Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Elephant Sanctuary Volunteer Project, Cambodia

2-8 Weeks from

minimum age

  • Observe elephants in their natural habitat
  • Assist with the daily work of an Ethical Elephant sanctuary
  • Live and work in a vast tropical forest in Cambodia
  • Meet people from around the world

Food, Lodging & Travel

Volunteers will be staying at the Elephant Sanctuary site for 2 weeks (minimum) in shared dorm style accommodation. The accommodation is placed on the slopes of the valley providing some great views over the surrounding forest and wildlife that inhabits it like certain types of birds, such as eagles and hornbills.  Sunset can be spent unwinding at the lounge/kitchen/dining area, enjoying the amazing sounds of the nocturnal forest creatures as they prepare to sleep. Wake up to the hauntingly beautiful call of the Yellow-cheeked crested gibbons that call this forest their home. Interestingly the main project buildings are made from mostly recycled and salvaged materials and have all been built by local villagers working with volunteers over the years.  There are also options for private jungle bungalows for couples or families and a large bungalow for groups (please enquire for more details).

All meals are prepared by the chefs and are delicious and plentiful. Meals depend on seasonal products available at the market, but include a wide variety of beef, pork, fish and vegetable dishes. Every meal ends with a platter of fresh fruit. It is possible to accommodate Vegetarians, Vegans, and other dietary preferences. Free and safe drinking water is readily available from the kitchen.

The base camp’s electricity supply is powered by a generator from approximately 6 PM until 9 PM, when you will have lights and be able to recharge your electrical equipment. It is essential that you bring a torch for all other times, and for walking between the bungalows and the kitchen/lounge/dinning area. There is no internet once at the Sanctuary in the forest. You will be able to access Internet during the weekends in Sen Monorom. Housekeeping will make up the rooms each day, and there is a free laundry service available for volunteers.

On the first night if you add on the transfer package, (Saturday to Sunday) upon arrival in Phnom Penh, volunteers will be staying at a guest house/hotel in the city. Dinner, breakfast and lunch for the road the next day is provided for the volunteers as part of the package. On the last night (Friday-Saturday), volunteers will stay in shared accommodation in the town Sen Monorom, before being transferred back to Phnom Penh early Saturday morning. Dinner on Friday night is not provided, but volunteers usually go out to eat together.

The project is closed during weekends for the elephants to have some peace. Therefore all volunteers will go back to Sen Monorom on Friday afternoon together and stay in the shared accommodation. Volunteers have the weekend free until Sunday afternoon, where they will go back to the Elephant Sanctuary.

Volunteer Requirements

Volunteers should be aged 18 years or over*, be moderate to very physically fit (capable of walking several kilometres per day in varied/hard terrain), and speak English. Volunteers should have a strong motivation to help and contribute to the community and animal welfare, and be able to cope with living and working in hot (and sometimes wet) conditions.

*We can also accept families with children under 18 years for this project.

Visa to Cambodia

Local mahout looking after elephantYou can stay in Cambodia on a Tourist visa for 30 days. You can apply for this online before departure, and the 30 days starts when you enter the country. Your passport needs to be valid for minimum 6 months upon entry. It is only possible to extend your visa once for another 30 days and you would need to pay an extra fee. It is not recommended to overstay the allowed time of your visa, as this could involve a penalty fee and/or not being able to enter the country again.

How to get there

Volunteers should fly to Phnom Penh airport (PNH) for a Saturday arrival at the latest for a Sunday start. You can opt for an add on transfers package at £230 GB pounds per person, which  includes – Airport pickup on Saturday night, 1 night accommodation in Phnom Penh (dinner/bed/breakfast), private transport to Mondulkiri with English speaking driver (with other volunteers arriving that week) including lunch stop on the way, transfer back to the city of Phnom Penh at the end of volunteer programme (VIP minivan – public bus).

You should arrive in Phnom Penh on a Saturday. If you arrive in Phnom Penh earlier than this, you would need to arrange your own airport transfer and accommodation until Saturday. If arriving 1-2 days before Saturday, we are able to assist you with arranging accommodation at the same guest house for extra night(s).

Health Information

No health certificates or vaccinations are officially required for entry to Cambodia, unless arriving directly from Africa or a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Generally advised are vaccinations against Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A + B, Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis. Consider anti-malaria tablets as the project is located in the mountain forest, which in particular is prone to mosquitoes during and just before the end of the rainy season.

Elephant Sanctuary Volunteer Project, Cambodia

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