Visit Us and Join our Program
At BEES our program varies season to season depending on what needs to be done!
Here is an opportunity to give back whilst you travel, you will meet great people, become immersed in a new culture, support the local community, meet lots of furry friends and learn about the Asian elephant.
No Exploitation , No Abuse just respecting their space and enjoying their beauty.
Our main program runs Monday to Sunday. Shorter programs of Overnight stay (Mainly Monday-Tuesday OR Thursday to Friday) and 3 nights/4days (Runs Monday to Thursday OR Thursday to Friday) Contact us for further details on pricing and duration. Note that due to logistical issues we are unable to accommodate half day visits with the minimum being overnight for all inclusive programs i.e including pick up day 1 and drop off to Chiang Mai end of day 2. Alternatively Day Visits can be booked but you must make your own way to and from the Sanctuary, arriving 8am on the day of booking.
Contact us for further details on pricing and duration.
Main Activities Include:
- Observing the Elephants in the forest
- Preparing the Elephants afternoon treats
- Cleaning the Elephant areas
- Helping us care for all the other rescued animals at BEES
Other Activities may include:
- Teaching English to local children
- Planting trees to conserve the environment (In rainy season)
- Planting grass for the elephants (In Rainy season)
- Cut grass, corn etc for the elephants
- Visit the local weaving village and support a group of elderly ladies who run a weaving club.
- Cooking classes. Learn how to make some local Thai desserts. Sweets in banana leaf or sticky rice in bamboo are recommended! (Please request early on in the week if your interested)
- Assist in small projects around BEES or in a local area. eg building a shelter, clearing old building materials etc.
- Visit the local Temples
- Tubing down the river
Guests will stay in One of 7 private Thai Style accommodations onsite on the Sanctuary grounds. Rooms are private or shared dependent on whether your traveling alone or as a group. e.g. Couples/friends stay together.
Each room is local Thai style living Mattress on the floor with bed linen, a fan and mosquito nets. The bathrooms are a shared toilet block, with shower heads and western toilets. There are 2 sinks with Mirrors outside the toilet block.
There is a communal area also known as ‘the cat cafe’ which is a large balcony area where breakfast is services, dinner is served down below this area in a netted room. In ‘the cat cafe’ area there is also an extension which is a gift shop were you can purchase snacks and beverages as well as BEES T-shirts during your stay.
There is a washing machine onsite, you can purchase washing powder sachets in the gift shop.
There is currently no WIFI available at the sanctuary. It is recommended that you purchase a AIS12CALL or TrueMOVE Net Sim Card if you wish to have access to internet during your stay at BEES.
💡A little tip for light sleepers:
You may want to bring ear plugs or listen to headphones at night, for some city dwellers Nature can be noisy. You may not be used to the sounds the Sanctuary has to offer. Nature can be very loud!
MEALS AND BEVERAGES AT THE SANCTUARY:
Guests enjoy 3 meals per day at the Sanctuary, all meals and drinking water are included in the program fee. You must bring your own water bottle to refill onsite.
Breakfast is Western Style, the staff always prepare one style of egg of a morning e.g. scrambled egg, omelete or boiled eggs. The guests are able to prepare their own Tea, Coffee, Toast and Cereal and fruit of season will be available in the communal area.
Lunch and Dinner is Thai Cuisine, usually rice, noodles, lots of vegetables sometimes.
Although we do have some meat dishes, we always cater for vegetarian and are able to cater for vegan given you provide plenty of notice. It is very important that you make us aware of your dietary requirements as the Sanctuary is located in a very remote area and it can be difficult to obtain certain sauces etc in the local area.
Snacks can be purchased onsite from the gift shop, but you will have an opportunity on the way to the sanctuary to pick up a few snacks and throughout the week, usually on Thursday when you visit the local school and go sightseeing. Beer can be purchased in the local town at your own expense, please kindly limit to 1 to 2 cans and only drink in the communal area or in your accommodation after project activities have been completed. We kindly ask that guests do not bring their own alcohol such as spirits onto the Sanctuary. Drunken, obnoxious behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
FITNESS AND SKILL REQUIREMENTS:
A moderate level of fitness is required to participate to the fullest in this program. There is a lot of hiking involved in observing the elephants, which involves walking through forest and uneven terrain. You may walk up to several kilometers to observe the elephants, often in humid and wet conditions. There maybe construction tasks or food collection tasks that maybe physically demanding. E.g Collecting sand for elephant sleeping areas, cutting grass and corn and transporting it to the truck etc. There are no specific skills or experience required to join the program, but participants must always be willing to work as part of the team and follow project policy and procedure.
VACCINATIONS AND PREVENTATIVE MEDICINES:
To participate in this program you are not required to have vaccinations but it is recommended to be up to date in Typhoid, Hep A and B, Tetanus and Rabies. If you have never had Rabies shots it’s up to you if you would like to get them before your stay with us as you will be working in rural Thailand. Please NOTE: if you get scratched or bitten during your stay you will be required to get the round of shots here (at your own expense) and will need to get the remainder at home if you leave Thailand before you finish the vaccination doses. All our animals are vaccinated against rabies, but you may also be exposed to other animals in the area and we cant guarantee they are up to date with vaccines.
Anti- Malarial Pills: We do not recommend anti-malarial pills while visiting the project, although Malaria is found in Thailand, you are at much higher risk of Dengue Fever. We recommend that you use bug spray, keep well covered up while on project and make sure your mosquito net is well tucked in. The best prevention is protection.
Each Participant MUST have Travel Medical Insurance and provide proof of this on arrival at the Sanctuary on the Waiver form.
NO CONTACT – HAND’S OFF POLICY:
In the early days BEES allowed participants to bath the elephants, pat the elephants and hand feed them. We realized over time that this task was to cater for the tourists needs but it is was not necessary for the elephants. These beautiful majestic animals have spent their entire lives catering for humans in an abusive and exploitative environment. In order for tourists to have such close contact with the elephants, requires the mahout to have more constraint and less freedom of choice for the elephant. Mahouts at BEES would never ‘force’ the elephants to be around visitors, but the elephants have been so heavily conditioned that often they would just stand there and take the pats and feeding because of the conditioning in their previous lives before joining us at BEES. The Sanctuary is a place where elephants can finally BE elephants. This is why we have adopted the No Contact – Hands Off Approach. When you visit us and join the program you can guarantee that you are respecting these animals and giving them a better life without causing them stress and harm.
BEES is a Sanctuary were humans now work FOR these lucky retired elephants, the roles have been reversed. Elephants can live out their days in peace and dignity with their trusty caretaker (Mahout) and live free from Exploitation and Abuse.
An Adult Asian Elephant on average weighs around 3,000kg, their trunk has over 50,000 muscles and can lift 300kg with ease, so having a no contact – hands off policy is just as crucial to your well-being as the elephants welfare.