Elephants and Islands
15 days from £759
- Feed, bathe and care for elephants in an authentic Thai elephant village
- Immerse yourself in rural life with a homestay
- Discover the highlights of Bangkok and its neon-soaked nightlife
- Bliss out on white sand beaches on the islands
- Dance the night away at one of Thailand’s famous beach parties
Discover some of the different sides of Thailand, with this unforgettable 15 day tour. See the best of Bangkok, with temples, floating markets, street food and wild nights out. Then spend 3 days living like a local in a rural elephant village, helping to care for these magnificent beasts. Finish up with some well-deserved rest and relaxation on the white sands of the southern islands and some beach party madness after the sun goes down.
Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!
Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok. Your adventure begins when you land in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport! You’ll be met and taken to your guest house right in the famous Khao San Road area. Drop your bag and get straight out into the vibrant street life of the city. Meet your group later for a curry and a cold beer.
Day 2: Bangkok City Tour. See the highlights of the city on a guided tour. Discover majestic golden temples and palaces, before experiencing another side of Bangkok on a long-tail boat. Chug down the network of canals that are the lifeblood of the city, observing daily life and stopping at a floating market. Later, explore some of the city’s lively bars and clubs.
Day 3: Travel to Surin. Take the air-conditioned train out of Bangkok, drinking in the beautiful countryside as it whips past. When you get to Surin, transfer to your accommodation before picking up some local delicacies from one of the many food stalls and restaurants in the area.
Day 4-6: Elephant Village Volunteer Project. The village is in a stunning rural setting and is home to a number of elephants. For the next 3 days you’ll be having the unforgettable experience of caring for these incredible animals. Activities include bathing the elephants, feeding them, helping care for them and harvesting their food. Your accommodation is in a homestay with the village elder, where you’ll live like a member of the family.
Day 7: Back to Surin. Enjoy your last day with the elephants before heading back to Surin town. You might stop at a weekly market on the way and try some local foods, including fried insects!
Day 8: Bangkok-bound. Return to the city by train or coach. From here you will travel without a guide, but they’ll leave you with all the info you need. Arrive back in Bangkok, and head to your guesthouse in Khao San. Freshen up at the guesthouse before heading back out into the neon lights of Khao San Road.
Day 9: Bangkok Day & Travel to the Southern Islands. Explore the busy streets of the city further today. Check out some Muay Thai (traditional Thai boxing), practice haggling at a market, get your back cracked with a Thai massage, or just sit back in a café and do some people-watching. This evening, snuggle down on the overnight coach to the South.
Day 10: Arrive in Koh Phangan. Wake up in paradise! You’ll be met by the accommodation providers on arrival and taken to the hotel, which is right on the beach. Make a splash in the pool or grab an iced coconut on the beach. Later, as the beach bars start to turn up the music, sample some of the island’s famous nightlife.
Please note: Destination will be changing to Koh Tao in 2020.
Day 11-13: Beaches & Parties. Kick back and relax with 3 full days to enjoy this little slice of heaven. There’s something for everyone on Phangan, from hidden coves to bustling tourist beaches and yoga classes to water-sports. And of course the island is famous for some of the biggest and best parties in the world. With a bit of luck you’ll be here for one of the famously wild Full Moon Parties.
Day 14: Return to Bangkok. It’s an early check-out today, before you head back to Bangkok by ferry and coach. Arrive back in the city in the evening for one last night enjoying Bangkok’s nightlife.
Day 15: Ta-ta Thailand! The time has come to say goodbye to your new friends, swap contact details and either head home or continue your travels. Sawadee-ka!
Please note that your time on Koh Phangan (or Koh Tao in 2020) will be unguided, giving you time to explore your own pace!
- All accommodation
- 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
- Tour guide for days 1 - 8
- Daily support from coordinators and translators during stay in elephant village
- Airport pick-up
- Bangkok city tour
- Transfer to elephant project
- Transfers to and from elephant village
- Welcome meeting & orientation in Surin
- Financial donation to your chosen project
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- Thai cookery lessons
- Kayaking experience
- Transfer to islands
- Transfer back from islands to Bangkok
- 24 hour emergency support
- Travel insurance
- Some meals
- Entrance fees to the Grand Palace and temples (allow around £10-15)
- Return airport transfer
- Optional activities
All your accommodation is included.
For your first two nights, plus days 8 and 14 you’ll be staying in twin or triple share accommodation in a hostel in Bangkok.
