By Cornelie Hooft Graafland – 1 week volunteer
Volunteering at Kindred Spirits Elephant Sanctuary is an absolutely amazing experience that I highly recommend to anyone interested in local village life in Thailand and observing the beauty of elephants. This entire week has been filled with incredible things.
The trip to the village was an experience in itself, a 4 hour drive in an open taxi-truck is not something I do on a daily basis. So when we finally hit the last dirt road towards the village I was looking forward to having my feet on the ground again. Once arriving to the village we went to meet our host families. After this we were introduced to the amazing group of people working and volunteering here. You instantly feel at home here.
From then on we had our daily elephant hikes, and were sometimes treated with a truck ride to the elephants (which was very nice considering that the hot season was starting to kick in). I cannot describe how incredible it is seeing these majestic creatures appear from between the trees. Sitting there observing these animals, sometimes following them over tricky or no paths at all was exhilarating. It was also very interesting to learn how to do some field work, especially with people who are so invested in their work.
We have been fairly lucky that our hikes weren’t very long this time of the year, which meant a bit more free time as the school was also closed for vacation. It was nice to have some time to read a book in a hammock, wading in the river or walking around the village. All in all an incredible experience I recommend and will surely do again.