If considering where to volunteer abroad, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches abounding with intricate temples, elephant camps, and crashing waves is most definitely an enticing choice. Volunteering in Phuket, Thailand will expose volunteers to a city known worldwide for its immense beauty and diversity. Containing a large gap between wealth and poverty, volunteer opportunities in Phuket are available in both resorts and slums. Whether you have a background in social sciences, environmental life, or business, nearly anyone can find an incredible opportunity to volunteer in Phuket.
Projects & Placements
Volunteer placements in Phuket range from one week to six months, with opportunities that are great for college students, gap years seekers, and high school graduates alike.
Orphanages. If you would define yourself as patient, slow to anger and creative, orphanage volunteering in Phuket may be a great match for you. Many children who live in alternative homes in Phuket have parents, yet they are unable to fulfill their children’s basic needs for countless reasons. The main goal of these homes is providing children with a sense of family and proper support, despite extenuating circumstances. If you would be interested in fundraising initiatives, organizing, and conducting extra-curricular activities, then volunteering abroad in Phuket with orphans may be a good fit for you.
Environmental Conservation. When pondering the option to volunteer abroad in Phuket, chances are you are a beach fanatic. The levels of environmental standards in Thailand are not comparable to those in the Western world. Conservation volunteer work in Phuket involves working alongside locals to clean-up the beaches, preserve the natural beauty, and protect marine life. In addition to these hands on responsibilities, volunteers will be have the opportunity to help villagers and local businesses expand their education regarding conservation.
Building Projects. Some volunteers don’t have a preference of where to work and with what specific population. Physical projects are great for anyone who can associate with this! In Phuket there are various needs such as rebuilding low income housing and farming. These community building projects will expose volunteers to populations such as refugees, elderly, children with disabilities, and orphans.
Also important to note, a business savvy individual looking to work in social entrepreneurship is well suited for volunteering abroad in Phuket too, and of course teachers won’t have much trouble becoming a volunteer teacher in Phuket.
Life in Phuket
From farms to waves, cafes to clubs, Phuket has the best of all worlds. Surrounded by the hustle of mopeds, markets selling famous Thai dishes, and the smiles of native children covering the streets, this city is filled with life.
If you enjoy architecture and religious studies you won't want to miss the magnificent Wat Pra Tong Temple during your volunteer program in Phuket. This temple of the gold Buddha holds a massive gold buddha image who is buried waist deep in the ground. Despite religious beliefs, temples are always worth the visit, whether for worship or appreciation of handicraft, they are truly remarkable structures.
To spend some time away from the town, volunteers will not want to miss Khao Phra Thaew National Park. This park provides visitors with a pristine, restful, rainforest experience. If you are lucky you may even be greeted by a gibbon.
While volunteers are encouraged to indulge in the many delicious Thai flavors, it isn't difficult to track down favorite hometown bites. One of the plus sides of volunteering in Phuket, is that it is a highly traveled area so there are plenty of international activities and flavors. Massages are offered everywhere you turn in this region; foreigners and Thais alike enjoy a Thai full body massage. Despite what you may have heard about them, try one for yourself right on the beach. It is the perfect way to unwind and recharge before returning to a full day of volunteering in Phuket.
Thailand overall is an incredibly affordable destination for volunteer work abroad. Based on the tourist volume and demand, the pricing of basic goods are slightly higher than the rest of the nation. The average meal will range from a more than affordable $2 to 5, and souvenirs range around $5 to 10. The culture may take a while to adjust to and the food may not always sit well at first, but one thing you can count on is that every day of voluntary work in Phuket will be filled with incredible joy and fulfillment!
Accommodations & Visas
Based on the incredibly low cost of living in Thailand, nearly all volunteer opportunities in Phuket will provide housing. Housing will look differently for each volunteer in Phuket. Some volunteers will find themselves matched with host families. This is the greatest way to dive head first into the culture and learn first hand how to cook the world famous food, learn the Thai language at an accelerated rate, and build lifelong relationships. Guest houses and dormitories are other common alternatives. Living accommodations will almost always be with other volunteers, so you’re sure to be in good company.
Visas are required for individuals who want to volunteer in Phuket. While many organizations will assist in this process, it is crucial to submit documentation at least three months in advance, regardless of provided assistance or not. The process is not difficult, yet it can be arduous. Many program costs do not cover this expense, therefore it will be necessary to put a small amount of funding aside to provide upon submission. Visa requirements are ever-changing, so as a responsible volunteer it’s your duty to stay up-to-date to assure a smooth transition.
Benefits & Challenges
- Top Notch Location. There are many clear benefits of volunteering in Phuket, mainly getting to spend every day by crashing waves and beach sunsets. However, more significantly, volunteers will be surrounded by backpackers and travelers from around the world. Professionally, not only will one be able to grow in managing a new culture, but rather learning to manage many cultures simultaneously.
- Safety. Phuket is known for its beauty, however it also is known for the crises at hand. For some volunteers the balance of luxury and struggle is difficult to manage. The luxury component of the island draw in people from around the world making safety a concern, for locals and tourists alike. While the Thai culture in itself is safe, average precautions should be taken to assure safety when in more heavily populated sections of the island.
- Language. The Thai language is not one commonly known, therefore can cause a barrier between volunteers and natives. Since this area of heavily traveled, English is more readily spoken. As long as a volunteer is open to it, natives will be more than willing to assist in developing basic Thai language skills.