Culture

 

Learning

 

Leisure

 

Community engagement

 

Physical demand

 

  • All meals included Yes
  • Free beverages Yes
  • Persons per room 2 - 4
  • Wifi in public areas Yes
  • Laundry facilities Yes
  • Safety box No
  • Lockable rooms Yes
  • Hot shower Yes
  • Private bathroom Yes
  • Western toilet Yes
  • Bed linen Yes
  • Towels No
  • Mosquito protection Yes
  • Fan Yes
  • Air conditioning No

Program & Schedule

Besides being notable throughout Thailand for its sensational scenery, Umphang is well known for its elephant population. Traditionally, these Asian Elephants have been carried out farm work and logging. Fortunately, the elephants are treated with a higher level of respect these days.

The program allows you to simultaneously interact with elephants, while discovering one of Thailand’s most breathtaking landscapes. You will have the experience of spending time, bonding and fully engaging with these incredible elephants as they roam in their natural habitat. You will be able to observe, walk with, swim with, and even bathe the elephants on a daily basis, because there is a beautiful lake on the property. If you like you can also choose to go rafting on the lake as well.

Additionally, you will help with the preparation of food for the elephants. Typically, this comes in the form of Bana grass, sugarcane and banana plants. You will also assist with the health check-ups of these “gentle giants” when required. You will be spending time alongside experienced mahouts, who have spent their entire lives gaining an understanding of the elephants and how best to care for them.

Please remember that we are here to take care of these graceful creatures and there will be no exploitation of the animals occurring at this project.

There are two beautiful waterfalls nearby, the Nam Tok Tharark and Nam Tok Pha Charoen. They offer a perfect place to visit and cool down for the day and both of these will be visited during your project.

Aims & Objectives

  • Improve and maintain the natural environment that the Asian Elephants live in while taking care of them
  • Give you a unique, unforgettable experience of Thailand’s culture
  • Assist the local staff by providing an extra hand

Schedule

Sunday

You will be transferred from Singburi to the project site by bus in the evening (around 20:00)

Monday

  • Pick up from Mae sot bus station to head to Umphang by local truck (4 hours)
  • Breakfast
  • Time to rest and relax
  • Lunch
  • Visit the elephants to feed them
  • Dinner

Tuesday

  • Breakfast
  • Cut banana trees to feed the elephants
  • Feed the elephants
  • Lunch
  • Washing and swimming with the elephants
  • Kayaking or canoeing (depending on weather)
  • Dinner

Wednesday

  • Breakfast
  • Cut banana trees to feed the the elephants
  • Feed the elephants
  • Lunch
  • Washing & swimming with the elephants
  • Visit a nearby Karen Tribe village
  • Dinner

Thursday

  • Breakfast
  • Cut banana trees to feed the the elephants
  • Feed the elephants
  • Lunch
  • Washing & swimming with the elephants
  • Head to the mountain to see the sunset (possibility for camping if weather is good)
  • Dinner

Friday

  • Breakfast
  • A short trek to reach a gorgeous waterfall where we can swim and relax
  • Lunch
  • Back to the guest house
  • Time to relax
  • Dinner

Saturday

Transfer back to Singburi if you are continuing further programs with us. For those whose this week is their last, we will transfer you to Mae Sot bus station, which has excellent connections to the rest of Thailand.

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:                -

Maximum age:                -

Minimum English level:        Basic

CRB required:                On Signup

Passport copy required:        No

Resume copy required:        No

Required qualification:        None

Additional Requirements

There are no further requirements for this program.

Living & Location

Umphang is the southernmost district of Tak Province in Thailand and is well known not only for its elephants, but also for its incredible landscapes and natural sceneries.

Set amid numerous national parks, mountains and lakes, you will find yourself surrounded by nature and beauty at its finest. It offers a peaceful environment and a perfect setting to see the elephants enjoy their natural habitat.

Our accommodation here is at a wooden cabin guest house. There is even a bar to enjoy in the evenings!

Food Arrangements

Three healthy and delicious meals will be provided each day, carefully balancing Thai food for the Western tongue.

Facilities

There are Thai restaurants, bars, and shops located within walking distance from the accommodation as it’s in the middle of a small yet lively village.

