Chiang Mai, Thailand

Jul 31 - Aug 8, 2016
  • Trip Type:
  • Pilot Program

IMG_0737This one week elephant medicine and conservation project is geared towards veterinary students and pre-veterinary students, however select positions are available for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. IMG_0690This project will be held at an elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand. Around 65 elephants reside at the sanctuary that is also home to a herd of water buffalo, and brahman cattle, horses, small ruminants, many avian species, rabbits, pigs, and over 450 dogs and over 250 cats. Students will work with the resident elephant veterinarian and will have the opportunity to not only learn about a variety of topics relIMG_0707ated to elephant conservation and medicine but also have the opportunity for hands-on work helping to treat a variety of cases. Caseload depends on current medical conditions but also includes daily treatments for chronic cases such as limb injuries from landmines and eye conditions at the sanctuary’s elephant vet clinic. Days start early as there is usually a large amount of work each day. The elephants have been rescued over the years from a variety of situations including logging operations, elephant-riding camps and inhumane working conditions. The elephants now enjoy a life where they roam freely throughout the day with their family groups in a beautiful river valley in northern Thailand.

  • What’s Included: Volunteer it, pre – trip planning and coordination (as per the project itinerary), accommodations for 8 nights, breakfast, lunch and dinner while at the elephant sanctuary (buffet style), airport transfers per established dates/times, ground transportation related project and full participation in project.
  • What’s not included: International airfare, incidentals, travel and/or health insurance, World Vets membership fee ($40 USD), and anything not specifically outlined as included. Volunteers are also responsible for obtaining any travel documentation required of them to enter/exit Thailand (i.e a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure, visa if applicable).
A few special notes:
  • Those who opt for the “deposit” registration/payment option will need to pay the final amount of $1,050.00 USD by if not before May 20th, 2016. Final payment can be paid via a personal check, money order, or credit card.  You may request an online payment link by contacting Please note that payments made via credit card will incur a 3.5% processing fee.
  • The breakfast, lunch and dinner provided will be served buffet style and consist of vegetarian Thai food options. Those who have strict dietary restrictions will need to bring their own supplements and/or snacks for the week.
  • Veterinarians and/or veterinary technicians who register for this opportunity should be aware that this project is geared towards students. As such,  they will be incorporated into the student group and will be expected to be involved in the same activities, schedule and itinerary as students.
  • Internet access will be unreliable at the sanctuary. If volunteers need to be connected during the project, it is recommended that they purchase a local Sim card for their phone at any 7 Eleven in Chiang Mai before coming to to the sanctuary. This way, the SIM card in the phone can be used as a hot spot for accessing email, Skyping, etc
  • World Vets is not able to provide medical advice. Volunteers are encouraged to consult with their family physician, nearest travel clinic and/or center for disease control regarding recommended immunizations and/or health precautions prior to the trip. Although not a requirement to participate on a World Vets project, it is recommended that volunteers be vaccinated for rabies.
  • We understand that sometimes unexpected things can happen to stop a volunteer being able to participate in a project. For that reason, we highly recommend that you obtain some form of insurance for your trip.  Affordable travelers insurance can be found here, which can also cover trip cancellation in some circumstances and covered reasons. You must read the policy wording to ensure the policy is a fit for your needs. World Vets project fees are non-refundable and non-transferable (to another person or to another project).  We encourage volunteers to make sure the dates of our projects do not conflict with any prior engagements before signing up.
  • Please read and make sure you understand World Vets Terms & Conditions


Day 1 (July 31): Official Arrival Day

Arrive at Chiang Mai International Airport. Airport Code: CNX. Multiple airport transfers may be available and will be based on the arrival times of the majority. Upon arrival, the team will check into basic lodging in Chiang Mai for the night.

Once the flight for the field service veterinarian is booked, it will be shared with you via email. Once you have booked your flight, please send your flight information (i.e. arrival/departure time, airline carrier, flight numbers) to

*Flight and/or travel information must be submitted by if not before July 1, 2016

Day 2 (August 1): Travel/Orientation

Today you will travel from Chiang Mai to the elephant sanctuary (~ 1hr) and begin your adventure!

Day 3 – 8 (August 2 – 7): Veterinary work

For the duration of the week, you will work as a group with the resident elephant  veterinarian.There will be a mix of direct hands-on work as well as informative chats/discussions on educational topics relating to elephant medicine and conservation. One day will be set aside to work with small animals at a dog shelter which is also housed on the grounds of the sanctuary.

Day 9 (August 8): Official Departure day

Today is the official end date of the project and signifies the departure of the team. Multiple airport shuttles may be available based on the departure times of the majority.

For volunteers who wish to extend their stay, this is something that is not included in the project fee. Also, please know that if you stay past the official end date of the project, you will then be responsible for your return transportation to the airport.

Please note: itinerary subject to change without notice


For the duration of the week all participants will live/sleep at the elephant sanctuary. This will provide you with an opportunity to be immersed and surrounded by elephants from the moment you wake to moment you fall asleep! Lodging will be shared and is dormitory style.Participants should expect cold water for showers and no A/C.


General Packing List

*NOTE:  This is a general packing list.
Please research your project's forecast information for weather permitting items.


  • Shoes (anything comfortable w/ covered toes for clinic days)
  • World Vets scrub top (required during clinic days)
  • Scrub pants (optional)
  • Pants
  • T-shirts (weather permitting)
  • Shorts (weather permitting - shorts are ok for surgery)
  • Bandana/hat
  • Swimsuit (weather permitting)
  • Sweatshirt (weather permitting)
  • Light jacket (weather permitting)
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle (highly recommended)
  • Headlamp (highly recommended)
  • Camera
  • Tote bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Prescription medications
  • Over the counter meds (Tylenol, Imodium, cold meds etc)
  • Personal bottle of hand sanitizer (highly recommended)
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen (highly recommended)
  • Bug spray (DEET) (highly recommended)
  • Brush
  • Band-Aids
  • Glasses/contact lenses
  • Beach Towel (if applicable)
  • Ear Plugs
  • Flip Flops/Shower shoes/Water shoes