Volunteer With Elephants in Surin Thailand

Trip Highlights

  • Welcome to the ‘Elephant Capital’ of Thailand; Surin.
  • Embrace the mellow and extremely peaceful lifestyle of Surin.
  • Interact with the natives to learn about the age old traditions and typical Thai cultural nuances.
  • A great opportunity for all wildlife enthusiasts to volunteer work for the conservation and welfare of giant Thai elephants.
  • Exciting chance to live with the local village community of mahouts, farmers and other lower class labourers, in an elephant village. 
  • Visit the many temples and other spiritual abodes in the city to experience its pious side.
  • Enjoy some of the best local Thai delicacies, all the way from a native house kitchen.


Surin is said to be the “Elephant capital” of Thailand, and soon after arriving here volunteers would realise why. One of the most amazing things about Surin is its elephants. They are revered throughout Thailand and the elephant volunteering program is a unique opportunity, not only to get up close and personal with them but to live in a genuine Thai community and experience real rural Thai life first-hand.
Surin is home to over 400 of these wonderful animals. Generations ago the elephants were originally captured from the wild jungles to use as farming ‘machinery’ by Surin’s founding fathers. In more modern times however, the use of elephants in logging and agriculture has become redundant and with a fully grown elephant eating huge amounts of food each day, these elephants are extremely expensive to look after. Many elephant owners (known as Mahouts) sold their elephants or took them to the streets of the big cities to beg for money from locals and tourists alike. Not a good situation at all for the elephants.

Located on the outskirts of Surin province lies the community of Tha-Tum. This community is home to approximately 250 people and over 30 elephants. Through many years of collaboration and volunteering effort we were able to support this village and ensure that the mahouts no longer need to take to the streets and go begging with their elephants. Instead, the community focusses on giving visitors the opportunity to learn about elephants in Thailand, spend time with them and also experience living in the local community. Volunteers spend three nights each week living in the home of the village elder and his family. This is a unique opportunity to see how life operates on a day-to-day basis. During the village stay three meals each day are included. There is a small shop in the village from where you can purchase snacks. Volunteers are expected to help cooking meals and join in with day to day activities in the village. It is important that throughout your time in the village (and indeed wherever you are in Thailand) that all volunteers respect the local community, their culture and way of doing things. Our local team member based in the village will of course help you with this.

Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities

Volunteer Work Schedule


Dates & Cost



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