Family volunteering in Thailand at a wildlife sanctuary
Preserve and protect hundreds of extraordinary animals at this wildlife paradise with your family. The animals range from sun bears to monkeys, macaques to birds and much more – with elephants closeby at the neighbouring elephant sanctuary! Immerse your family into the wild and make a valuable contribution to this worthwhile venture.
Dates: This project runs throughout the year. Arrival day is a Sunday.
Suitability: To work at the sanctuary, children need to be a minimum of 12 years of age at the point of departure. You will need to be happy to get stuck in and mucky, prepared to live in rustic accommodation and be open to a very different experience.
Take your family on an adventure to a wildlife sanctuary situated in the heart of the Thai jungle – the home of over 400 animals rescued from neglect, abuse and the cruel tourist trade. You and your family will work as part of a team to create a safe haven for the bears, birds, monkeys, gibbons and macaques, to name but a few. If your family loves animals, they will enjoy becoming part of this extensive and important programme.
Your family’s main role at the sanctuary will be providing the help that is required to continue the fantastic work done here. Daily activities will include feeding, cleaning, observation, education and enrichment. As you carry out your various tasks, you will hear the sounds of the monkeys chattering, the bears growling and the birds calling – and to see the animals enjoying their new lives here is a real privilege. The aim of the sanctuary is to nurture, love and care for the animals, and to reintroduce them to their natural habitat once they are ready, or provide a home that is as close to the wild as possible if they are not.
This is a hands-on project and, because of the nature of the work, it can be physically demanding. Because of this, we ask that children are a minimum of 12 at the point of taking part.
What will we be doing?
To provide for so many animals, food preparation and feeding will be a key part to your family’s day, giving you a great deal of interaction and time with the animals. Other key tasks that your family will be involved in include monitoring behaviour, developing enrichment programmes and assisting in rehabilitating monkeys and gibbons. No two days will be the same as tasks will be tailored to the animals’ needs, but your family can expect to be getting involved in a variety of the following activities:
- Food preparation for the primates, bears and nocturnal creatures
- Cleaning enclosures, eating stations and pools
- Routine enrichments for the primates and other animals
- Observation of the animals
- Educational promotion of the centre and animal welfare issues to visitors and local school groups
- Building and maintenance of enclosures
- The ‘water run’ – making sure that the animals are well watered
- Conservation projects around the sanctuary
Where will we be based?
The sanctuart is on the Malay Peninsula, approximately 3 hours south of Bangkok. The location is fantastic as not only are you close the sprawling Kaeng Krachang National Park, you are also only 30 minutes from the beach towns of Hua Hin and Cha Am. The sanctuary is located on the outskirts of a small village, and your life alongside the locals means you will feel like part of the community very quickly. There is plenty to keep you all busy when you want to be!
Accommodation and Food
The accommodation is at the heart of the sanctuary, where you and your family will fall asleep to the calls of the birds, the trumpeting of the elephants and the chattering of the monkeys. You will share accommodation as a family.
There are plenty of areas for you to relax with fellow volunteers in a sheltered and comfortable environment, never far from the animals. Your meals are provided on site with a delicious hot buffet for your lunch and dinner, and a large continental breakfast selection.
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- Completely immerse yourself and your family in a worthwhile animal welfare and conservation project.
- Interact with a range of animals as you help different species adapt to their new environment.
- Live off the beaten track surrounded by the sights and sounds of Thailand’s beautiful forests.
- Enjoy exploring the local area on your time off – from the small villages to the stunning beaches.
- Create unforgettable family memories as you share the new experiences and spend time working together to achieve an end goal.
Whyshould I do this?
This work is crucial, as it allows for the smooth running of the sanctuary and means that more mistreated animals in distress can be cared for. Without the help of the volunteers to ensure the day to day running of the sanctuary, the full time workers would not be able to build more enclosures, or rescue more animals in need of help. If your family love animals, you can learn a great deal about some amazing species and work closely with them to assist their rehabilitation.
You will fly in to Bangkok (BKK) where your family will be collected and taken to the sanctuary. Please make sure that your flight arrives before 2pm on a Sunday for your airport pick up. The drive can take up to three hours travelling south of Bangkok onto the Malay Peninsula. Particularly the last section of the drive is beautiful, through small communities and green fields and forests.
Edwin was born in the Netherlands, and spent the earlier part of his life in the army. Following his army career he worked in Thailand and became increasingly involved in animal welfare. Concerned by some of the practices he saw, he founded the centre to provide a home for displaced and abused animals. Edwin has lived in Thailand for 24 years, speaks fluent Thai (amongst other languages) and is fully embedded into the Thai culture.
What is provided
- Before booking: Dedicated period of time on the phone or in person to discuss the project, answer any questions that you might have and find out more about you
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking.
- Pre-departure briefing covering medical and safety features
- Help and advice 24/7 from our UK office
- Visa advice (which will vary depending on length of stay)
- Met personally at Bangkok airport and taken to the project
- Full induction on arrival
- Clean, convenient accommodation on site
- Three meals a day, which includes home-cooked hot Thai food twice a day
- A practical and theoretical education on the challenges facing animal conservation
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- Each family member will need a full passport valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date
- Flights to Bangkok (Oyster can help you to organise these)
- Insurance covering your project time and any planned independent travel, we can introduce you to a policy
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to
- Cost of a hotel in Bangkok if arriving too late for the transfer (before 2pm)
- Independent travel costs and return to the airport
- Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow maybe £25 per week depending on lifestyle)
- No visa is necessary for under 30 days from UK and most western European countries. Advice given on longer stays.
- You must have your diphtheria, tetanus and polio – without these you will not be allowed to work on the project