Volunteer in Thailand

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Serving Others in the Kingdom of Siam

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235 Volunteer Abroad Programs in Thailand

International Student Volunteers

Help preserve the environmental and ecological diversity of Thailand in a volunteer program from International Student Volunteers. Choose from three volunteer projects -- Habitat Restoration, Marine Conservation, and Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation -- and help the people of this Southeast Asian country protect its natural resources.

Affordable Volunteering in Thailand: From USD 320!

Volunteer in Thailand with International Volunteer HQ! Programs are situated in Chiang Rai and in the North provinces. Volunteers have the option to participate in outdoor work such as maintenance, construction, and renovation projects. They may also opt for English teaching placements.

A woman checking the child's temperature
Global Volunteer Network

Volunteer in the forests of Thailand and spend time with rescued elephants through the Elephant Rehabilitation Program by Global Volunteer Network. Participants of this program, located in the Chiang Mai province, learn about elephant behavior and ways to help elephants relearn their natural instincts. This project starts every second Saturday of the month and volunteers can participate for a w...

A girl walking with the elephants
Volunteer in Thailand with Love Volunteers

Volunteer in the beautiful country of Thailand and find contentment in helping others through Love Volunteers. A wide range of volunteer options are offered to participants all over the world. This program includes Community Development, English Teaching, and Childcare.

Children posing for the camera
Volunteer Work in Thailand

Learn about Thai culture and volunteer in the city of Bangkok with Cross-Cultural Solutions. Program participants can work alongside locals and make an impact in their communities. This summer program includes opportunities in Community Development, Academic Reinforcement, and Childcare.

A woman having a great time with the children
GoEco - Volunteer Abroad in Thailand

GoEco offers volunteering programs in Thailand that let you contribute to the development and education efforts for the Akha hill tribes. Volunteers can also assist the locals in the rehabilitation and rescue of the elephants, or fill a short-term paid English teaching position in local schools.

GoEco - Volunteer Abroad
ELI-Experiential Learning International

Volunteer at an elephant camp in Thailand, helping with conservation efforts and maintaining the grounds. ELI - Experiential Learning International has other volunteering opportunities in Chiang Mai, such as taking care of toddlers at the Ban Vieng Ping orphanage and guiding young, unwed mothers to become self sufficient and responsible.

Boys having their picture taken inside the classroom
Exotic Thailand: Volunteering and Memories for Life

Join our service learning programs in Thailand and immerse yourself in the unforgettable experience of multicultural exchange, positive impact, and global awareness. In Phuket, Krabi, or Chiang Mai, your will efforts help our grassroots projects achieve their goals in improving the quality of life in a community through animal care programs, EFL teaching, conservation, and social development.

A girl joining the kid's art class
Volunteer in Thailand with Projects Abroad

Live with a Thai host family and explore the land of smiles with Projects Abroad Thailand. For two to four weeks, volunteers are immersed in a Thai city and truly experience the lifestyle. They can choose between work in Conservation and Environment, Teaching, and Childcare and Youth Development.

Teach or tutor English in Thailand

Experience living in Bangkok or Chiang Mai for a few weeks while teaching English to a local family with GeoVisions. The cultural exchange program places participants in the care of the family, whose members benefit from informal conversational English tutorials. The program, which is available throughout the year, includes a clean place to live in Thailand, three healthy meals per day, and med...

Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

Take part in meaningful community service projects while engaging in Thailand's exotic culture through Friends For Asia. Placements are available in the city of Chiang Mai. Program fees include meals, cultural shows, and city tours.

Orphanage and Elephant Park Volunteering in Thailand

Discover the wonders in the heart of Thailand while volunteering in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. There are eight volunteer projects offered through Volunteering Solutions. Participants will have the chance to partake in a medical project in hospitals and health centers, be part of the daily lives of children in an orphanage, and share their knowledge of the English language with Thai monks.

A little boyscout
Volunteer and Travel in Thailand with Kaya

Learn more about Thailand and the Thai way of life through volunteer placement with Kaya Responsible Travel. Placements are available in locations such as Chiang Mai, Koh Tao, and Chiang Rai. Volunteers may work with victims of human trafficking who are living in shelters, animal specialists in marine and wildlife sanctuaries, or grassroots leaders in building projects catering to local communi...

Global Vision International

Volunteer in Thailand through the program at Global Vision International (GVI). Participants of this program gain a uniquie perspective of Thailand which many other travelers, on the tourist trail, would miss. Volunteers can get immersed in the local community while contributing to meaningful local projects.

Work alongside with children
Elephant and Wildlife Rescue Volunteer in Thailand

Thailand has unfortunately become a source of major illegal exportation of exotic animals as pets. Volunteer with Globalteer and help at a wildlife rescue and care for many exotic animals that have been rescued form poachers. Work with primates, elephants, tigers, bears, and birds. Help preserve theses species for generations to come.

An injured baby monkey
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Volunteer in Thailand and visit their temples.

How to Volunteer Abroad in Thailand

Serving Others in the Kingdom of Siam

Thailand is much more than full moon parties and Buddhist monasteries. While the country is typically seen as a place for rowdy beach holidays or spiritual retreats, this kingdom (formally called Siam) is one of the most culturally rich locations in Southeast Asia. A comfortable mix of developed nation and unexplored environment, volunteering in Thailand mixes sightseeing at the famous ruins of Ayutthaya with educational work in a tribal village, snorkeling off Koh Pi Pi, or caring for native tiger cubs. From the islands down south to the mountains up north, and the chaotic capital of Bangkok in between, individuals who volunteer in Thailand will have a vast number of opportunities.

