Samui Elephant Haven’s founder Maew Suriya believes that education and hands-on experience is essential when learning about the planet’s largest land mammal. Comprehensive weekly volunteer programmes are offered at the Haven. The recently completed volunteers lodging facility boasts four double bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom and a communal area called the Moonlight Cafe. Soon to be added is a plunge pool that will have spectacular views across the elephants watering hole and the park.
Each room has been named by a Samui Elephant Haven’s valued supporter; the first of which is Heather Anderson’s room ‘Rainbow Heart’. Heather has been instrumental in building the brand of the Haven and designed the beautiful logo which has since been seen on collectables, clothing and homeware merchandise. She was vital in creating ‘The Painted Elephant’, a breathtaking colouring book that is packed full of drawings from artists around the world; her alias in the book is ‘Rainbow Heart’. Her jewellery line is on prominent display in the Haven’s shop, and she is about to add wood carvings to the art collection. “I believe we have so much to learn from the elephants. Being in their presence at the Haven has given me such a heart connection with these amazing, intelligent, beautiful and sentient beings. I feel very privileged to be a part of their world and to watch them live out their lives in a peaceful community of rescued animals and supportive caregivers. I believe that all elephants are born with hearts that are full of love and rainbows”.
‘Lewis Lodge’ has been fondly named after a beautiful puppy that was rescued from the streets and came to reside at Samui Elephant Haven; he was sadly killed by a car, but his loving nature lives on. The garden just below the lodge was his favourite spot to watch over his herd of elephants playing in their pool (or keeping an eye on the mahouts!).
The ‘Rainbow Heart’ room is available when guests stay at the Haven and take part in the Volunteer’s Programme. Guests have the exciting opportunity to experience a full immersion programme and learn everything there is to know about elephants and the local Thai culture.
The elephant’s aides spend six nights and seven days at Samui Elephant Haven in Lewis Lodge that boasts incredible views across the park, elephants’ swimming pool, the jungle, Gulf of Thailand and the island of Koh Phangan. Probably one of the most outstanding and humbling views to wake up to each morning.
Each day starts with feeding the chickens that cluck around the park and collecting eggs for breakfast. The aides are joining the Samui Elephant Haven family, so will eat all meals with the founders, mahouts, the rest of the elephant team and tour visitors. Every morning, Maew presents guests with a list of responsibilities and activities that will take place throughout the day; and includes preparing food for the elephants, cleaning their swimming pools and enclosures, helping plant trees and grass throughout the park and of course collecting ele’ poop for the manure pile. It’s not all hard work, there is time for a traditional Thai massage, walks on the beach, a Muay Thai introduction, a cooking class, and exploring a local night walking market.
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