Chiang Mai Yoga Retreat plus
Service Week at Elephant Nature Park
with Alyson Simms
January 29 – Februry 9, 2025
Join us for a very special 11 night / 12 day adventure retreat to Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand!
The highlight of our retreat to Thailand will be our week of Seva (selfless service) volunteering at Elephant Nature Park – an educational sanctuary for the endangered Asian elephant (among many other rescued animals!).
But before that, we’ll have a relaxing and pampering 5 night 6 day retreat in Chiang Mai complete with daily yoga classes, nourishing meals, a Thai cooking class and more. You’ll have opportunities to go into the old city to visit local temples and the famous Chiang Mai night market, or you can just relax and prepare for your week of service at Elephant Nature Park!
Your yoga teacher and guide for this trip is Alyson Simms. This this will be her 4th trip leading a volunteer group to Thailand and Elephant Nature Park. She has lived / spent extensive time in Thailand during her adult life, and she is the perfect yogini / guide for this adventure!
-Susanna, 2017 participant
Below is our general itinerary for our time together:
Wednesday January 29 – Arrivals in Chiang Mai
We will arrange a transport from Chiang Main International Airport to your yoga retreat hotel
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – January 30 – February 2
Yoga, exploration, spa services and relaxation!
You are close enough to the city to go in to explore and shop if you like. Our hotel offers free nightly shuttles to the Night Bazaar and taxi’s can be arranged if you want to go into town to visit some local Buddhist temples.
Monday February 3 – Sunday, February 9
After breakfast, we will be transported to Elephant Nature Park!
We will be amongst all the volunteers for the week and we will be provided with a schedule of service tasks.
Newly renovated volunteer rooms are simple but comfortable design, 2 per room with private bathroom and shower.
While at Elephant Nature Park, Alyson will do her best to offer some sort of yoga class or meditation each day, as your schedule permits. You WILL need to bring a travel yoga mat for this. Please be prepared to be a volunteer – there are some videos included below to give you an idea of what to expect.
Sunday February 9 – transfers departing at 1pm and 3pm back to Chiang Mai or to the airport for your departure home! (If you are adding extra time in Thailand, you can be dropped in Chiang Mai)
Participants are welcomed to add days on the front or back end at their own expense.
CLICK HERE to read more about the Asian Elephant ...
There are a number of elephant races within the Asian species. For instance the Indian elephant, is bigger, has longer front legs and a thinner body than their Thai counterparts. As the park deals exclusively with Thai elephants we will concern ourselves with this particular order. The facts are, however, generally applicable to all types of Asian Elephant.
Various authorities differ somewhat on exact details. Using our own experience and taking into account numerous sources we present you with our own interpretation. Elephants, like human beings, can and do vary in many characteristics, emotions and personality.
Asian Elephants – Existing Numbers
The Asian Elephant, still known to many as the Indian Elephant, is officially an endangered species. Present numbers have dropped to an alarmingly low level with estimates of under 30,000 left in the entire world. This disturbingly small number of survivors is epitomised by the fact that these gentle beast have been exterminated from large areas of their former habitat.
In Thailand there is an estimated 3,000-4,000 elephants. Around half of this number are domesticated, the remainder living wild in National Parks Reserves. Some 300 are suffer under appalling conditions in Bangkok.
It is notable that at the start of the 20th century (1900 AD) over 100,000 elephants graced the Siamese (Thai) countryside.
They are forced to walk on hot tarmac roads by gangs of elephant owners and beg for fruit and food. The owner of often buys the elephant purely to obtain begging money from sympathetic passers by. As he has scant experience with animal training, the hapless creature is cruelly treated and beaten as the rider becomes impatient. In the city the animal cannot possibly get the 200-300 kg of food and 100-200 litres of water necessary for it’s daily nourishment so it plods the hot polluted streets, thirsty hungry and confused. These animals quickly suffer from stress through polluted air, poor diet, dehydration, loneliness and their sensitive ears are soon damaged. Much of the fruit purchased from local sellers has been treated with chemicals and causes serious stomach problems and eventually death.
Other forms of, less apparent abuse come in the form of pet baby elephants featured at hotels and entertainment complexes. Although the animals may seem happy enough they are invariably fed the wrong diet, suffer from loneliness and boredom and will soon die. Many unwitting tourists, delighted at the sight of a “cute” baby elephant, are completely unaware that the lifespan of the creature is likely to be only a few years.
There are a number of important factors to consider but we will deal with the four main ones;
First and foremost is human encroachment in the domain of the elephant. With a fast growing population Asia does not have the land resources for both humans and the indigenous wildlife populations. There is not a government in the world that will sacrifice it’s voters in favour of mere animals.
Secondary is greed. Whilst it is inevitable that much land is set aside for growing human populations there are a number of influential persons seeking huge land areas for personal gain. Illegal logging and such environmentally detrimental pursuits lead to a reduction in grazing or browsing land for the animals.
Thirdly is poaching for ivory, skin or aphrodisiacs which the elephant is said to possess.
Fourthly: Sport. Unbelievably there are such deluded souls amongst us that actually think the killing a defenseless animal is sport. Wealthy patron’s of these games are willing to travel and pay handsomely for the sheer pleasure of “bagging” an elephant.
