2019 Essential Cambodia & Thai Elephants

  • Duration: 14 DAY(S)
  • Type: Conservation, Wildlife Protection, Volunteer – Village and Ele Sanctuary
  • Project Rating:
  • Physical Rating:
    – Medium fitness level

Cultural immersion, volunteer work and animal conservation.


Get to know the real Cambodia. Each day you travel by tuk-tuk from Siem Reap to a local village. You will be welcomed into the community, eating and socializing with them. You will be amazed at how quickly and warmly you are embraced and how hard your goodbye will be.

At the start of week two, we will journey across the Thai/Cambodian border across the flat plains that have been the ancient home of the Gwi people, elephant keepers for thousands of years. Technology has brought change to their lives. Elephants are no longer used for working purposes. You will be part of a new program that is helping these people transition from the old ways of elephant training and working to a new and more humane approach of establishing an elephant sanctuary. The transition is underway but not without its hiccups. Be part of the change that improves the lives of the Gwi people and the elephants.

Basic Itinerary
DAY 1 Itinerary

Your amazing Team Leader will be waiting for you at Siem Reap Airport (REP) when you land. Look out for the friendly face wearing an ROV shirt. There is a tuk-tuk ride to the hotel then you check into your hotel room. Now, it's time to explore Siem Reap on a walking tour with other volunteers. Tonight there is a group dinner at a local restaurant, followed by a tour of the night markets and some bug tasting for anyone brave enough!

DAY 2 Itinerary

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before being collected by Tuk Tuk to go to the building project. Once you arrive in the village there will be an orientation and introduction to the community and the project you will be working on.

Then get stuck into the project! This may be building a classroom, a house for the disadvantaged, repairs to houses or classrooms, or other projects based on community needs. The projects differ each program set but will always reflect the needs of the communities we work with.

Lunch is on-site at the project. It's usually cooked by the local women and you’ll experience traditional Cambodian village cooking – it is delicious! And, it is another way that ROV looks for ways for local people to earn extra money by su

There is some downtime after lunch to recoup and relax on a hammock before getting back to work. The remainder of the afternoon is spent working on the project and playing with the children after school.

Enjoy some free time before dinner – relax by the hotel pool, read a good book, play games with the other volunteers or catch up on some Netflix.

Tonight dinner will be takeout eaten at the hotel. You will then be involved in a language class to help you learn some key Khmer words

DAY 3 Itinerary

Breakfast at the hotel before being collected by Tuk Tuk to go to the building project.

Project work continues, and you will rotate between tasks with your fellow teammates.

Lunch is again on site where you will get to sample more tasty Khmer food. While you escape the heat of the day, enjoy resting on hammocks or playing a game of cards.

You will continue working on your building project and in the afternoon will try and compete against the children playing football – prepare yourself, they're good!

On return to the accommodation you have some free time to have a shower and relax before dinner.

Tonight you will be treated to a Khmer BBQ where you get to cook your own food right at the table!

DAY 4 Itinerary

Special local breakfast followed by Tuk Tuk to project.

Return to accommodation by Tuk Tuk.

Local Khmer massage after dinner.

DAY 5 Itinerary

Your group will visit Angkor Wat at sunrise. Breakfast will either be at the hotel or takeaway at Angkor Wat.

You will be taken on a guided tour of Angkor Wat temples one of which is the largest religious monuments in the world. You’ll then explore Ta Prohm temple, which was filmed in Tomb Raider and have the opportunity to explore the surrounding temples and be amazed by the beauty of Cambodia’s rich history.

On return from Angkor Wat, you will have some free time or have the opportunity to experience the floating villages before dinner.

As a group, you will eat dinner at a local restaurant in Siem Reap. Then after dinner you are in for a treat as we take you for a Khmer massage. Your legs will thank us!

DAY 6 Itinerary

Breakfast will be served at the accommodation before being transported by Tuk Tuk to the project. This will be your final day on the project, and you will really see the incredible difference you have made.

After the morning’s project work there will then be a thank you ceremony with the children in the community – get your camera and tissues ready!

Lunch will be eaten on-site and you will have some time to relax/play with the children at the school/community before finishing the final tasks on the building project. Your contribution to the project will have a lasting impact on the community for years to come and we are so thankful for all of your hard work.

On return from the project, you can enjoy some time to relax before going to dinner at a local restaurant.

Friday night is then carnival night! We will take you to a local carnival where you can go on some rides or even try some bugs and spiders!

DAY 7 Itinerary

Breakfast is at the accommodation.

This morning is optional activity day, and anyone who has purchased the Kulen Mountain & Circus package will spend the day exploring the waterfalls and then seeing a local acrobatic circus.

