Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Thailand – The Elephant Conservation Expedition tour
Family Friendly Culture Thailand – The Elephant Conservation Expedition package
Nature & Wildlife Elephant Riding Thailand – The Elephant Conservation Expedition package

Thailand – The Baby Elephant Experience

Discover Corps Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
5.0 . Excellent
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Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
10 days
From: $ 2,795 $ 280 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Spend your days alongside the friendly village elephants and the local community
  • Engage with the cultural blend of traditional and modern and enjoy the slow pace of village life.
  • You’ll also venture into Thailand’s authentic street markets in Chiang Mai, zip-line through the jungle
  • Explore shimmering temples and raft down the Mae Taeng River
  • Experience travel into the mountains to a long-neck Karin village
  • Opportunity to learn about their ancient traditions, meet with village elders and discover a community lost in time.

Short Description

The first days will be spent exploring the cultural epicenter of Chiang Mai before traveling to a village where mahouts, elephant trainers, dedicate themselves to raising elephants and conserving their habitat. Work alongside the mahouts and learn exactly what it takes to care for an elephant. From morning walks through the jungle to bathing elephants in a nearby river, you’ll directly contribute to the well-being of these amazing creatures.

You’ll also visit a hospital for sick and injured elephants to see how these majestic creatures are rehabilitated. Then see how another social enterprise is creating decorated elephant statues and placing them around the world to raise awareness of elephant conservation.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Chiang Mai
End City Chiang Mai

Trip Includes

  • All activities: zip lining through the jungle, rafting down a river, visit to a Karen Hilltribe village, guided tours and more.
  • All meals included: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners
  • 6 nights lodging at a hotel in Chiang Mai
  • 3 nights lodging at the Thai elephant home
  • Volunteer project at the elephant conservancy for approximately 16 volunteer hours
  • Bilingual guides
  • Airport transfers from Chiang Mai airport and all ground transportation

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Itinerary

Days 1-2:

Fly into Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand, where you’ll be met at the airport by a Discover Corps staff member. We’ll spend the first few days in Chiang Mai, where you’ll meet the other travelers and get acquainted with Thai culture. We’ll learn about important cultural norms in Thailand, review the schedule, and, of course, start to get to know each other as we begin this exciting journey! The next day, we’ll take a city tour, visit the old section of Chiang Mai, visit an organization that creates elephant artwork around the world and explore the bustling local markets as you become familiar with the local pace of life.

Northern Thailand – Where Hill Tribes Meet Elephants

Roughly an hour outside of Chiang Mai through the beautiful hills of Northern Thailand lies a village where the community takes in and cares for elephants. Located in a region that is home to various hill tribe communities including the Akha, Po, Karen & Lahu and is known for its long-standing connections with both nature and elephants. We’ll spend a part of the trip in this picturesque Thai village and the other part in the cultural hub of Chiang Mai. This is a region where colorful Thai culture intermingles with the traditional fabric of age-old local traditions. Whether you’re helping a community member care for their elephant, uncovering the natural beauty of its surrounding mountains and rivers or simply indulging in the local cuisine, Northern Thailand is a cultural melting pot ready to welcome you with open arms.

In the afternoons, we will orient ourselves to the local culture through a range of cultural activities.  Take some time to meet with the local community members or spend an afternoon in a distant hill tribe village. In our free time, venture into the rainforest for a rafting adventure or zip line through the jungle canopy.

Evenings are reserved for discussion, relaxation and reflection. Enjoy a traditional Thai style dinner while reminiscing about the day’s activities. Some evenings will feature a guest speaker from a local non-profit or leader in the community. Topics range from hill tribe rights in a modernizing Thailand to the role of elephants in modern-day Thai society.

Day 3:

We’ll have breakfast early before heading out of town to a local government-run elephant conservation center. Established by the Thai Royal Family, the center cares for over 50 Asian elephants including the royal elephants. Enjoy a tour of the center, come face-to-face with these friendly creatures and see how elephants are cared for. After lunch, we’ll visit a nearby hospital that takes care of sick and injured elephants before heading back to Chiang Mai for a traditional dinner and dance show.

