Our most popular volunteer tour takes you through two of South-East Asia's most exciting countries with a group of like-minded people, fully supported by experienced guides.
Starting in Thailand's iconic capital, Bangkok, you'll travel to the north-eastern province of Surin for an unforgettable few days getting up close and personal with the majestic elephants and living amongst the beautiful people that call this place home. Help out with micro development projects which benefit not only the welfare of the elephants but also the local communities that protect them.
After five days here, waving goodbye to your new found friends you'll head over the border to Cambodia and on to the chilled out city of Siem Reap. Here you'll get to work with NGOs at various community projects as well as experience the awesome temples of Angkor Wat. [Read below for more info ↓]
Locations: Bangkok (TH), Surin (TH), Siem Reap (CAM), Angkor Wat (CAM)
Tour Length: 14 days
Finish date: The tour will end in Siem Reap on the Friday two weeks after your start date
Volunteer Work: Teaching OR Development and Elephants
Arrival Airport: Bangkok International Airport (BKK)
Departure Airport: Siem Reap International Airport (REP)
Group Size: Maximum 20
Going Solo?: over 70% of those on our tours start off as solo travellers
Recommended Age: 50-75 (A tour for 18-50 years is available here)
With 20 persons per group MAX! The exact cost of this tour is US $2097 but if you book in the next 7 days we can squeeze it down to US $1997 which comes in at about US $133 per day. This goes towards covering everything from in-country transport and accommodation to project fees and tour related activities (we really do cram it in!). Please note that your international flights are not included in the above price.
To secure your spot you pay a deposit of US $250 (you can then pay the rest in weekly instalments or 2 months before the tour). We also provide you with a comprehensive tour guide which covers everything from what to bring, to travel insurance and international flight recommendations.
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Every day is packed with awesomeness, but some of our highlights are:
- Airport pick-up and transfer on arrival into Bangkok (if arriving into Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi BKK airport on the tour start date between 6am and 8pm)
- In-depth orientation in Bangkok on the morning of day 2
- Guided city tour of some of Bangkok's best landmarks
- Train or private coach transfer from Bangkok to Surin
- Coach or minibus transfer from Surin to Siem Reap (does not include the cost of entry visa into Cambodia – approximately USD $35)
- Tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Angkor Wat
- 14 nights in different kinds of accommodation ranging from hotels to traditional homestays
- Breakfast each day throughout the tour
- Lunch and dinner whilst volunteering at the elephant project
- Lunch whilst volunteering on project in Cambodia
- Donation towards the welfare of the elephants in Thailand
- Donation towards the purchase of materials required for your chosen project in Cambodia
- In-depth pre-departure information
- Fully guided tour where you will be supported throughout by an experienced, English speaking coordinators
- Location coordinators support in Surin and Siem Reap
Bangkok: Shared (twin/double or triple rooms) bed and breakfast accommodation in a guesthouse. Air-conditioning, TV, hot water and western bathrooms.
Surin (city): Shared (twin/double or triple) bed and breakfast accommodation in a centrally located hotel. Air-conditioning, fridge, hot water and western bathrooms.
Surin Village (homestay): Traditional Thai style accommodation. Dorm style bedrooms - beds with thai style mattresses, fans and mosquito nets. Basic bathroom with bucket flush toilets and cold water showers. No WIFI or Air conditioning.
Siem Reap: Shared (twin/double or triple) bed and breakfast accommodation in a hotel located a short drive from Pub Street. Air-conditioning, TV, hot water and western bathrooms.
Meals: Breakfasts are included each day. You will have a traditional welcome meal in Bangkok, Thailand and Siem Reap, Cambodia. Lunch and Dinner is provided whilst volunteering in the Elephant Village. Lunch is also provided whilst volunteering on project in Siem Reap.
Internet: WiFi is available at the guesthouse in Bangkok and the hotels in Surin City and Siem Reap.
Whilst volunteering in Surin Village, WiFi is not available but there will be 3G connection for smart phones with a local SIM. (SIM's can be purchased in Bangkok or Surin City.)
Laundry: There will be local laundry services in the cities of Bangkok, Surin and Siem Reap which are reasonably priced. Alternatively, you can purchase detergent and do washing by hand.
DAY 1: Arrival - Bangkok Baby!
Let us pick you up from the airport and give you a great big welcome as we whisk you off to the heart of it all. Today you are free to explore the bustling city, in the evening we will have an informal dinner together to get to know one another before this incredible journey begins.
