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Thailand is in the middle of the peninsula of Southeastern Asia. Bangkok is both the largest city and the capitol. Approximately 25% of the land area is covered in rainforest. The environment within the country ranges from the northern mountains, the Khorat Plateau, the Chao Phraya river valley and the Mekong River. The overall climate of Thailand is influenced by the monsoon seasons. Over 100 national parks preserve 10% of the world’s animals. These include; over 285 mammals, 925 birds, 176 snakes and 310 lizards. Three species of tortoise are also native to Thailand. Among the most charismatic species are the Asian elephant, tigers, leopards, Malayan sun bear, gibbons, many raptors, cobras and vipers. 

The capitol of Thailand is Bangkok. You will most likely fly through this city as a transfer hub. The culture is a mix of Chinese traditions, Indian influences and unique Thai traditions. The religion is a form of Buddhism with aspects of Hinduism and Chinese beliefs, so you will see that reflected in the architecture, festivals and the way in which people interact with each other and the environment. Thailand is a destination full of gorgeous scenery, incredible temples, and friendly people who show everyone respect. 

This course is located in the Mae Tang area to the North of Chiang Mai, working initially from the Chang Land Elephant sanctuary (see conservation partner) and then in the surrounding jungle and Teak forests.

You will fly into Chiang Mai International Airport before you meet up for this expedition. 

The main language in Thailand is Thai. English is also commonly known and understood throughout the cities and main tourist areas. 

The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB). You can get cash from ATMS or do a currency exchange with Thai banks at the airport in the public area of the departures terminal. If you have a Visa or Mastercard, those are widely accepted at businesses, hotels and some taxis. American Express is usually accepted in large supermarkets, hotels and some restaurants. Discover cards may or may not be accepted in most places.

Key Points:

  • There are a few readily available taxi companies that you can choose from at the airport. Taxis can also be booked from your hotel. Throughout the city you can find a taxi along the streets, the train station, bus stations or shopping areas. Grab and Uber are also available. Another option is to hail a “tuk-tuk”. These are a cheap and fun way to navigate the cities.
  • Tap water in Thailand is generally not potable outside of the main cities. You can safely brush your teeth with it and consume steamed food with it, but it is recommended to boil it first or stick to bottled water. If you have any drinks that have ice in them, make sure the ice is not made from tap water. If buying food from street vendors, make sure you choose food that has been freshly made. Make sure raw fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled are washed well and be cautious of raw seafood and pork. 
  • You can feel safe when walking during the day and night throughout the city of Chiang Mai. It has a constant flow of foreign visitors enjoying the various markets and events and locals will greet you with a genuine welcoming attitude.
  • The voltage is 230/240 V and the frequency of 50 Hz. Thailand has four plug types to be prepared for. Type A, which is two flat parallel pins. Type B, which is two flat parallel pins and a bottom round pin. Type C, which is two round pins. And sometimes Type O, which is three round pins. A combination adaptor is recommended
  • Wifi in Chiang Mai is available through public routers from businesses, hotspot Wifi, and SIM and eSIM cards from cellular operators. While you are in the city, you will have Wifi access. 
  • The situation for the LGTBI community in Thailand is complicated. Private and consensual sex between same-sex couple was decriminalized in 1956. However, it was not until 2015 that a Gender Equality Act officially banned discrimination of the LGTBI community. Couples are tolerated in public, but there is now law that recognizes same-sex marriages. Travellers normally do not have to worry about any issues within the tourist areas and cities, though rural areas are more conservative. Outside these areas, LGTBI travellers will rarely receive discrimination or hostility, but you may be made to feel uncomfortable by the locals. Public displays of affection for either homosexual or heterosexual couples is not part of the culture, so those behaviours are usually subdued in general, especially in Chiang Mai. If you travel through Bangkok, a city well known for its strong LGTBI community, you may feel more accepted.
  • Police emergency phone number- 191. If the operator is unable to speak English, call 1155.
  • Thailand’s time zone is GMT+7.