Locations

Chiang Mai. This northern city is a colorful hub for tourists and expats, monks and musicians, refugees and aid workers. It offers quick and colorful urban scenery, as well as a slew of proactive non-profit organizations. Due to the large populations of Burmese refugees and resettled tribal peoples, volunteering in Chiang Mai in organizations which focus on human rights advocacy, education, and women’s livelihood projects is common. Those who volunteer in Chiang Mai can also choose to step outside the old city’s stone walls to participate in forest conservation and animal welfare in the jungle hills beyond.

Phuket. One of the largest islands off Thailand’s southwest coast, Phuket was devastated by the 2004 tsunami. Volunteers play an important role in rebuilding infrastructure, assisting victims, and protecting the remaining marine wildlife still today. An increased interest in tourism also creates volunteer placements in Phuket that allow volunteers to fulfill positions with travel magazines, local tourism agencies, and grassroots activity organizations.

Bangkok. Like all capital cities, this one has its seedy, dark side. But if you look beyond preconceived stereotypes to Bangkok’s infamous gems – from the boisterous floating markets to gilded temples, kind locals, and cheap street food surprises – you’ll realize it’s an engaging place to volunteer abroad in Thailand. Fields such as youth development, education, healthcare, and human rights advocacy and awareness are all very highly needed volunteer placements in Bangkok, which address the city’s over 6 million inhabitants needs.

Projects & Placements

Education. Volunteer work in Thailand centered on education can range from basic English teaching to higher-education classwork that is subject-specific. Teaching certification may be required for higher levels of instruction and a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) will come in handy anywhere. However, many rural schools and orphanages are eager to take volunteers without previous teaching experience – just speaking English is a bonus! These volunteer opportunities in Thailand can run from several days to several months, and it’s easy to find one that matches your skill set and intended length of time.

Refugee Assistance. Volunteering in Thailand in this placement area is more difficult to arrange, because Thailand supports temporary camps for ethnic refugees, but does not recognize their international United Nations status inside the country. Volunteers are desperately needed for female rights; human trafficking and protection organizations; media outlets; camp classrooms; and other refugee groups. If you’re interested in getting involved with Burmese refugees in Thailand, some organizations do offer placements assisting these specific refugees. These type of placements run from four weeks to a year and require a serious commitment from volunteers for the duration of their stay.

Conservation & Environmental Protection. These fields are quite popular for volunteering in Thailand, thanks to the nation’s unique and endangered species. Elephant care and forestry are two volunteer favorites. Though 11 of the country’s indigenous mammals are on international watch lists, Thailand is making strides toward environmental concern and education, with volunteers establishing conservation standards, monitoring wild species, and working with villages on sustainability projects. Those who volunteer in Thailand in conservation can be as short as one week, but three to four is the average length.

Costs & Affordability

Thailand is repeatedly voted one of the top volunteer abroad destinations in the world, and the affordable cost of volunteer work in Thailand is one of the reasons it rates so highly. Typically, program costs cover accommodation and any needed training/orientation. Covering flights and insurance are usually the responsibility of volunteers, however. Many international airlines fly directly to Bangkok, and regional public transportation systems are cheap and dependable. Food may be provided by a host family or organization, but if not, street eats are delicious and only a few dollars a plate. Clothing and toiletries are equally inexpensive. Also, markets occur everywhere and are a perfect place to barter your way to bargains on anything from shirts to shampoo to souvenirs.

Accommodations & Visas

Volunteers must enter Thailand on a volunteer visa and placement organizers should help individuals apply for this. If not, information is available online at the Thai Immigration Bureau website. If your international volunteer program in Thailand does not endorse a volunteer visa, citizens of most countries can apply for a three-month visa. Thailand has a reputation for loose visa laws, so it can be a simple procedure legally entering the country. However, visa laws have been tightening in the recent years, so laws are not near as relaxed as they used to be. Visas may also be extended, which gives volunteers the freedom to renew their visa if they choose to participate in volunteer work in Thailand for longer than expected. 

Accommodation is another component typically arranged by volunteer organizations in Thailand. In big cities, accommodation may be in a house or hostel-type environment with multiple volunteers sharing sleeping and dining quarters. In rural volunteer settings, accommodation is often provided by local host families. Both types of housing costs are typically incorporated into the placement fees; but, if living with a host family, double check that this money is being returned directly to the family for food and shelter.

Benefits & Challenges
  • Adventure & Immersion. Understanding that Thailand is a travel hub for outdoor adventures, underwater sports, food trails, and cheap shopping, most international volunteer programs in Thailand combine volunteering with local activities and day trips. Wherever you end up, you can look forward to deep cultural immersion, alongside an altruistic experience. 
  • Buddhism & Conservative Culture. As you jump into Thai customs, be aware that much of the country practices the Buddhist religion and follows a conservative way of life. Be respectful of religious and spiritual beliefs, whether you’re touring a temple or walking through a busy city. Don’t dress for the weather, but follow the unspoken rule and keep your shoulders and knees covered whenever possible. 
  • Look for Transparency. Though every volunteer program in Thailand appears to have good intentions online, there are unfortunate stories of volunteers who have reached their placement only to find the organization doesn’t actually exist. Contact the program manager or director if you have questions or concerns, and look for other volunteer peer reviews.
Kelli Mutchler

Kelli Mutchler left a small, Midwestern American town to prove that Yanks can, and do, chose alternative lifestyles. On the road for six years now, Kelli has tried news reporting and waitressing, bungee jumping, and English teaching. After working with Burmese female refugees in Thailand, she decided to pursue a MA in Global Development and is, naturally, getting distracted along the road. Opportunities and scenes for international travel are encouraged on Kelli’s blog.