Students earn service credits working at an elephant sanctuary spending all day forming wonderful bonds with the magnificent Asian elephants of Northern Thailand. This program includes white water rafting on the Pai river, swimming from the pristine beaches of Ko Tao and Ko Samui, and exploring the temples of Chiang Mai.
Come adventure to Thailand with Travel For Teens, where you will have the amazing experience of working with elephants and exploring northern Thailand on this program designed specifically for teens. Earn service credit working with the magnificent Asian elephants of Northern Thailand at our partner elephant sanctuary. You will be directly involved with their care, spending all day with them forming wonderful bonds and lifelong memories while learning about the conservation of these gentle giants. The fun doesn’t stop there. Travel to the southern islands and discover the best that Thailand has to offer!
After our time working with the elephants we will spend two days white water rafting down the mighty Pai river, taking in the scenic mountain surroundings and enjoying each others company on the quiet river banks. During our two-day jungle journey we will spend a night at an awesome rustic jungle lodge, and if you’re lucky you might see wild monkeys swinging through the trees! Then head to Chiang Mai to bask in the down-to-earth charm of this Northern gem.
Next get ready for the islands as we swap the jungle for the beach! We’ll swim, snorkel, scuba dive (optional), trek and relax through this idyllic part of the world on the tropical island paradises of Koh Samui and Koh Tao. Finally, jump into the bustling hub of Southeast Asia, Bangkok. Explore culturally historic icons including the Royal Palace, Emerald Buddha, and Ayutthaya, before immersing yourself in the fast-paced street food scene savoring pad thai and hunting for a bargain on Khao San Rd.
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Thailand. We have all heard of this incredible country before. It’s your perfect tropical Southeast Asian paradise. Everything from encounters with amazing wildlife to some of the best beaches on the planet put this country on everyone’s bucket list. Unfortunately, with this being such a popular tourist destination, it has become overrun with foreigners in recent years. I realized this when I signed up for Thailand Elephant Service & The Islands trip, and I was quite worried that my trip would not live up to the “Thailand paradise” expectations. Fortunately, Travel for Teens understood this as well, and the only time I saw large amounts of foreigners throughout my entire vacation was at the airport, as you would expect. Outside the airport, I was blessed with what I can confidently say is my absolute favorite trip I have ever had the pleasure of going on (and I have been to 30 countries and 6 continents in total, including Antarctica). Travel for Teens seeks out activities to participate in that your standard teen tour group will not do. Nearly all other Thailand “adventure programs” listed on this website will in fact not be much of an adventure at all. They will instead take you to major tourist destinations, and that’s it – that’s where Travel for Teens sets itself apart from the crowd. Of course, one of the major highlights of this trip were the incredible few days up in Northern Thailand where we had the privilege to work with elephants in their retirement parks. Here, elephants rescued from the lumber business and street performing in Bangkok were provided a safe haven to live out the rest of their days in peace. Being able to get up close and personal with these creatures allowed my group and I to see how gentle they truly were. There was a sense of kindness in their eyes that I haven’t seen before – anywhere. It’s truly an incredible experience. We were quite a ways away from the city and in an area where there were more elephants than people, and in this situation we were able to escape the “standard Thailand vacation”. We helped bathe the elephants alongside feeding the baby elephants – they were very cute. We learned a ton about these massive creatures: everything from how they only sleep 4 hours a day on average to how it costs upwards of $300,000 per year for food for each elephant to how riding an elephant for a prolonged period actually gives them back problems later on in life. All of this wouldn’t be possible on a standard Thailand vacation where you may actually ride an elephant yourself, or just see them briefly perform. Travel for Teens gives you the unique experience to work with the elephants themselves and that is something I truly treasure. Another incredible experience this Thailand Elephant Service & The Islands trip provided me was a two-day rafting trip out in the remote Thailand jungle. For nearly two full days, we saw no trace of civilization: no roads, no houses – nothing. This is a true Thailand adventure, given we traveled over one hundred miles downriver between the towns of Pai and Mae Hong Son in far northwestern Thailand close to the border with Myanmar. We camped overnight alongside the river, and despite it perhaps not being your “luxury” overnight stay, it was the time when everyone bonded the quickest. Being in a raft for many hours amounted to great conversations and before long, I realized just how incredible the group I traveled with was. They made the trip fantastic as much as the trip itself did, and that’s saying quite a lot considering just how amazing the itinerary was. Everything else from scuba diving in some of the most pristine reefs imaginable to trying some of the most delicious food you could possibly fathom summed this trip up to be my absolute favorite I have ever been on with Travel for Teens. I have participated in nine trips in total with the company, and this is number one on my list. Do not miss out on an incredible opportunity to see and experience things you will be unable to see anywhere else on Earth. This trip is the trip of a lifetime.
This trip was amazing! The elephant sanctuaries were such fun and educational community service experiences that I know I will never forget. The first half of the trip really emerged us in the Thai culture within the inner cities and residential areas, and the second half allowed us to relax on the beaches and enjoy the islands. No matter where we were in Thailand, I always managed to find some delicious pad thai! Overall, I had a great time with such a fun group of people.
I traveled with TFT the summer of 2016 and have not forgotten a moment of it. From the beautiful site seeing to adventurous white water rafting, I had loved every minute. Travel for Teens did something to me that no other experience has been able to do: Give me the travel bug. I have such a love and yearning to travel and experience new cultures and have TFT to thank! The staff was incredible and I can honestly say that they were the ringmasters to making the trip as wonderful as it was. The travelers with me were kind and funny and I still think of them often! I went on the “Thailand Elephant Service and the Islands” trip and although I had never been on a trip like this before, I felt completely safe and like I had been traveling to countries like it my entire life. We experienced swimming in a serene waterfall, feeding and bathing gorgeous elephants, and relaxing on the beach. With a perfect mix of calmness and adventure, there isn’t a trip I could recommend more!
Going to Thailand was an experience I will never forget. I traveled with a couple friends I had met on a previous TFT trip, which was awesome! TFT gave me the opportunity to experience things I probably never could have if I had traveled on my own, like doing community service with elephants! Through doing community service, exploring Thai markets, and island hopping I was able to experience many different aspects of the country. I happened to get sick for a few days near the end of my trip, but my TFT counselors made sure to take great care of me and help me in any way they could. I had so much fun traveling with TFT!
From Chiang Mai to the islands of Thailand, I was never bored for a moment. I was able to bathe and play with elephants one day, then take a two-day rafting trip and sleep in bamboo huts by the Pai river the next day. I could not believe that we were able to work with retired elephants and help care for them. One of my favorite parts was going to all the temples and learning more about the Thai culture. I was also able to test my bartering skills (which I’ve found are not very good) in the markets while shopping for souvenirs. Next, we went to Ko Tao and Ko Samui and got a taste of the islands life. It was relaxing to do yoga, lip sync competitions, and swim in the Gulf of Thailand. Not to mention, scuba/snorkeling in the crystal-clear water, learning to cook traditional Thai food, and so much more. Our last stop in Thailand was the capital, Bangkok. I loved the city and all the sites. We went to the Grand Palace, the largest Buddha in Thailand, and got to see the famous Muy Thai fighting. I didn’t think that my second trip could live up the first trip I took with TFT but I was quickly proved wrong.