DAY 2: The Ultimate BKK tour
You'll receive an in depth orientation about this unforgettable tour before beginning with a trip through some of Bangkok's famous sites (The grand palace is not included in this tour). In the evening we will meet for a traditional welcome meal before experiencing the infamous 'Khaosan' road!
DAY 3: Transfer to Surin
The transfer from Bangkok to Surin will take around 10hrs by train or private coach. We will get you checked in to your hotel for 1 night before starting our village experience in the morning. Tonight you have the chance to visit the local night market. [Meals: B]
DAY 4: Elephant Project
Beginning the day with an orientation from one of our Surin Team. We will then head into the Elephant village and get settled into what will be our home for the next 4 nights. It's time for our first elephant selfie! [Meals: B, L, D]
DAY 5- 8: Elephant Project
Wow have we got an exciting array of activities for you!! From working in the fields, cutting sugar cane, weeding, fertilizing and planting to playing around in elephant poo to produce different crafts, there will be plenty to do but also time to relax and enjoy your peaceful surroundings. Don't forget your card games and a good book for down time! Don't worry we will also have the chance to walk with the elephants and washing them in the river as well as some time for water activities along with giving back to the local village with some community development projects. [Meals: B, L, D]
Day 8 we will head back into Surin town for 1 night before our next adventure, Cambodia!! (Dinner is not included on day 8)
DAY 9: It's off to Cambodia we go!
Today it's time to pack the back-pack & head to ANOTHER COUNTRY! The Kingdom of Wonder, Cambodia! Let us guide you through the exhilarating border crossing into the land of Angkor. Tonight there will be an orientation followed by a traditional Cambodian welcome meal. [Meals: B, D]
DAY 10: Angkor Wat
Today begins with a breathtaking half day tour of the Angkor Wat site. Head back over 1,000 years and explore these incredible marvels of human endeavour. This is a truly inspiring site that must be seen to be believed, better still we will be seeing it at sunrise! [Meals: B]
DAY 11 - 13: Cambodia Volunteer Project
Now that you have been amazed by one of the beautiful historical sites Cambodia has to offer, it's time to check out where you will be all week. We will be working alongside one of the many NGO's in Siem Reap and depending on the project you choice you will either be supporting the Khmer Teachers in school or helping the local community on one of our development projects. Whichever you have decided to do it will definitely be a memorable experience and we guarantee all your hard work will help the surrounding community.
Cambodia is still classed as a third world country and once you get underneath the surface of Siem Reap you'll understand why. Poverty reigns here so be prepared for an eye-opening experience.
As your work progresses you'll begin to understand much more about why we do what we do and how your time is helping. Voluntourism has an incredible impact on those it touches if it's handled professionally and respectfully. With Bamboo leading the way you are guaranteed to have the most incredible experience.
[Meals: B, L]
**Please ensure you have chosen your project before you leave for your tour and informed our bookings team. You CAN NOT change your option once on tour**
DAY 14: Cambodia Volunteer Project
So today is your final day on project, give your new friends one last big hug and wave goodbye to the people whose lives you would of changed forever! Make sure you remember to take those last few selfies! Tonight is our last night as a group so lets get together, have a slap up meal and a few cheeky drinks. Whatever you decide just enjoy!! [Meals: B, L]
Note: Accommodation on the Thursday night in Siem Reap is included so you can arrange onward transport for any time the following day (Friday)
Code for meals [B - breakfast; L - lunch; D - dinner]
Known locally as 'Krung Thep' or City of Angels, Bangkok has it all! There is no better thrill than that first trip from the airport into the heart of the city. We love it so much it's where Bamboo has its South East Asia Headquarters! A lot of cities claim it but Bangkok well and truly is the 'City that never sleeps', A theory that you will no doubt be testing with us. Delicious street food, Off the hook nightlife, stunning palaces and temples, the largest outdoor market in the world! Bangkok "has you" and will never let you go!
Surin is in an area of Thailand known as 'Issan' which is famous for elephants, Khmer temples and more elephants. Which is why it is the best location to work with elephant communities. Surin is a buzz of activity as all of the surrounding farmers will descend upon the town to sell their wares making it a great place for street food.
Surin Village is a quiet peaceful village surrounded by rice fields and full of elephants! Living with a local family in a traditional homestay this is a chance to experience the 'real' Thailand. Elephants, chickens and even cows may be found in your backyard. Be sure to keep your eyes open, your smile beaming and remember Thai people are early risers!