There is an ATM machine nearby at a 7/11.

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the program.

Sights & Surroundings

Since our Umphang accommodation is set in such a beautiful and unspoilt natural environment, you can go for a trek and be in awe at the Thi Lo Su waterfall (you visit this on the program schedule), which is supposedly the largest waterfall in Thailand. While trekking in the area, you might also stumble across Karen hill tribe villages, originally Burmese people who have since spread across the Thai-Karen border.

Umphang village is home to 3 temples and you can always catch the monks and provide alms in the morning (around 6 am).

Transportation

From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):

  • Akha Village Chiang Rai
  • All around Thailand
  • Around Thailand
  • Hua Hin
  • Kaeng Krachan
  • Kanchanaburi
  • Mae Sot
  • Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Singburi
  • Suphan Buri
  • Train Track Northern Thailand
  • Trunk to the South
  • Wang Nam Khiao

Quick Facts

Name:                Kingdom of Thailand        

Population:        67 million

Capital:        Bangkok

Language:        Thai

Currency:        Baht (THB)

Time zone:        ICT (UTC +7)

Country Information

From trekking in the beautiful mountains of the north to enjoying the glorious beaches in the south and  experiencing the hustle and bustle of the metropolis that is Bangkok, Thailand is certainly not a country that lacks variety.

Whilst it really is at the heart of Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, its cultural identity remains very unique. As the only country in Southeast Asia to avoid European powers, the Thai are proud to refer to themselves as ‘The Land of the Free’ and many tourists might also know it as ‘The Land of Smiles’ due to its friendly people.

Thailand has a constitutional monarchy currently headed by Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, Rama X and governed by a military junta (National Council for Peace and Order). The Thai monarchy - especially the King - remains an incredibly important part of Thai culture and is held in the highest respect.

Climate

The majority of the country is home to a tropical savanna climate which consists of wet and dry seasons of a roughly equal length. The climate can be divided into three distinct seasons:

  • Dry season: November - end of February. During this period, precipitation is at its lowest but so are the temperatures. This said, ‘low temperatures’ are of course relative and the difference is not in fact very different at all in the South. It is only if you will be visiting the northern mountains that you might need to bring some warmer clothes as temperatures can fall as low as 5°C. This period is, not surprisingly, the most popular time to visit Thailand and tourism peaks around Christmas and New Year as well as Chinese New year. Flights and accommodation at this time can be more expensive.
  • Hot: March to June. During this time Thailand reaches its hottest temperatures (as high as 50°C).
  • Rainy: July - October. This is when the tropical monsoons begin to arrive, peaking in September. Although this is indeed rainy season, it doesn’t mean that it rains non-stop. Storms can clear up very quickly, but when it does rain, heavy flooding is not rare.

Culture

A significant feature of Thai culture is its primary religion: Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism is supported by the government and practiced by an estimated 95% of its population. Thailand not only boasts tens of thousands of beautiful temples, but you will notice that a lot of Thai people have miniature Spirit Houses on their front yards because they believe that the household spirits live in them and they make offerings to them to keep the spirits happy.

Another feature of Thai culture is the wai greeting, which is essentially a slight bow with palms pressed together in a prayer-like manner to show respect. This can be compared to the Indian namasté. Things to know about this:

  • The higher the hands in relation to the face and the deeper the bow, the more respect is shown.
  • It is made before formally entering/leaving a house
  • It can also be made as a sign of gratitude or apology
  • You do not make the greeting to those who are younger than you unless you are returning the wai.
  • The gesture is normally accompanied with the phrase “sawadee (krap/ka)” (“krap” if you are  male and “ka” if you are female)
  • A corporate wai (made by cashiers etc) can be returned with a smile or a nod

The major festival in Thailand is Thai New Year, known as Songkran. It is celebrated on the 13th-14th April of every year. It is a festival that concludes the dry season and involves a lot of water throwing!

Gastronomy

Thai cuisine is very nutritious and alongside its plentiful use of rice, it generally contains fresh vegetables and white meats like chicken and fish. Thai people love spicy food but do not fear if you do not, just say ‘mai pet’ when you order. However, the flavors are not only about the spice, as many people believe. Thai food can be slightly salty, sour and/or sweet, so there really is something to suit everyone’s palate.