Visit The Valley

“The Elephant Valley Project is a bit of an abstract experience, you walk off into the elephant’s natural habitat and watch them being elephants. There is no riding, no tricks, no shows, just elephants being elephants in their own natural space. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?” – Jack Highwood (Founder of EVP)

Visit Options

Where Your Money Goes

2016 ELIE Financial Breakdown

Beware of imitators. There is only one Elephant Valley Project.

We are NOT the “Mondulkiri Project”. These days more and more “elephant sanctuaries” are popping up in the area. Slander is rampant as tour operators compete over limited tourist numbers and seek to exploit the remaining elephants any way they can. We invite you to read our ethos page and do your research before listening to any joe off the street. We are a registered Cambodian NGO and the only TRUE elephant sanctuary in Cambodia. Travel responsibly. Don’t let your dollars go to further elephant suffering.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a typical day like?

Typical Day

Here are the elephant valley project we love adventure and thus day to day can be well… adventurous and vary a bit!

Typically this is what you can expect from a day with us…

  • Hike out to the forest to find the elephants and walk beside them in their natural forest habitat. We watch them interact with each other in their bonded family groups, where they are relearning and showing natural elephant behavior and enjoying life!
  • Meanwhile you will learn about the elephant’s individual history and on going stories, and also importantly learn about the unique role the local villagers play in protecting these incredible animals
  • One of the main highlights of the day is to observe the elephants washing themselves in the river, playing in the mud and dusting themselves in their daily beauty routines! This kind of observation can only be done in somewhere as unique as the EVP!
  • If your visit options includes volunteering you will have a unique experience to lend a hand and help us keep the project going and growing! 
  • Meet the local people and learn about Bunong culture and way of life!
  • Enjoy deliciously prepared food throughout the day and unwind with a cold beer watching the sun go down from our stunning lounge.

Accommodation at EVP

Accommodation

Accommodation at the project is located on the slopes of the Elephant Valley affording stunning views over the surrounding forest where many varieties of birds can be seen from eagles to hornbills. Sunset can be spent unwinding at the lounge/kitchen/dinning area, enjoying the amazing sounds of the nocturnal forest creatures and the gibbons calling as they prepare to sleep. Interestingly the main project buildings are made from mostly recycled and salvaged materials and have all been built by local villagers working with volunteers over the years.

Private Bungalow

We have four secluded self-contained jungle bungalows built in the traditional Bunong style.  Each bungalow is basic but with comfortable furnishings such as a double bed with mosquito net, tables and a chair, and ensuite including cold water shower and western toilet. The floors are beautiful tiled terracotta.

*If you would like to stay in a Private Bungalow, we can only hold your booking and confirm one month in advance. This is because these are firstly reserved for our long-term volunteer program. If the Private Bungalow does fill, don’t worry we will then ensure you have a space in our Backpackers Dorm for your stay.

Backpacker Bungalow

For those travelling on a budget or shorter time, we have a beautiful backpacker bungalow set into the hillside of the project. There is a selection of dorm style rooms (single, twin and triple), with shared bathrooms set amongst forest surrounds.

Group Bungalow

Our  group bungalow (also known as the Hefalump House) caters to groups of up to 16 people (as it has 4 beds per room), with 4 shared bathrooms and two great little chill out areas. Perfect for university groups or educational groups wanting an amazing experience in the jungle.

Please Note: The base camp’s electricity supply is powered by generator from approximately 6pm until 9pm, when you will have lights and be able to recharge those all important camera batteries. It is essential that you bring a torch for all other times, and for walking between the bungalows and the kitchen/lounge/dinning area.

Housekeeping will make up the rooms each day, and there is a free laundry service available for stays longer than 2 days.

What is the food like?

The Food is amazing! 

A fusion style lunch is included in all visits. Our unique group of lady chefs rustle up a fine fusion of Asian and Western meals each day.
Our open plan dining and lounge area are in the middle of the camp, with spectacular views over the valley.

All meals are prepared by our Bunong chefs and are delicious and plentiful. Meals depend on seasonal products available at the market, but include a wide variety of beef, pork, fish and vegetable dishes. A vegetarian option is available at all meals. For those staying for a couple of days dinner and breakfast is included as well.

Visitors and volunteers will enjoy a changing menu of curries, stir fry, rice, noodles, eggs, bread, and even the occasional treat of mashed potatoes or French toast! Every meal ends with a platter of fresh fruit.

Our chefs are happy to accommodate any special dietary needs or requests. Please make sure you mention this to our booking manager upon getting in contact to ensure that the kitchen is prepared.

Free drinking water is readily available from the kitchen, you are welcome to refill your drinking bottle at any time.

Royal D, CocaCola and beer is also for sale for those who like something a little stronger than water with their meal.

What you need for a visit!

Forms and Documents 

All people who visit the project must first fill in a “visitors information form” before or on arrival. This allows us to keep a record of your visit and to insure your safety and protects your rights as a guest and visitor of the project.

We will require your name,  age, address, passport and visa number, allergies, food preference (vegan, vegetarian etc…), phone number to ring in case of emergencies.

What to bring for your day visit…
  • Please bring sufficient water for trekking in the forest for the whole morning, you can refill your bottle at base camp at lunch time. You might also need sunscreen, hat, mosquito repellent, rain jacket etc.
  • Please wear appropriate jungle trekking attire, e.g. long pants/long shorts and a t-shirt. Please no short shorts or visible cleavage so as to be culturally sensitive to our Bunong staff.
  • Please wear appropriate footwear. Flip-flops are not suited to hiking in the forest.