There is a certain charm to the once French colonized city of Siem Reap. Not only is it in the shadow of the majestic Angkor Wat but it is in its own right a wonderful place to explore. With vibrant markets, the infamous 'pub street', quaint riverside cafes and restaurants, there are moments when you forget where exactly you are. Tuk Tuk's a plenty and be prepared to be asked a million times if you want anything, just remember to say "No Thank You" with a big smile, this is their livelihood after all! That is of course unless you need a Tuk Tuk then just say "Yes" with an even bigger smile.
One of the 7 wonders of the world, you really need to tick this one off your list. What many people don't know is that Angkor Wat is just one of 100s of temples to see and explore in the area. Wake up early for the sunrise view and get those cameras ready, although our advice is to turn your phones off, lay down those cameras and just soak it all in. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and what better way to visit this amazing place than by also supporting the people that live in and around this ancient wonder.
The exact cost of this tour is US $2097 but as you're in the Facebook group we can squeeze it down to US $1997 which comes in at about US $133 bucks per day. This goes towards covering everything from transport and accommodation to project fees and tour related activities. We keep this tour at 20 people max to ensure everyone has a great time and gets to know each other.
To secure your spot you pay a deposit of US $250 (you can then pay the rest in weekly instalments or 8 weeks before the tour). We also provide you with a comprehensive tour guide which covers everything from what to bring, to travel insurance and international flight recommendations.
You're paying good money for what we promise will be the most amazing trip of your life.
But where does that money go? Have a look through this:
- Fully guided and supported throughout the trip by experienced, English speaking guide
- Airport pick-up on arrival in Bangkok
- Two nights bed and breakfast accommodation in Bangkok
- In-depth orientation on the first morning in Bangkok
- Guided city tour of some of Bangkok's best landmarks (The grand palace is not included)
- Train or private coach transfer to Surin
- All ground transportation in Bangkok and Siem Reap (not including international flights)
- Two nights hotel accommodation in a central Surin hotel including breakfast
- Four nights shared accommodation in a tradtional homestay when volunteering at the elephant village
- All activities whilst at the elephant village including daily tasks with the elephants, farming, redevelopment, water activities and lots more
- Transfer to the stunning city of Siem Reap in Cambodia (Does not include cost of entry visa in to Cambodia ~ approximately US $35)
- Tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Angkor Wat
- Six nights bed and breakfast accommodation in a Siem Reap city hotel
- Lunch each day during your time at the volunteering project in Siem Reap
- Donation towards the welfare of the elephants and the elephant project
- Donation towards the purchase of any materials required for your chosen volunteer project in Cambodia
- Five days supported volunteering with one of Siem Reap's leading NGOs
- In-depth pre-departure information
In short – anything that’s not on the ‘What’s included?’ list in the info pack and guide! The main things you’ll absolutely need to get that aren’t included are:
- International flights – we have people join us from all over the world so we leave these flexible so you can choose the departure airport and airline that suits you best
- Travel insurance – you can choose your own travel insurance or we can organize this for you. You can find details on the travel insurance here and will be able to add this on to your booking when you pay your program fee
- Visas – depending on the passport you hold you may need to get a visa before you travel. Please see sectiom 3 for more info on visas
- Police check - as the tour involves spending time with local communities and children, you will be required to provide us with a police check noting any criminal record held against your name. If you have an existing check, we can accept this providing it was issued no more than 12 months before your tour is due to finish. Each country/state has varying procedures on how to obtain a police check so we recommend you contact your local police station to see how you should go about getting one issued.
There are great online resources like www.skyscanner.com or google.com/flights. If you'd like to speak to an agent, you can contact our friends at STA Travel by completing an online form here: www.wearebamboo.com/tours/sta-flights.php
You need to book a flight that lands into Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport (airport BKK) on the Friday that your tour starts, between the hours of 6am and 8pm. Providing you arrive between these hours on this day, one of the team will then be there to meet you on arrival and take you back to the hotel in the city. If you arrive later than 8pm on the Friday start date, we will organize for you to spend that first night at the airport hotel. Then, one of the team will pick you up from the airport hotel the following morning and take you to the hotel in the city to meet the rest of the group and have your orientation.
If you arrive before your Friday start date, you will need additional accommodation. We can book this for you and you will just need to make your own way there from the airport and pay on arrival.
