**A good account of staying with a village family and an appreciation of the new culture encountered.** **Testimonial** Thailand December 2014 - January 2015 (2 weeks) I spent two weeks at the Huay Pakoot base south west of Chiang Mai. High up within the mountains, this amazing setting made you fee as though you were truly away from the city lights and in the middle of an adventure. The hikes were challenging but also extremely rewarding. Spending time monitoring, watching and recording data on the beautiful Asian elephants was truly an experience that I will never forget. The staff were very welcoming and made you feel completely comfortable and safe around these large animals. Living in a Homestay with a village family was a unique experience and the traditional dishes were delicious (very spicy options available if you were game enough). They were also able to cater for any dietary requirements. Having the weekends off was a nice break with the option to travel off base if desired. The cold bucket showers were challenging but made me realise how lucky I am and much more appreciative of the lifestyle I have back home. This was the first time I had spent time with a traditional village. The Karen people were extremely accommodating, happy and interesting people. Learning a new language was a fantastic experience, especially being able to practice at dinner time with your homestay or with local village people, when walking around during the day. This adventure makes you grateful but also appreciative of other cultures and communities. The work that GVI is doing with the Asian Elephants in Thailand as well as with the Huay Pakoot community is extremely important and they need volunteers and donations to continue this into the future.