The Elephant Care Project
Chiang Mai & Phuket, Thailand
Trunk is very proud to be a huge advocate of supporting captive elephants in Asia. Having an 11 year history of working alongside communities and Mahout’s that have dedicated their lives to supporting the welfare of these incredible giants, the team at Trunk know a thing or two about what it takes to ensure that elephants no longer living wild have an enriched lifestyle that offers safety, healthcare, love and that all elephants are treated with the respect they deserve.
In addition to working alongside the likes of Wildlife SOS in India, Trunk also supports an incredible initiative in Thailand known as The Care Project. This project takes place in two stunning, yet wildly different, locations; Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, and on the island of Phuket in the south.
This trip choice will take you to both locations where you'll spend one week at each, discovering so much more about the plight of the rescued elephant in Thailand. We've included everything needed for this trip so that all you need to worry about is arriving in to Chiang Mai and have a willingness to learn, keep an open-mind and be prepared to be smothered in elephant love. This really is an incredible, unique trip that we guarantee you'll never, ever forget!
The Care Project is a carefully constructed one or two week-long placement that allows you to learn from experts about the care of elephants in Thailand. It educates participants on the life of a rescued elephant, the daily struggle of the mahout’s and their families and much more. Participants are welcome to join the project in either Chiang Mai or Phuket, or a combination of the two locations.
By choosing to participate in the program at both locations you'll get to experience the very best of both camps. Amongst other things you will help with the day to day tasks of caring for the elephants, learn from specialist vets about disease control and healthcare, receive a better understanding of the husbandry of elephants, observe the elephants in their natural surroundings and become a part of what we all hope will be a worldwide shift in how humans interact with elephants.
In the last 2 years, The Care Project has been responsible for 15 elephant rescues. An elephants journey after a rescue is often and long and arduous one. Most rescued elephants need rehabilitation, extra care and medication. In line with the mission of contributing to the members of the society, The Care Project is always brainstorming ways and ideas of how to improve and enrich the lives of those around them.
In addition to the direct support given to the elephants, the mahouts and their families, The Care Project also donates to other projects through contributions and donations and through the sale of Care Project merchandise. The other projects supported by The Care project have touched everybody connected to the work done here and we all wish to see each one of them fulfil their goals.
Such projects include; The Elephant Clinic and Hospice in Mae Wang province. The Matriarch Project, The Southern Elephant Hospital in Krabi, The Grassroots Project in Mae Wang and more.
Below is a general idea of how this placement operates, however, it must be remembered that as this is an ever-evolving project the daily schedule can vary depending on many factors outside of our control.
WHAT WILL YOU GET UP TO?
On arrival in Chiang Mai our team will be ready to collect you from either Chiang Mai international airport (Airport Code: CNX) or from Chiang Mai bus or train station. Just make sure that you’ve sent us your arrival details so we can organize your pick-up.
If you’re already in Chiang Mai, let us know and we will send you details of where to meet us and when.
DAY ONE – Saturday
This is the day you’ll arrive to meet up with our team in Chiang Mai. If you’re arriving in to the airport, train or bus station, just make sure we have your arrival time, and either the flight number or the number of the coach or train. This is very important as without it we won’t be able to meet you.
Once we’ve officially met you we’ll take the quick trip to a lovely hotel in the heart of the old city. Rooms here are perfect and include everything you need to rest, recharge and recover from the travels.
DAY TWO – Sunday
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll sit down and run through the plan for your stay with us. Whether you’ve chosen to stay for one or two weeks we’ll explain everything to you in more detail so that you can really make the most of your time in Thailand and on the project.
We’ll then head out and about and show you around this beautiful city. Chiang Mai was once the capital of Thailand and is therefore steeped in fascinating history.
This evening, once we’re freshened up from our days adventure, we’ll head out for a slap-up meal at a popular local restaurant.
DAY THREE to SIX – Monday to Thursday
Our team from the project will arrive at the hotel around 8:30am to collect us and transfer us about 45 minutes in to the jungles that surround Chiang Mai. Once there we’ll meet up with the local guides and coordinators to begin our project work.
On arrival we’ll receive an in-depth orientation about the project, the work that we’ll be joining, learning about the elephants, the mahouts, the locations and so much more. The day to day itinerary will be explained to you in much more detail at this point as what's needed by the project changes regularly.
DAY SEVEN – Friday
For those that have chosen the one-week program, tonight is sadly your last night with us. Once we have finished our work at the project, as a group we’ll return to the hotel in Chiang Mai for our final night together. This often becomes a final night dinner and a few drinks to celebrate the support you’ve given to the elephants and for your life-changing experience!
DAY EIGHT – Saturday
Today we're heading south to the beautiful island of Phuket. Our flight will be around 2.5 hours and we should arrive at our next accommodation in the early afternoon, plenty of time for you to settle in and sort yourself before we meet up again for a brief orientation of the area and to run through our plan for the next few days.
This evening you have some free time to rest up or to get out and explore the local area and discover more of what makes Phuket such a tourist hotspot.
DAY NINE – Sunday
After eight days of heart-racing adventures we know that you’ll appreciate a day off so your wish is granted! Today you can choose to simply relax around the pool or head off and do whatever you want. Whatever it is that you do, or don’t, your guide will be around to help you make it happen!
DAYS TEN to FOURTEEN – Monday to Friday
This week will follow a similar pattern to your first week in Chiang Mai. However, with your new found knowledge and new skills, you'll really hit the ground running. Being a new location you'll have the chance to explore with more confidence and try out your new skills in a beautiful setting. You'll be welcomed by a new team who will take extra special care you during your time assisting with the day to day.
In addition to the new location, the new tasks and the new elephants and team, we'll also treat you to a visit to the mainland to visit one of several projects supported by this non-profit. Just being a part of this project your help and your time reaches out to more places than you could possibly imagine. More than just learning about the elephants, you will be directly aiding more projects and directly assisting with their sustainability and positive impact.
As the Friday is the last day, once we're back to the hotel we'll get freshened up before heading out for a slap-up celebratory meal at a popular local restaurant. This will be the perfect way to end your time at the project and we can spend the night sharing memories, photographs and working out a plan of how you can share your experiences with others so they can come and experience the incredible.
DAY FIFTEEN - Saturday
Today, sadly, we must officially say goodbye. The tour does end on Phuket island to make it easy for you to stay around and enjoy more of the island. However, if you wish to return to Bangkok with your guide, just let us know so that we can help to organise your flight.
By being a part of this project you will be leaving behind an incredible legacy but most importantly you'll be taking away a new and very real understanding of what's involved in the life of a rescued elephant in Thailand. You'll be directly aiding in the rescue of more elephants and you'll be helping to spread the word of work that's being carried out by those who genuinely care about Thailand's elephant population.
COST: $1,845 for two weeks
STARTS: Chiang Mai - see below for available dates
DURATION: 14 nights
MIN. AGE: 17
All accommodation throughout your stay
All transport including airport pick up on arrival
Guided Chiang Mai tour including traditional Thai welcome meal
All meals during your stay at the project
Daily breakfast at hotels when not at the project
Flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket island
Daily interaction with the elephants
All activities as described in the itinerary
Flight of the Gibbons adventure activity
Project development work and associated costs
24/7 expert assistance from project coordinators
Day trip to projects in Krabi
Hands on, expertly led interaction with the elephants at the project
10% donation towards the sustainability and ongoing security of The Care Project
Thai language lessons
Extensive pre-arrival information
Lifelong memories and new friendships!
Available Start Dates
You are welcome to join this project on
of any month!