Voluntour Thailand – Surin


Where is Surin?

Surin is one of the northeastern provinces of Thailand, best known for its famous Elephant Round up Festival which is held every year. If there’s one thing that I learned from experiencing a stay at Surin Elephant Sanctuary, it is this. The people of Surin love their elephants. 


Looking after elephants! We stayed in the Surin Elephant Sanctuary which is in a very remote village with small communities; very few shops and very limited resources- such as Wi-Fi. The experience forced us to remove ourselves from the ‘connected world’ making us resort to childhood forms of entertainment. Because of this, we got to know each other very quickly, chilling on hammocks outside of the dorms for hours on end and playing music, drinking, drawing or playing card games. It was a real 5 day ‘digital detox’ so to say.


We stayed in a large wooden house which over looked the elephants stables.  With large washing lines to hang our wet clothes, and thin mattresses, it was a tad different to sleeping conditions as I know it! 



What we did

Our duties for the 5 days included:

  • Taking the elephants for walks to the river- my favorite part.




  • ‘Poo time’ – Cleaning up elephant poop and taking it to soil landfills to be used
  • as nutrients for another harvest.
  • Harvesting crops- Cutting down crops and cane sugar and throwing them into trucks to be taken back for the elephants to eat.




Chopping and collecting palm leaves from around the community. This was again for the elephants use as well as for general maintenance purposes. 




The food was cooked onsite by one of the workers who was an incredible cook and who taught us a few things in the kitchen.

  • Pad Thai  Curry
  • Vegetable Curry
  • Muesli and banana

Leisure time

In our leisure time, we had the chance to chill with each other as the sanctuary, walk around the village, some kayaking and a trip to the local market.



Extra Activities 

A visit to Elephant Graveyard at Ban Ta Klang 

A sad scene, but a reminder of how loved the elephants are. 



Overall experience

Amazing. At the time, I possibly didn’t praise it enough, but now I can really appreciate it for what it was. Life away from the disconnected world, the hustle and bustle of Thailand’s touristy places, and in the face of new people. Amazing. 



Author: charlottehlawrence

Hello! As the title reads, here's a short (long) introduction about myself. ~MUSIC I am a busy bee living and enjoying post- graduate life in Manchester; passionate about music, Manchester's music scene and everything Manchester has to offer. I am a singer-songwriter and musician playing and performing around the writing blocks and the hustle and bustle of Manchester's vibrant creative scene. I am also an events assistant at MMINE (Manchester Music Industry Networking Events) Radio Liaison officer at Sonderfest, and a general helper outer at MWCG (Manchester Women Songwriters Collective Group) - their 'Instagram Queen' so they tell me! ~BOOKS Apart from the music stuff, I am an English Literature and Drama graduate from the University Of Salford. It's fair to say that I have read my share of thick novels and over-bearing Shakespearean plays over the past three years; most of which I enjoyed, some I would place cosily on a high bookshelf with the hope never to see again. Classics are my favourite; the hard-to-read, fatigue inflicting, unnecessarily descriptive novels- I think stemmed from watching BBC period dramas as an early teen and imagining the scenes I obsessed over as I went along. I plan to read so much more! ~TRAVEL As with most people, I love a good weekend away. I love booking flights to my bucket list destinations and delving into the food, (yes always food first),and drink and culture of different places. I still demand the window seat, and I still continue to drink from the terrible selection of wines these plan companies have to offer. South America and Thailand are my next big adventures. 🚲🚲🚲 Anyhow~ Here's an introduction about myself and my interests. I plan to post weekly about my music, reading and travelling adventures and about anything else which brings me to 'pick up a pen.' Stay tuned and thank you for reading x X

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