For information on the expedition location please see the itinerary page

The Chang Land elephant sanctuary is home to retired or rescued working elephants. It exists to give them a more natural home after their working life. The elephants here are fed, watered and have the ability to roam the sanctuary foraging the forest while interacting with each other. Chang-Land does not allow visitors to ride them or have them perform tricks like many other elephant sanctuaries do, so the elephants truly are left to have a more natural life. Visitors can watch them feed, dust bathe, and walk with them and handlers on the trails.

Itinerary Over-View

All Conservation Field Safety Expeditions (CFSE) work in a realistic field study environment where we employ our time studying the local fauna with some key species relevant to the environment and employ conservation skills in a real time study. All information recorded during our expeditions is made available to our conservation partners at the end of the trip. 

Whilst conducting this research, we learn and put into practice field safety skills and procedures, again, relevant to the environment. 

Thailand Over-View

On day one you will be met at the Chiang Mai Railway Station and from here transported by road to the expedition location. On arrival at the elephant camp, (see accommodation) we will get acquainted and settle in, conduct initial briefings, and enjoy an evening meal. The journey time is approximately 1.5hrs

Day 2 – 8 will be spent training and putting into practice the many aspects of conservation and field safety in a dry jungle environment. These will include, but not be limited to:

Expedition Skills

  • Know before you go – expedition planning.
  • Medical planning.
  • Risk assessments.
  • Crisis management.
  • Communications – types and use.
  • Minimalizing environmental impact.
  • Expedition Evacuation procedures.
  • Health and safety in the field.
  • Setting your camp and camp craft skills.
  • Clothing and protection.
  • Navigation with map, compass, and GPS.
  • The use of optics and cameras.
  • Why and how things are seen.
  • Observation hides and their construction.
  • Tracking and observation skills.
  • Medical self-help and self-aid.
  • Maintaining mental health in an expedition environment. 
  • Dealing with harassment and unwanted attention on expedition.


Conservation Skills and Techniques.

  • Quantitative versus Qualitative research.
  • Keeping records and journals.
  • Ethograms.
  • Camera trapping.
  • Transect and quadrant sampling. 

On the final day, we will pack up and depart in time for your flights home or to book into your accommodation in Chiang Mai.

Detailed itineraries can be discussed by phone or email and full written itineraries will be made available on receipt of an expedition deposit. You will also receive a full printed program on arrival at the Elephant Camp.

For the expedition we will be based at the Chang-Land Elephant Sanctuary within the Mae Tang region, where retired and rescued working elephants are cared for in a natural environment. Here, you will stay in elevated bamboo platform huts that overlook the elephant’s valley (see above and gallery). The sanctuary includes clean restrooms and showers, and seating areas where meals and lectures will be held. There is also a bamboo bridge that spans across the rice paddies from the huts to where elephants are secured for their meals. We will then camp in hammocks and mosquito nets (under tarps) in the village’s nearby jungle later in the week (these will be supplied by CFSE). Meals will be taken out in the field camps.

The elephant sanctuary is a great location to acclimatize to the environment before we head out into the jungle around the village. We will practice some of the skills and scenarios in the surrounding forests of the sanctuary on a smaller scale before applying it to the field location where we will hike up and around a mountain trail that locals use to sustainably harvest the jungle’s resources. 

Meals will be prepared by villagers and will consist of local SE Asian fare. All dietary types can be catered for with prior arrangement.

Dates: 25th August – 31st August 2024

Price: $2290.00 (USD)

Single Room Supplement: None. You will be staying in single occupancy tents and hammocks.

Nb. US dollar/Sterling exchange rates (where applicable) will be at standard rate on the day of any bank transfer. All monetary dealings will be in US Dollars.

Please note: 10% of your expedition cost will be requested on agreeing with and signing our terms and conditions which include our cancellation policies.

These terms and conditions are sent to potential expedition members after your initial expression of interest via the booking form.

The Price Includes:

  1. All transportation from expedition pick-up – to post expedition drop-off at designated meeting point.
  2. All meals.
  3. All lodgings.
  4. All camping equipment where stated in the itinerary.

The Price Excludes:

  1. Alcoholic beverages.
  2. Flights.
  3. Laundry.
  4. Tips to local guides.
  5. Personal travel insurance.

Full terms and conditions will be emailed on your initial expression of interest via the booking form.

Frequently Asked Question

Thailand Specific

What travel documents (ie: passport and visa) are required?