Day 4:

We’ll set off later in the morning to the verdant green hills that surround the city. We’ll visit Wat Doi Suthep, which offers breathtaking views of the region as well as an ornate Buddhist temple at the top. After lunch at the top of the mountain, we’ll explore the lush botanical gardens of Doi Pui as well as visit a local hill tribe that inhabits the land around this area. Get a sense of the traditions of the Hmong, the ethnic hill tribe community we’ll visit, before descending back down for a relaxing evening in town.

Days 5-6:

We’ll hit the road early and drive for about an hour to a small village tucked in the mountains. Here, a Thai family came together to create a place where elephants can thrive in their natural habitat. Over the coming days, we’ll take the elephants to bathe in the river, visit nurseries for baby elephants, take elephants out for the morning walks and help keep their living areas clean. During this time, we’ll learn about elephant tourism in the community as it is used to generate income as well as the historical significance of these creatures in a community with long connections to both the forest and the elephants. These elephants are trained, well cared for and a mahout will always be present.

In the afternoons, we’ll explore the culture of this fascinating region of the world and engage with the community and their elephants. One afternoon, we’ll visit a local Karen hill tribe village to learn about their age-old culture and customs. Evenings are reserved for relaxation and discussion of the pertinent issues facing elephants in Thailand today.

Days 7-8:

We’ll rise early each day and head out with our mahouts for a morning with the elephants. By now, you’ll understand just what it takes to care for these gentle giants. Whether it’s cutting the grass for their feed, cleaning their pens or lending a hand in the elephant nursery, a lot goes into the wellbeing of the elephants in this village.

One afternoon, we’ll head out into the jungle for a rafting adventure on the river. Float through the rainforest landscape and be on the lookout for wildlife in the trees! Eventually, we’ll head back to Chiang Mai for an evening dinner together at the local night market.

Day 9:

Enjoy a relaxing morning before setting out on another day of adventure. Zip line through pristine rainforest situated between three hill tribe villages with the Maeram River flowing below. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy lunch in the jungle and eventually head back to Chiang Mai for a farewell dinner cruise along the river.

Day 10:

Travellers will be taken throughout the day to the Chiang Mai International Airport for their return flights home.

Our Thai Lodging 

Travelers will split their time between a guesthouse outside the center of Chiang Mai and a basic lodge in the village where we volunteer. Accommodations are comfortable and safe. Travelers have the option of double or single rooms.

 Food will primarily be traditional Thai food, consisting of a lot of rice, fresh vegetables and some meat. There are a great variety of Thai dishes, and you will have the opportunity to try many of them. Step out of your comfort zone and embrace the experience; it would be a shame come to Thailand and not fully indulge in Thai cuisine. Eat like the locals!

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 2,795
Price Per Day: $ 280 per day
Check Availability
Checking price
Start DateEnd DateDouble StandardSingle StandardAvailability 
Oct-06-2019Oct-15-2019$ 2,795$ 3,245Limited Reserve
Dec-26-2019Jan-04-2020$ 2,795$ 3,245Limited Reserve
Jan-05-2020Jan-14-2020$ 2,795$ 3,245Limited Reserve
Feb-02-2020Feb-11-2020$ 2,795$ 3,245Limited Reserve
Mar-22-2020Mar-31-2020$ 2,795$ 3,245Limited Reserve
Apr-12-2020Apr-21-2020$ 2,795$ 3,245Limited Reserve
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  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 450

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Discover Corps.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Crystal Lee
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Thailand – The Baby Elephant Experience

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Volunteering in Peru with Discover Corps was awesome!

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Discover Corps Peru was an incredible, eye-opening experience. Volunteering alongside local communities, meeting fascinating people and exploring Machu Picchu made were just a few of the highlights during my stay. Would recommend this to anyone interested in traveling deeper and giving back in a meaningful way.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 20

Age Notes

Children’s pricing applies to travelers 16 years old and younger sharing a room with an adult

Min. Age: 16

Trip ID#:

ThaEleConDisCor

Trip Excludes

  • International airfare

Meals Included:

9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and 9 Dinners

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