Volunteering abroad can completely transform your experience in Thailand and as a volunteer you’ll have the opportunity to go beyond the usual tourist attractions – forging meaningful connections with elephants and experience the culture like a local person.

As a volunteer, you will learn all about the Asian Elephant, their history, how to care for them and the ways you can help preserve the future of these endangered creatures.

In 1998 logging was banned in Thailand and elephants were forced to perform tricks as tourist attractions or engage in illegal logging near Myanmar. Many elephants died or have serious injury after falling because of overworking or from being injured badly by bull hooks. Elephants were also given large amounts of amphetamine or other drugs make them work longer hours.

Deforestation and development are two of the main reasons there is only 20% forest land left in 1992 compared to 80% in 1957 so finding natural land for elephants is an ongoing problem. The Sanctuaries are the best and safest way to protect these elephants so ongoing work to help to maintain their environment is crucial work for volunteers.

That’s where elephant Sanctuaries are vital part of the future of the Asian Elephant. Volunteers are important to the sanctuary by helping the staff at Ran-Tong Sanctuary they can contribute to making the elephants have a better quality of life in their natural environment.

Our elephant volunteer Thailand Chiang Mai programs include how to care for the Elephants; learn how to make herbal medicines while living in their natural habitat.


For the entire duration of your program you’ll be based in the countryside living in a typical bamboo hut, you will take care of the elephants; feeding, bathing; helping with general medical care and maintaining the facilities.
Picture of accommodation

Volunteer Day:

On the first day you will not engage in any work duties. It’s more like the first day at school, you will just familiarize yourself with the environment at Ran Tong, meet the mahouts, the staff and the elephants. We will teach you how to take care of the elephants, their behaviors and their needs.

We will also give you a history or the elephants and learn how to make herbal medicines and how to work in safety around the elephants.

For the rest of your stay:

The Elephants only sleep around 4 hours a day so the Mahouts are up and about at sunrise to start their day with the Elephants. This involves feeding and bathing the elephants before the visitors arrive at the camp. You will have time to have water-fights with these incredible animals, bath them and at the same time have lots of fun.

Elephants eat around 10% of their body weight which is around 250 kilograms of corn and grass everyday for an average sized elephant. They must constantly eat throughout the day so they can absorb as much nutrients from the food as they can. Sourcing food for the elephants will be one of the many daily tasks you will undertake with the Mahouts.

While they are eating you will have time to take a rest with a delicious breakfast made from the kitchen staff at the camp.

Your duties will vary and change every day depending on the elephants and camp’s needs. Cleaning, maintenance, learning how to cook Thai meals and care for the elephants are just some of the aspects of being a volunteer at Ran Tong’s elephant sanctuary.

Evening time is when you can meet other volunteers and socialize with local staff.

The village around the camp is home to the mahouts and their families and another place where you can enhance your experience as volunteer. There are all kinds of ways you can help on this front, for example teaching English in the local school.

Time off:

Time off can be spent exploring the area around the camp, you can hire a bicycle at Ran Tong for free and visit the local villages and experience real Thai culture, where are the huge influx of tourists has affected the rest of Thailand.

The program:

The program is geared towards volunteers that enjoy working outside, are flexible and most importantly love for elephants! No experience is necessary and operates all year round, however we do have a policy that operates and over 18 age limit without a guardian. Finally, positions are available from 2 days to 28 days and beyond.

Program Fees:

Take time out from your travel plans or holiday and help make a difference to you and the elephants lives. Learn how to live like a mahout while taking care of our elephants.

  • 2 day program: 167 USD
  • 7 day program: 319 USD
  • 14 day program: 573 USD
  • 21 day program: 764 USD
  • 28 day program: 894 USD

*All prices are per person, children under the age of 10 will receive a price discount.

Program includes:

  • Insurance
  • Accommodation in a bamboo hut or dorm for the project time
  • All meals and water included
  • Transportation from Chiang Mai to the elephant camp and return.
  • Access to free bicycle
  • Locally made bag
  • Ran-Tong T-shirt
  • Certificate to say you have been a volunteer at the Ran-tong Elephant Sanctuary

Excluded from the program:

  • International Medical Insurance
  • Personal expenses

Become a volunteer and have a life changing experience! Contact us today for more information.

Disclaimer for Volunteers

While we do our best to stick to the programs and schedules there are occasions that things do not go to plan when volunteering and living in the Jungle.

Weather during rainy season can cause power cuts from time to time which means there would be no hot water during that time.

Occasionally at night there can be many animals within the camp and noises that are beyond our control including local dogs, cats, ants, chickens, crickets, Gecko and of course our lovely elephants who make their own noises at night. You really are out in the middle of nowhere.

If you decide to leave our camp early we cannot always guarantee a full refund but we will discuss options with you. If you cannot make the schedule time of your volunteering experience we can rearrange another available date for you.

Please note that Deposits are not refundable.