In Surin, you’ll spend three nights at the elephant village (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday), living with the village elder and his family, and the rest of the week you’ll stay in a shared volunteer house in Surin. Let us know if you’re travelling with friends so we can make sure you’re placed at the same accommodation. When staying in the elephant village you’ll live in the house of the village elder and his family. Your group and guide will be with you. You’ll live like a member of the family and be expected to help out with duties such as cleaning and cooking. Accommodation is basic but comfortable. Your host family are very welcoming and will take great care of you. You’ll be staying in shared rooms, sleeping up to five per room, on mattresses on the floor. The rooms are clean and there are fans, and mosquito nets. There is a communal living space with floor cushions and a large shared kitchen where you can help the family prepare traditional Thai meals. The shared bathrooms have warm water and western toilets. You will also have WiFi.
When you are not at the elephant village your group will live together in shared volunteer houses. Each house has shared bedrooms (sleeping 3-5 people), bathrooms with warm showers and western toilets, functional kitchen, in and outdoor seating areas and WiFi. Rooms include beds, bedding, basic storage, fan, mosquito nets and electric sockets. The guesthouses in Surin are on the outskirts of the town centre, only 50 metres from the staff office and 5 minutes from amenities including supermarkets, markets, internet cafes and ATM’s. A laundry service isn’t included, but you can either hand wash your own laundry or pay for your washing to be done by a local laundry service, for a very cheap price.
Please note: During the busy summer months (June-August) you may stay together in a different, comfortable guesthouse in Surin when you are not at the elephant village. One night will be spent on the overnight coach to the islands.
In Koh Phangan, you’ll have four nights in twin or triple share rooms with air-con and en suite facilities in a hotel with pool.
The tour includes 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners.
3 meals a day are included on the days that you are at the elephant village. On your first Monday, breakfast in Surin is not included, but you will arrive in the elephant village in time for an inclusive lunch. On Thursdays, breakfast and lunch are included before you leave and transfer back to Surin.
When you are staying in the guesthouse in Surin, meals are not included, but you can buy ingredients and prepare your own meals in the basic house kitchen.
You’ll have to purchase all other meals yourself. Food in Thailand is affordable and seriously delicious, so it’s a great opportunity to explore the local cuisine. Typical dishes involve rice or noodles and use lots of coconut milk and spices. Famous dishes include green curry (a fragrant coconut milk dish served with chicken or seafood), pad thai (a wok-fried noodle dish with dried shrimp, egg and peanuts) and som tam (a spicy and sour salad made from unripe papaya).Thais usually eat ‘family style’ with several dishes and steamed rice in the middle of the table for everybody to help themselves to.
You’ll need to arrive into Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok between 6am and 8pm on your first day, where you’ll be met by one of our greeters and taken directly to your Bangkok accommodation. We recommend that you arrive before 3pm if possible so that you can join the first night out with you group. Airport pickup is included.
You can depart at any time on your end date. A return transfer back to Bangkok airport is not included but is easy to arrange.
Minimum age to participate in this programme is 18.
It is your responsibility to obtain the necessary visas for your time away. Please ensure your passport is valid, with at least six months validity remaining from the date of your planned return.
Without a visa, British nationals arriving by air can remain in Thailand for a maximum of 30 days, though if you arrive across a land border you may only be able to stay for 15 days. If you want to stay for longer, you’ll need to apply for a 60-day tourist visa before you leave the UK.
Do I Need Any Vaccinations?
We’re not qualified to offer you medical advice, so you should visit your GP well ahead of time to find out what inoculations you might need. Remember to tell them exactly where you’re travelling to as vaccination and medication requirements vary between different Asian regions. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough of any prescribed medication to see you through the duration of your trip.
Should I Bring A Mosquito Net?
You can if you like as nets won’t be supplied in some of the places we’re staying, but if you keep the windows and doors shut and wear repellent, the mozzies shouldn’t bother you too much.
I’m Travelling With A Friend, Can We Stay Together?
Of course! Let us know when you book and we’ll make sure you get to stay in the same room.
How Many People Will Be In My Group With Me?
Group sizes vary from trip to trip. To check the number of people on your start date please contact one of our travel advisers.
How Much Spending Money Should I Bring With Me?
Your accommodation is included in the trip price but you’ll need to bring cash for most meals, drinks and any additional activities you might want to participate in. Food and drink are very affordable in Thailand. Budget around 40THB-200THB/£1-£5 for meals, and between 20THB-150THB/50p-£3.50 for drinks. Extra activities, such as kayaking, scuba diving, excursions, and entrance fees to tourist attractions, can range anywhere from 500THB/£12 to 3500THB/£82 depending on what you want to do – it’s always best to look into costs before you travel. As a rough guide, £350 - £500’s worth of local currency should be a good amount for the 14 days, depending on personal spending habits.