. Launch yourself into the steamy chaos of this fascinating city, before meeting up with the rest of your group for a curry and a few Singha beers.
Day 2: Bangkok Tour: See the highlights of Bangkok with a guided tour. You’ll visit temples, Buddhas and palaces, as well as getting to grips with the rich street life of the city, with street food vendors and tuk-tuks on every corner. Later you’ll take a long-boat down the river and see a floating market, before heading out into the neon lights of Khao San Road with your new friends.
Day 3: Travel to Surin: Leave Bangkok early by train. On arrival in Surin, transfer to your guest house before heading out with your group for dinner and drinks. The accommodation is in a lively location with plenty of food stalls and restaurants around, so you’re sure to find something tasty!
Days 4-6: Elephant Village Volunteer Project: Take the short bus ride to the elephant village. The village is in a beautiful rural location, far from the tourist trail. For the next 4 days and 3 nights you’ll be living here like a local and getting up close with the elephants! You’ll be feeding them, helping care for them, and walking them through the jungle to help bathe them in the river –a truly magical experience.
As well as spending time with these magnificent beasts, you’ll have a properly authentic cultural experience, as you’ll be staying in the community as guests of the village elder. You’ll help the villagers with the crops that are used for the elephants’ food, get involved with cooking some simple Thai dishes and even make paper from elephant dung! Please note that we only support ethical elephant experiences and you will not be allowed to ride elephants at this project.
Day 7: Return to Surin: After another unforgettable day at the village, it’s time to say farewell to the elephants and go back to Surin. You might stop on the way at a market and try the local delicacy – fried insects!
Day 8: Back to Bangkok: Transfer back to Bangkok by train. Dump your bag at your accommodation before experiencing some more of the chaotic charm of the Bangkok streets.Grab some street stall pad thai before unleashing your inner party animal in one of the many late-nightbars and clubs on Khao San Road.
Day 9: More Bangkok fun & Island Transfer: Plenty of free time today to explore Bangkok. Get a Thai massage, go shopping, or people-watch from one of the street-side cafes and bars. In the evening, hop on the overnight coach down to Koh Phangan (changing to Koh Tao in 2020).
Days 10: Arrive on the islands. Arrive in Koh Phangan in the morning, where you will be met and taken to your beachside hotel. Cool off in the hotel pool or take a stroll on the sandy beach. This evening, why not grab your group to head out and smaple some of the islands famous nightlife?
Days 11-13: Island Beaches. The next three days are all about finding your bliss. There’s something for everyone here–from yoga classes and beach massage to paddle-boarding and diving, with a famously epic party scene once the sun goes down.
Day 14: Last stop Bangkok. Check out early and transfer back to Bangkok. Arrive in the evening for one last crazy night on Khao San Road.
Day 15: Trip End. Your amazing adventure ends here. Say goodbye, swap contact details and either head home, with your mind and camera full of memories, or continue your travels.
Please note that your time on Koh Phangan (or Koh Tao in 2020) will be unguided, giving you time to explore your own pace!
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You’ll need to arrive into Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok between 6am and 8pm on your first day, where you’ll be met by one of our greeters and taken directly to your Bangkok accommodation. Airport pickup is included.
You can depart at any time on your end date. A return transfer back to Bangkok airport is not included but is easy to arrange.
All your accommodation is included on this trip.
You’ll spend your first two nights, plus days 8 and 14 staying in twin or triple share accommodation in a hostel in Bangkok.
While in Surin, you’ll spend three nights a week at the elephant village (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday nights), living with the village elder and his family, and the rest of the week you’ll stay in a shared volunteer house in Surin. If you’re travelling with friends, we can make sure you’re placed at the same accommodation.
On the days you’re staying in the elephant village you’ll live as a local villager, staying in the house of the village elder and his family. The rest of your group and the project co-ordinator will be with you. You’ll be expected to help out with duties such as cleaning and cooking, living as a member of the family.
Accommodation in the homestay is basic but comfortable. Your host family are very welcoming and will take wonderful care of you. It's a properly authentic cultural experience! You’ll be staying in shared rooms, sleeping up to five per room, on mattresses on the floor. The rooms are clean and there are fans, and mosquito nets. There is a communal living space with floor cushions and a large shared kitchen where you can help the family prepare traditional Thai meals. The shared bathrooms have warm water and western toilets. You will also have WiFi.
When you are not at the elephant village your group will live together in shared volunteer houses. Each house has shared bedrooms (sleeping 3-5 people), bathrooms with warm showers and western toilets, functional kitchen, in and outdoor seating areas and WiFi. Rooms include beds, bedding, basic storage, fan, mosquito nets and electric sockets. The guesthouses in Surin are on the outskirts of the town centre, only 50 metres from the staff office and 5 minutes from amenities including supermarkets, markets, internet cafes and ATM’s. A laundry service isn’t included, but you can either hand wash your own laundry or pay for your washing to be done by a local laundry service, for a very cheap price.
Please note: During the busy summer months (June-August) you may stay together in a different, comfortable guesthouse in Surin when you are not at the elephant village.
One night will be spent on the overnight coach to the islands.
In Koh Phangan, you’ll have four nights in twin or triple share rooms with air-con and en suite facilities in a hotel with pool.
The tour includes 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners.
Three meals a day are included on the days that you are at the elephant village. On your first Monday, breakfast in Surin is not included, but you will arrive in the elephant village in time for an inclusive lunch. On Thursdays, breakfast and lunch are included before you leave and transfer back to Surin. When you are staying in the guesthouse in Surin meals are not included, but you can buy ingredients and prepare your own meals in the basic house kitchen.
You’ll have to purchase all other meals yourself. Food in Thailand is cheap and totally delicious, so it’s a great opportunity to explore the local cuisine. Typical dishes involve rice or noodles, and use lots of coconut milk and spices. You can express your appreciation for anything particularly tasty by telling your chef it is ‘aroy’, which means delicious in Thai.
Minimum age to participate in this programme is 18.
Without a visa, British nationals arriving by air can remain in Thailand for a maximum of 30 days, though if you arrive across a land border you may only be able to stay for 15 days. If you want to stay for longer, you’ll need to apply for a 60 day tourist visa before you depart the UK.