How Elephant Nature Park is helping
Through the development of our park we are providing a haven for these animals. The birth of three baby elephants within a few months of opening was both a joy for everyone at the park and a great encouragement.
Remember: There are less than 30,000 of the species left in the world and under 4,000 in Thailand 20% of which are believed to live in Chiang Mai province.
Traveling to Thailand from the US is an adventure in itself! Expect 2-3 plane changes and 25-35 hours of travel. You’ll need to leave the US on Jan 27 or 28 to arrive on Jan 29. We know many of you will choose to spend time in advance in Bangkok or Southern Thailand, so arrival times will vary. Hotel rooms are typically ready by 2pm.
*if you are arriving on January 29, please note that some flights arrive around midnight. These flights listed at midnight on Feb 2nd are actually LATE night, just after 11:59pm on Jan 28, so rooms will not be ready when you arrive around 2am. Please discuss this with Laura before booking.
We will provide a pick up for airport arrivals on the 29th. If you are already in Chiang Mai, we will provide you with our hotel details so you can meet us there. Because we’ll be a smaller group (16-18) – we’ll make introductions and share arrivals in advance.
After your week at Elephant Nature Park, we can transport you back to Chiang Mai (if you’ve addd some extra time there) or directly to the International Airport.
Please consider purchasing Trip Insurance to protect your investment if you can’t travel or have flight delays, baggage loss, etc . Informatiuon is provided at the time of enrollment. ENP requires (at a minimum) that each volunteer have at a minimum emergency medical insurance. This can be purhcsed from a variety of providers and is typically $50-$80.
More FAQ’s and a packing list will be provided to registrants closer to the retreat.
She was drawn to her first yoga class in 2001 to live a deeper life. Her true self was ignited and her life became one of devotion. Alyson has studied: Hatha, vinyasa, tantra, ashtanga, restorative, yin, zen mediation, qi-gong, yoga nidra, trance dance, and some good, old-fashioned sitting quietly on the floor. Her teaching, yoga practice, and healing ability and has taken her around the world to practice, study, and teach. [Read more about Alyson]
For the Chiang Mai retreat nights, we can offer deluxe single or double occupancy rooms at your retreat spa hotel. For your service week at Elephant Nature Park, simple volunteer accommodations are offered as shared, 2 per room. Each room has a private bathroom and shower.
Chiang Mai Accommodations
The ultimate in pampering and relaxation to acclimate from your long travel. These deluxe rooms at our 4* retreat hotel include 1 or 2 beds, private bathroom with shower and soaking tub.
ELEPHANT NATURE PARK
During your volunteer week, accommodations are ENP are simple but lovely, 2 per room with private bathroom and shower.
12 night retreat cost:
Double Occupancy in Chiang Mai and ENP: $2695 per person
reserve with a deposit now and receive $200 off your balance
Single Occupancy in Chiang Mai plus shared rooms at ENP: $3195
reserve with a deposit now and receive $200 off your balance
EARLY RESERVATIONS NOW OPEN!
A $595 deposit will reserve your space. We can split the balance into a extended paymant plan through Nov, 2024.
5 nights / 5.5 days at Chiang Mai Hotel (single or double occupancy options)
6 nights / 6.5 days at Elephant Nature Park (shared accommodations)
Airport transfer to Chiang Mai hotel on day 1
Transfer to ENP and from ENP to CM airport or back to CM on last day
All vegan meals at Elephant Nature Park
Breakfasts, mosts lunches and dinners in Chiang Mai
Coooking Class in Chiang Mai
Walking tour of the old town and temples in CM
Visit to the CM Night Market
Daily yoga classes with your teacher in Chiang Mai
Other group activites in CM and at ENP
Flights to Chiang Mai
Transfers on non specified days (ex. early arrivals)
A couple meals in Chiang Mai during open time
Personal purchases in CM or at Elephant Nature Park
Refunds and Cancellations: Refund less deposit ($595) before October 1, 2024. No refunds after October 1. In case of cancellation, you may transfer your deposit or your reservation to another person as long as you notify One Yoga Global 21+ days in advance. Due to arrangements made with our vacation hosts, there can be no exceptions to this policy.
If you place a deposit, the balance due will be set to charge in equal installments starting the month after deposit through November 2024, unless other arrangements are made.
In the unlikely case of cancellation by One Yoga Global due to insufficient enrollment or logistical problems (acts of God, war, strikes, etc.) that may impede trip operations, please refer to the policies outlined in the more detailed application and liability waiver provided upon reservation. Participants will be required to sign the application and liability waiver to participate on this trip.
We HIGHLY recommend that you consider purchasing Travel Insurance. Travel insurance companies like TRAWICK INTERNATIONAL and TRAVEL GUARD offer policies that insure your investment in case you need to cancel (including “cancel for any reason” coverages), coverages for expenses incurred due to to weather & travel delays, personal property loss and emergency travel medical. Please review policies carefully to choose the coverage you need.
We recommend that you consider purchasing trip insurance to protect your investment. Trawick International and Travel Guard are two providers that we recommend. Please review policies carefully to ensure they provide the coverage you need.