Elephant Conservation in Thailand is a fourteen-day travel program in village communities in rural Thailand. It focuses on the role elephants play in modern Thai society as a result of deforestation, tourism, and shifting viewpoints on conservation and animal rights, with opportunities to visit communities that work with elephants. The program seeks to educate on the different efforts communities are taking to protect elephants and their habitat.
A primary focus will be learning about elephant conservation and its relation to social and environmental well-being. The program is run by the Institute For Village Studies and open to everybody. We are looking for travelers that are passionate about social and environmental justice, lifelong learners, and those looking for a bit of an adventure. If this is you, join us in Thailand!
Explore issues of elephant conservation in Thailand, with a focus on indigenous and village knowledge and practice
Visit an elephant sanctuary and learn about the shifting roles of elephants in the tourism industry
Trek in the jungles of Kui Buri National Park, home to over 300 wild elephants
Visit the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to learn about elephant biology, behavior, and conservation
March 17-30, 2020
$4,000 per person
Breakfast, dinner, and most lunches
Admissions (temples, parks, etc.)
Trek and other excursions
Immunizations/personal medical expenses
This trip is for people who like to be active while they are traveling. There will be lots of walking and hiking when we are in the national parks. We also will use local transportation while traveling around cities.
Our lodging reflects the areas we stay. When we are in villages or national parks, we do what the locals do. In cities, we stay at locally owned hotels that are 3 star and above.
Bangkok is a bustling metropolis and one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia. It became the capital of Siam in 1782 during the rise of the Rattanakosin era, which was founded by Thailand’s current Chakri dynasty. A city of over 14 million people, Bangkok is a unique and diverse place. We find that the most enticing parts of the city are often overlooked on the typical tourist routes. We will utilize local transportation to visit significant temples, historical sites, and food markets to introduce you to the diversity of Thai culture.
Accommodation: Locally owned hotel (3 star)
Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is located in the Tenassarim hills in Kanchanaburi province and home to villages built based on the values of Sirikit Pho Pieng or Sufficiency Economy. It was developed by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and stresses the importance of sustainable development. We will spend time in a village in the national park for an introduction to Central Thai village life. Visit caves and waterfalls, hike up to Buddhist ruins and visit the local temple, learn to cook Thai food, and visit surrounding farms.
Accommodation: Private bungalow
Kui Buri National Park
Kui Buri National Park is located in the Tenassarim Hills of Prachuap Kiri Khan Province and is home to one of Thailand’s largest population of over 300 wild elephants. We will camp in the national park and learn the measures the park rangers are taking to prevent poaching, promote population growth, and preserve the natural habitat. We will also tour the park to view wild elephants and hike in the jungle and learn how rangers track them.
Accommodation: Tent camping
Chiang Mai is the gateway to Northern Thailand and was founded in 1296 by King Mengrai of the Lan Na Kingdom. With a distinctly unique culture with its own cuisine, language, and customs, Chiang Mai is the perfect place to experience Northern Thai culture. We will visit less traveled areas of the city to sample food, visit with a monk to learn about Thai Buddhism, and an amulet market to learn about Northern Thai folklore. We will also visit an elephant sanctuary to see how conservationists are mitigating elephant populations that are unable to be set free in the wild.
Accommodation: Locally owned hotel (3 star)
Chiang Saen is located in Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost province. It sits upon the Mekong River and is also called the Golden Triangle due to it sharing the border with Lao and Myanmar. Here we will spend time with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to learn about elephant biology, psychology, and conservation. We will also explore how elephants are integrated into the tourist industry and the positives and negative implications that come with it.
Accommodation: Anantara Golden Triangle Resort
Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation
The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) is a Thai registered not for profit that was set up in 2005. GTAEF works to rescue working elephants and their mahouts (trainers) from illegal logging camps, street begging, and the tourist industry by providing fodder, a forest environment, food, accommodation, and insurance for the mahouts. GTAEF also works with the Thai government and other organizations on big picture conservation and reforestation projects.
Wild Elephant Lovers Club at Kui Buri National Park
Kui Buri National Park, located in the Tenassarim hills, was founded in 2005 and is home to one of Thailand’s largest population of over 300 wild elephants. The Wild Elephant Lovers Club is a group of Thai park rangers who work to track wild elephant movements and population growth, prevent poaching and deforestation, and conserve natural resources vital to elephant’s natural habitats.