For those who have not purchased add ons, you will have the day to yourself to explore Siem Reap, grab a massage, relax by the pool or shop till you drop at the markets.

Dinner will be eaten as a group at a local restaurant.

Those who purchased the Add On package will go to the Acrobatic Circus. Others can enjoy some free time.

Tomorrow will be an early start as you depart for the Elephant Sanctuary! You might want to purchase some snacks for your journey.

DAY 8 Itinerary

After an early breakfast at the accommodation venue, you will depart for the elephant sanctuary in Thailand.

You will stop for lunch at our Eco-Sanctuary and then make your way to the border where you will cross into Thailand. From here you will continue your travels to Surin.

On arrival, you will be shown to your accommodation for the next week. This will be a homestay where you are staying with volunteers in your group and a local family that has been selected. There will then be orientation and you’ll meet the elephants. Did we mention there are baby elephants?!

Dinner will then be served, followed by a welcome ceremony and blessing.

DAY 9 Itinerary

Please note over the coming days you will be involved in a variety of tasks at the sanctuary. These will change from time to time and are reflective of the current needs of the elephants and community. Groups will rotate throughout the various tasks.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner each day are served in the local community where you will enjoy wonderful Thai food.

Each day you will be involved in the following work to assist the elephants and community: planting rice, harvesting sugar cane, preparing food for the elephants, feeding the elephants, cleaning elephant enclosures, bathing the elephants, walking the elephants to the nearby lake etc.

During your stay in the sanctuary community, there will also be language & history classes, monk blessings and a day on the lake.

DAY 10 Itinerary

Sleeping in the village at night is such an experience. The sounds are not at all like anything you will have experienced before. If at first it is a little unnerving be assured by the last day here you will wonder how you will go to sleep without those comforting sounds of night life in a village. 

DAY 11 Itinerary

The meals are prepared by the local women and they take pride in what you are served. You will be amazed at how good and how different the meals are. They are tasty and filling yet still "light". There are lots of fresh vegetables served with noodles and rice. You won't go hungry and vegetarians will have no problems finding lots to eat.  

DAY 12 Itinerary

You will be in the "swing" of village life by today. Early wake-ups, fresh food, lots of outdoor work and walking. You are going to miss village life!

DAY 13 Itinerary

Today you will depart the elephant sanctuary after breakfast and make your way to Bangkok for your final night of the trip.

On arrival in Bangkok, you will settle in at the accommodation and then have lunch out at a local restaurant.

There will be time in the afternoon to explore the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and do some shopping.

Dinner will be out at a local restaurant, followed by a night out in Bangkok where you will be treated to a cocktail/mocktail.

DAY 14 Itinerary

Breakfast will be at the accommodation venue, and lunch at a local restaurant. Volunteers will be departing at various times of the day and will be dropped at Bangkok Airport (BKK).

What's Included
  1. All on ground transport incl. airport transfers
  2. All main meals & drinking water
  3. All accommodation
  4. ROV Project Leader
  5. Guided tour of Angkor Wat
  6. All building materials for ROV project
  7. Khmer Culture: Language & History
  8. Traditional Cuisine: Khmer BBQ
  9. bug tasting and eat in local restaurants
  10. Siem Reap Experience: Markets
  11. Carnival and Apsara show
  12. Relaxing and fun water activities in Thailand

For more details see your Program Booklet.

Included Meals
  1. All meals are included.
  1. Kulan Mountain ($59.95)
  2. Extra night before program (Siem Reap) ($45.00)
  3. Acrobatic Circus ($32.50)
  4. Flight Booking Service ($75.00)
  5. Airport Collection & Drop-Off (Siem Reap -Bangkok or Chiang Mai) ($18.00)
  6. Standard ROV T-Shirt (Unisex) ($10.00)
Airport Information

For your program, you will need to arrive and depart from the following airport/s. Please note you have different arrival and departure airports

Arrival: Siem Reap International (REP) – you can arrive at any time between 8 am and midnight on the first day of the program and we’ll pick you up from the airport.

Departure: Bangkok International (BKK) – you can depart at any time between 8 am and midnight on the final day of the program and we will drop you off at the airport with time for your flight home.

If you haven’t traveled much, or booked flights before we also offer a flight assistance service in which we help you in booking your flights for the program. We’ve booked hundreds of flights for our volunteers, and will make sure you get to where you need to be on the right date. After ten years of international travel, we’ve gotten pretty good at it. For more information please take a look at your volunteer profile in the Add Ons section.


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  • Program cost $1,949.00/ person

  • Program cost excludes flights.

Program cost $1,949.00