Visa: Check with your country’s government travel website to see if you need a tourist visa. Most countries do not need one up to 30 days.

US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Thailand.html

UK: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand

For all other nationals, visit https://www.travisa.com/Visa_Search for travel requirement tips or visit your government’s travel website.

What vaccines/ health documents do I need?

Vaccine Recommendations:
Be up to date on all your routine vaccinations as well as:
Hepatitis A

Yellow Fever is only recommended for travelers coming from endemic regions of Yellow Fever

Talk to your doctor about other health needs for your trip. Other recommended vaccines:
Hepatitis B
Japanese Encephalitis

Which airport do I fly into?

Chiang Mai International Airport

What type of gear and clothing should I pack?

A packing list will be provided (or include the packing list document linked here too)

What are the physical requirements?

The intensity level of this course is Medium. Expect to hike up and down steep mountain terrain within a jungle for part of each day.

What is the time zone?


What type of electronic plug do they use?

Thailand has four plug types to be prepared for. Type A, which is two flat parallel pins. Type B, which is two flat parallel pins and a bottom round pin. Type C, which is two round pins. And sometimes Type O, which is three round pins.

What is the voltage of the electronic plugs?

The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.

of 50 Hz.


How do I book a course?

  • To reserve a place on a course all you need to do is book via our ‘booking form’ or contact us via our contact page. On receipt of this, we will acknowledge you and hold you a place. This will be done on a ‘first come basis’ We will then send you details of how to pay your deposit and all supporting information for the course. 

Will I receive an invoice and receipt for my records?

  • Yes. Once we receive your expression of interest, we will send you our terms and conditions or you can download them from the website. These need to be agreed and signed and we will then invoice you the first payment.

How can I pay for my course?

  • Deposits and fees can be paid into our US account, our UK account or into our secure paypal account. Funds can be paid directly or by any of the following means:
  • Worldremit,   Western union  or  paypal

Will I need travel insurance?

  • Travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover any potential medical, emergencies, missed flights or lost luggage. 

What is the age limit?

  • 18 or 16 If accompanied by an adult.

Can this count towards university credits?

  • Each course will have a detailed itinerary of lessons and experiences included. If you are a college student, you can submit that to your advisor and talk to your administration department to ask about college credits, such as an internship or lab credits. Every university is different. 

Will I share a room with someone, or can I room alone?

  • Hotel bookings and tents will be set up to pair up same genders unless otherwise requested. If you would like your own room or tent, please inform us so that we may make those arrangements for you. If you are attending with your spouse or partner, we will keep you paired together. For single occupancy, you will have to pay a single occupancy supplement.

What if I have a dietary requirement?

  • Please inform us of any allergies or preferences on your application so that we can be sure to arrange for those needs with our in-country partners.

Are flights and airport transfers included in the price?

  • No. Travelling to the country of the course and getting to your hotel is your responsibility. We will be responsible for all travel from the initial meeting to the end drop off. Please see the individual itinerary for details of these.

Is there a waiting list for courses?

  • No, but this will be subject to availability. If you are interested in a particular course, please submit an expression of interest via our contact page and we will advise. 

Can I cancel my trip and get a refund?

  • Yes, subject to our Terms and Conditions which you will be required to read and acknowledge as acceptance of your booking.

Why do the courses have different prices?

  • We work with our partners to try to keep the prices down as much as possible for your affordability. Course prices are based on the costs for us to cover stipends for partner personnel, logistics and permits in accordance to the current rate, which differs in each location. 

Will there be Wi-Fi on the trip?

  • Wi-Fi will be available within the cities and most main towns of locations. If a course has days in a more remote field station or field camp location, Wi-Fi may be unavailable, but if we can, we will endeavor to provide it. 

How do you handle Covid-19?

  • Covid-19 policies will be followed based on the country of the course. Many countries may still require proof of vaccination status to enter, please double check those requirements before you travel. Masks are optional but recommended if a participant has a cough. If a participant becomes ill with Covid-19 symptoms, we will test for positivity and arrange for the participant to be removed from the group and follow quarantine requirements for that country. 

What do I do if a link on the website isn’t working?

  • Oh no! We’re sorry if something on the website is acting glitchy. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to let us know so that we can it fixed right away!