What level of fitness is required to take part in this project?
This project requires a moderate level of fitness and stamina as portions of the volunteer work involve manual labor and/or hiking through fields and forests, bending, and stooping, sometimes in hot humid conditions.
What type of accommodations and meals will be provided?
Sitting on a prime hill overlooking the picturesque Lak Lake, Lak Tented Camp offers a culturally rich and naturally beautiful setting for our stay in Lak. Stretching over 4.8 hectares, the property features 15 Lakeview Tented Lodges, 4 Lakefront Wooden Bungalows and Y LAK Restaurant, a tastefully restored M’Nong long house with indoor dining hall, bar connected with two waterside terraces for alfresco dining.
LAK Tented Camp has been conceived with the goals of cultural integrity preservation, environmental protection to offer guests an eco-friendly yet comfy stay, in harmony with local architecture and ecology. Your tent accommodation will delight you with a harmonious combination of rusticity and elegance, and a splendid view of the lake and its surroundings for an authentic immersion in a protected environment, without compromising on comfort. All rooms include a balcony, en-suite bathroom, WiFi, electric fan, and coffee maker, and two twin beds (private rooms are available for an additional fee). Read more about Lak Tented Camp. (NEED INFORMATION ON MEALS).
What vaccinations will I need to travel to Vietnam?
Vaccinations required will depend entirely on the medical history and decisions of each volunteer. Therefore, it is essential that you consult your doctor several months in advance of your departure regarding this issue. We also recommend that you check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US), Fit For Travel (UK), and other countries’ websites in conjunction with visiting your doctor. Proof of a recent (maximum 4 weeks prior to departure) negative TB-test is required in order to participate in Elephant Journey as TB is transmissible between humans and elephants.
Will I be able to ride or bathe the elephants?
No. Our aim is to provide an alternative to traditional elephant-based tourism that supports elephants' autonomy and allows them to 'just be elephants' without the burden of human expectations for entertainment. You will, however, work closely with mahouts and elephant owners and be in the close presence of elephants during the program.
What is a typical day for a volunteer?
7 – 7:45 am: Breakfast
8 – 8:15 am: Morning orientation/assignments
8:15 am: Work begins
12:00 noon: Lunch
1:00 pm: Work resumes
5:00 pm: Work ends
5 – 6:00 pm: Optional opportunity to assist mahouts with elephant care chores
Evenings free: Dinner, socializing, reading, games, etc.
What mindset do I need to make the most of this adventure?
If you arrive with an expectation of comfort you will be disappointed. Elephant suffering is unsettling, transport on rough roads is uncomfortable, and the cultural attitude towards time and being ‘on time’ can be frustrating. Working in Asia often brings unplanned challenges and surprises. While it is our absolute goal to complete the work and provide you with the volunteer experience described in the pages of this website, it is not possible to control all the variables that could impact this project, including weather, politics, and delays in the delivery of construction materials, among others. Being flexible, open-minded and non-judgmental will go a long way to having an enjoyable and memorable experience.
What is appropriate clothing for field work and leisure time?
To protect yourself from injury during the workday, please wear full length pants, a work shirt or t-shirt, and closed-toe sandals or shoes, sneakers or boots. On your own time you may wear what you wish, but out of respect for the local culture we recommended ¾ or full length pants (for men and women) or skirts (for women) that cover the knee. Sleeveless shirts and blouses are fine. Low-cut reveling blouses are not appropriate.
What kind of weather can be expected in Vietnam in April?
Vietnam's central region is generally basking in sunshine and relatively dry throughout the month of April. Temperatures can be cold, windy and dry. We recommend bringing clothing that can be layered for both cool and hot days.
What type of travel insurance do I need?
As a volunteer engaged in field work in a remote setting, we require you to secure your own medical emergency expense and evacuation and repatriation insurance. We recommend at least $100,000 of coverage and requires proof of emergency medical expense, evacuation and repatriation insurance prior to your departure. Click here to learn more and compare plans.
How do I obtain a visa?
Please visit this website for details on securing your mandatory 30-day visa (https://www.vietnam-visa.org.vn/). We will provide in advance of your departure from your home country a pre-approved letter for a Vietnam visa upon arrival.
What makes the Dak Lak region of Vietnam so special?
Add details about the region, the people, the culture…the elephants.