Trip HighlightsTrip code: ETBVT
- Experience the madness of the nightlife in Bangkok
- Explore and volunteer at the amazing elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai
- Take a tour of hundreds of ancient temples in Chiang Mai
- Chill at the beaches of Koh Samui
- Party hard at Koh Phangan island after a thrilling ferry ride
- Explore the natural beauty of the virgin Thai Islands of Koh Tao
- Indulge in some adventurous water sports
- Binge on the local Thai Cuisine, and also learn to cook them!
As the name suggests, you'll get to spend a lot of time with the adorable gentle giants in Chiang Mai, Thailand, before heading off to the pristine beaches at Koh Samui. Can't have a better plan for your Gap Year, right?!! The Elephants 2 Beaches Tour has been designed for all those adventurous souls who can dare to take up challenges and have been bitten by the wanderlust bug! Apart from caring for the elephants at the serene villages and detoxifying at the beaches, you can also splurge into some adventurous activities and feel the adrenaline rush. So what are you waiting for? Thailand is calling you!
Day 1 - Arrival at Chiang Mai
Welcome to Thailand! Our coordinator will be there to receive you at the airport/ train/ coach station and drop you at a guest house. You should inform us about your time of arrival so that we can arrange for a hassle free pick up for you. Relax and take a quick nap at your accommodation. In the evening, we shall have a small introductory session where you can meet all your fellow mates. Later, we'll all head out for dinner and get to know each other better over a drink or two!
Day 2 - Orientation, exploring Chiang Mai and the famous night market.
After breakfast, you'll have the Orientation Session that'll be conducted by the country coordinator. You'll be given a detailed idea about the program, the Dos and Don'ts that you need to follow during your stay and everything else that you need to know.
After the orientation gets over, you can head out to explore the pristine city of Chiang Mai and visit the gorgeous temples. It's only when you'll set out, will you know why Chiang Mai is so popular among the travelers!
The night market of Chiang Mai is quite popular. In the evening, that's going to be our destination for a traditional dinner. You'll surely fall in love with the local food and alcohol, and crave for more!
Day 3 - Travel to the Elephant Village!
You can relax in the morning, or take a tour of the market with your fellow mates. In the afternoon, we shall embark on our journey towards the elephant village, that's located near the hills, on the outskirts of the main city.
Here, you'll be staying in close contact with the elephants and the mahout community (the caretakers of the elephants). On arrival, there will be a brief orientation regarding the itinerary of the next few days. You’ll then be introduced to the elephants, something that's surely one of the highlights of this tour!
Day 4 - Volunteering at the Elephant Camp
A start to a great new experience! You'll be spending all your day with the elephants at the camp - bathing and feeding them, cleaning the shelter, taking them out for a walk and playing with the little elephant calves. You'll also get to learn more about the lives of the Asian elephants from the mahouts.
Day 5 - Wrapping up at the elephant village and head towards Koh Samui
Your day will begin with the elephants! You'll take them out for a walk and then clean their shelter, feed them and bathe them as usual. Then, there will be a short session where our coordinator will tell you about the upcoming day's' schedule and after that, we'll take a short flight to Surat Thani.
From there, we'll take a coach ride followed by a ferry ride, before we finally reach the island. Freshen up at the volunteer house and relax! You can plan for some activities in the evening, or just share your stories with your fellow mates.
For the next 4 days, you can either choose to volunteer and serve the underprivileged kids, or you can go for some extra adventure!
Day 6 to Day 9 - Option 1- Volunteering
Having a volunteering experience during your Gap Year abroad will immensely benefit your CV / Resume. You can either choose to teach the little ones at one of the three government schools on the island or you can get engaged in developmental work within the school premises.
Teaching Project - Volunteers will have to teach basic English and Maths to the kids, and keep them engaged in activities that'll help them learn something as well. While your contribution might seem to be very little, its impact will be large. You have the potential to actually make a difference in someone's life.
Developmental Work - Under this, you'll have to renovate the school, make the environment more vibrant and colorful, clean the premises and plant trees. You don’t have to be an expert - all you need is a little creativity and you can do wonders!
Note: Lunch will be served to all the volunteers, on all working days.
Day 6 to Day 9 - Option 2 - Adventure Tour
For all the adventure junkies, fasten your belts as we are going to take you on a roller coaster ride! Ah, no, just kidding! It's time for you to explore the virgin island of Koh Tan - it's how Koh Samui used to be like, 40 years back! Spend your days exploring, swimming, sunbathing, enjoying beach games and more at Koh Tan. Visit one of Asia’s ancient wonders - the Ang Thong Marine Park. And there's much more - you should also gear up for X-Quad! You're going to have some adrenaline-fuelled fun!
Day 10 - Meet at Koh Samui
All volunteers and adventure-junkies will meet at Koh Samui before heading off to Koh Tao
All the folks will come back to the accommodation after their individual journeys and share their stories with others. You can also show your photographs to your fellow mates. Before heading off to Koh Tao, we shall pay a quick visit to an underprivileged school where many of our participants have volunteered and served before.
We’ll then head off to the pier to take the ferry over to Koh Tao island. We’ll be at our lovely resort by late afternoon where you can just relax or run barefoot on the sand and take a dip in the water.
Day 11 - Marine Conservation Project at Koh Tao
Paying a visit to the Koh Tao Marine Conservation Project would be an amazing addition to your entire experience. This project is responsible for the breed, care, and conservation of the local turtle population and needs constant support.
Day 12 - Farewell party!
Today, we’ll go for the Koh Tao boat tour. We’ll set sail on the high seas today to see Koh Tao from a different angle. There’ll be plenty of time to swim and snorkel, soak in the sun and think about the incredible two weeks we’ve had!
Tonight, get dressed up and head towards the beaches. This is your last day on the island, and what can be more fun than a farewell party!
Day 13 - Travel to Bangkok
The amazing tour has reached its last leg! Today, you'll travel to Bangkok and visit some of the popular tourist destinations including the markets and Wats. And of course, how can you miss the nightlife at Khao San Road! Pick up the souvenirs that you wish to take back home, have your share of Pad Thai Noodles and party hard with your fellow mates. Rest assured, you'll miss them a lot, as much as you'll miss Thailand!
Day 14 - Travel back home!
Saying goodbye is hard, but all good things come to an end! We shall all meet for breakfast, which will be followed by group photo sessions. In case any of you need help making onward travel arrangements, our in-country team will assist you.
Dates & Cost
- Airport pickup and transfer on arrival into Chiang Mai (if arriving on the tour start date)
- In-depth orientation in Chiang Mai before a guided tour of the city’s best landmarks
- Return transfer to the elephant sanctuary
- All meals whilst volunteering at the elephant sanctuary
- Flight from Chiang Mai to Surat Thani then transfer to Koh Samui island
- Accommodation in our very own house on Koh Samui
- Choice of volunteering or adventure during your time on Samui
- All activities and transport as outlined in the itinerary
- Lunch each day during your time on Koh Samui (adventure or volunteering)
- All project costs for materials during volunteering on Samui
- Ferry transfer from Koh Samui to Koh Tao
- 3 nights on Koh Tao
- Day trip to our supported turtle program with donation to support their ongoing work
- Ferry and coach transfer from Koh Tao to Bangkok
- In-depth pre-departure information
- The tour is fully guided by award-winning experienced, English speaking coordinators
- International/Domestic Airfare
- Visa fees
- Travel insurance (available at nominal cost)
- Local transportation to and fro program location
- Departure transfer to airport (can be arranged at nominal cost)