The tour ends two Fridays later in Siem Reap, Cambodia, so you need to make your departure arrangements from there at any time that day. There is an international airport in Siem Reap so you will be able to book a flight home from there.
The other option is to book a return flight in and out of Bangkok. However, remember that the tour finishes in Siem Reap so you'll need to make your own way back to Bangkok if you choose to do this. This is easy to do and a flight between the two cities only takes around one hour. It's important to note that there are two airports in Bangkok; Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Mueang (DMK) so please bear this in mind if you are getting a flight that you need to connect with your international flight back home. There is a free shuttle bus between the two airports but you will need to allow for at least an hour to get from one to the other.
There is also a bus that goes between Siem Reap and Bangkok. This will probably be cheaper than flying but can take up to 11 hours.
Once you've booked your flights, please make sure you send us the below details:
Flight number of your flight that arrives in to Bangkok. If travelling via another country, please make sure you send us the correct flight number. This is usually a code with two letters and three numbers – for example, BA009
Bangkok flight arrival date - if you're arriving before the published arrival date, you may need to make extra plans for your airport transfer and any additional acc. Please let us know.
Bangkok flight arrival time - if arriving after around 9pm we may organise your first night at an airport hotel.
Mobile phone number including country code (if taking a mobile with you).
If you have booked to extend your stay with us after the tour, your departure arrangements may vary. Please check with us if you are unsure.
Passport holders of several countries will get a 30 day ‘visa exempt’ stamp in their passport on arrival into Thailand free of charge. A quick Google search will tell you whether you need a visa or not.
We will be crossing into Cambodia from Thailand overland and most nationalities will be able to get a visa on arrival (again, check this to make sure this is the case for the passport you hold). At the border, you will need to fill out thress forms, a departure card to leave Thailand, a visa application form with a visa photo attached (either bring some from home or have some taken in Bangkok) and an arrival/departure form to enter Cambodia. You then need to pay approximately USD $35 and you will get a full page visa that lasts for 30 days. Please make sure you have at least one empty passport page and 6 months’ validity on your passport from the date you will be leaving Cambodia. Please do not purchase an e-visa for this trip as these are not accepted at the border crossing we will use. Visas and passports are your own responsibility and we cannot be held liable for any issues or costs incurred relating to these. Costs are approximate and may be subject to change.
This largely depends on you. All the breakfasts throughout the tour are included as are all of the meals whilst volunteering in Thailand as well as all of the lunches on project days in Cambodia. You will also receive 2 welcome meals (1 in Bangkok and 1 in Siem Reap) The rest of the meals are up to you. If you are having local meals it will cost a couple of dollars, if you prefer western food it will be more depending on where you eat. A bottle of local beer in Thailand and Cambodia is around USD $1. You should bring some local currency with you (Thai Baht in Thailand and US Dollars in Cambodia) but you will also be able to withdraw more from cash points in the major cities whilst you are away.
This depends on your home country and your vaccination history. You should visit a local travel clinic and see what they recommend.
There is no deadline for paying the USD $250 deposit but we cannot secure your place until we have received this. Places are limited and this is our most popular tour so we recommend you do this as soon as possible to be sure of a spot. Once we have received your deposit we will send you a confirmation email. If you do not receive this within 48 hours please check your junk/spam email folders and let us know if you cannot see it.
Your program fee is due on the first of the month, two months before you travel (i.e if you are travelling in December, your balance will be due by 1st October). We will send you an email shortly after you have secured a spot offering you two options for payment. You can either pay the program fee in full (at any point before the date it is due) or you can can set up weekly installments to pay a small amount off regularly until it is paid in full. You can choose either of these with or without travel insurance.
Like any country in the world, there will always be some dangers (even when in your home country!) and it is important to exercise common sense, particularly when in major cities and tourist destinations. However, both Thailand and Cambodia are very safe countries to travel in and around. You’ll also be with our experienced team throughout your stay and will be travelling with a group.
All of our prices are in USD. If you would like to see what this is in your local currency you can use a conversion site such as www.xe.com which will give you the current exchange rate. Please bear in mind that the amount will be taken in USD when you pay and exchange rates will fluctuate.
We have been operating for over 15 years, have placed over 30,000 volunteers and have an experienced team with a wealth of knowledge and passion! But don’t just take our word for it - if you visit our website you can see our accreditation and recommendations for different worldwide organizations. You can also visit our Facebook page to see reviews from previous travelers and volunteers.