What to bring for your overnight visit…

  • As the base camp is located on the side of a mountain, we cannot get the cars down the hill if there is any rain and we have to walk the last 800m. So please be aware that you may have to carry your own luggage, generally in the peak of rainy season. If only coming for a night or two, you may consider leaving your main luggage in storage in town, for example at the Greenhouse Restaurant or at the Greenhouse Guesthouse.
  • Please bring your passports for our records, as the law of Cambodia states that we have to submit these records to the tourist police daily. You can also bring a copy of your passport and your visa.
  • You need a torch (electricity is only from 6pm – 9pm) and a warm jumper (especially during November – February)
  • Please bring a refillable water bottle
  • And don’t forget to bring some good books!

Visa information

All visitors and volunteers must have a current and up to date visa, so please bring your passport along. If you have deposited or about to deposit your passport with an embassy then please make sure you have a copy of your passport and Cambodian Visa.

If you are coming to volunteer for a period of time longer than a month or if you will be at the EVP when your visa expires please make sure you enter the country under a Normal or Business visa so that we can easily extend it during your stay.

Important – Travel Insurance!

Visitors are required to have travel insurance in case of accident, emergency or an act of theft. We have had no problems so far at the sanctuary but we do not wish to be lax in case there is a problem in the future and for example we need to call an air ambulance or provide you with expensive medical treatments.

How to get to EVP

Joining and leaving the project:

You will need to be in Sen Monorom the night before your visit date as we meet in town at 7.20am, and a day at the project finishes at 5pm. At that time of the day there is no more transport out of Sen Monorom. You will have to arrange accommodation in the town for the night, and depart the following morning for your next destination. Buses leave at 7 am and 1 pm daily for Phnom Penh & other destinations.

Cambo Ticket – transport all over Cambodia

The best way to get from Phnom Penh to Sen Monorom is by VIP minivan. We recommend the Kim Seng Express or Virak Buntham from Phnom Penh to Sen Monorom. Check out this easy to use website, where you can book your tickets all over Cambodia, or you can call the companies directly.

Click Here to Book! 

Transportation from Siem Reap:

If you are coming from Siem Reap, it takes about 12 hours to reach Sen Monorom during the day. There are VIP buses that travel to Phnom Penh, allowing you to catch the afternoon bus up here to Mondulkiri. Virak-Buntham is one good company. There are also night buses to Phnom Penh that will arrive in time for the first buses/express minivans to Sen Monorom in the morning. Giant Ibis & Virak-Buntham both run reputable nightbus services, and Virak Buntham also runs an express minivan onwards from Phnom Penh to Sen Monorom.

 There are many bus agencies in Siem Reap that will be able to assist you with your booking. Otherwise you can hire a taxi all the way. This would cost about $150 but you will have to organise it yourself from Siem Reap. I am sure your hotel or guesthouse can help you to arrange it.

If budget allows, you might also consider a flight to Phnom Penh to save time

Transportation from Kratie:

Minibuses leave Kratie in the morning at around 8am and you get to Sen Monorom around lunch time.

Transportation from Ban Lung, Rattanakiri:

Minibuses leave Ban Lung in the morning at around 8am and you get to Sen Monorom around lunch time.

Border crossing to and from Vietnam:

The closest border crossing to and from Vietnam is north of Ho Chi Minh City, called Hoa Lu, and the nearest town on the Vietnamese side is Loc Ninh. On the Cambodian side, the nearest town is Snuol, 130km southwest of Sen Monorom.

It takes about 5 hours by bus to get to the border from Ho Chi Minh City. After you cross the border you will need to get a motorbike taxi to Snuol and in Snuol you should be able to catch a minibus to Sen Monorom (approx. 2 hours).

You should be able to catch a minibus from Sen Monorom to Snuol (approx. 2 hours). You will then need to take a motorbike taxi to the border and after you have crossed the border it takes about 5 hours to get to Ho Chi Minh City by bus.

Elephant Riding / Washing / Feeding

Things we do not do here…

Please be aware that elephant riding, washing, and feeding is not available at the Elephant Valley Project. If you wish to ride an elephant, this is available in the Mondulkiri villages of Putang or Pulong and not at the Elephant Valley Project.

The EVP is primarily a rest and recuperation centre for elephants who are in need, while also an Asian elephant retirement home.

We believe in a model where we put the elephants back in their natural habitat and then observe them interacting with each other as they relearn natural elephant behavior.

During the observation of this process we then give the elephants a choice on their level of interaction with us, they choose when and if they want to come up to us and say hello which in turn while gives them the opportunity to forage in the forest and just be elephants.

To learn more about this please go to our Sanctuary Ethos Page.

Mondulkiri Province

Mondulkiri Province and the town of Sen Monorom 

The Elephant Valley Project is based 11km from the town of Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia, near the border of Vietnam. It is approximately 5 to 6 hours travel from Phnom Penh and about 12 hours travel from Siem Reap.

Surrounded by forest and grassland and dedicated to the conservation and welfare of the elephants of Mondulkiri, this location is ideal for the rehabilitation of the elephants we see each year and is certainly unique in Cambodia and is one of only a handful of elephant sanctuaries in the world.

Mondulkiri is also home to the Bunong, one of Cambodia’s 23 indigenous groups. The majority of staff at the Elephant Valley project is Bunong, who are mainly from the village of Putrom. Visiting Mondulkiri and the EVP also gives you a great opportunity to meet and get to know these swidden cultivators who are fast meeting the changing 21st century.