Each small group worked with their own guide doing jobs around the sanctuary. That’s our fabulous guide on the far right in the pink ENP shirt.
The jobs change with the time of year, what foods are available, and whatever needs doing around the property. You will definitely help prepare food and scoop poop. You might weed gardens, build fences, or even build sand beds for the older elephants. A few lucky volunteers actually get to go and help bring rescues home.
Number One Job: Food
Work on the loading dock or in the kitchen.
Take a ride in the truck to a farmer’s field.
Number Two Job: Scoop Poop This was actually an easy task.
Sometimes the big jobs were all taken so we had an afternoon to explore.
You could also choose to play with the cats or walk the dogs.
My favourite time was spent with three old ladies spending their safe retirement days together.
There are many reputable sanctuaries in Thailand and Cambodia. Read the information on web pages, Facebook pages and forums, and decide what sort of adventure suits you.
http://elephantnaturepark.org This link will give you so much information! You can read about all their sanctuaries, what types of visits they offer, and what to expect at each facility. I chose to go to ENP for a week in January. You pay in Thailand bahts. It costs 12,000B (about $375USD) for a week which includes basic accommodation and all meals. You send a deposit of 2,400B (about $75USD) and the rest you pay in cash when you arrive at ENP.
It’s fun to explore all the places you can go. There are so many sanctuaries struggling to help their elephants. They need you to visit and would love to hear from you.
When you go, be prepared for hot days and cold nights. You need t-shirts and shorts as well as long sleeves and long pants. Take things you don’t care about & donate them as you leave. Or buy really inexpensive things at the Chiang Mai Sunday night market before you travel to ENP on Monday. Closed toe shoes, a hat & a flashlight are important. Bring your own toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellent & towel.
What a thrill it was to get a picture with Lek Chailert, the wonderful lady who started saving the elephants and runs ENP!
My one bit of advice would be to plan to spend more time in Asia. It’s a long way to go for only one week. Thailand is the cheapest place I’ve ever visited so take advantage of the good weather, good food, and inexpensive accommodation. Enjoy!