Volunteer Abroad in Thailand

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A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Thailand

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 (formerly called Siam) is one of the most culturally colorful 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.

Best Places to Volunteer in Thailand

From gleaming temples and underground cave shrines to tropical forests and endless coastlines, the bounty of the geographical diversity will delight any volunteer in Thailand. Whether you’re relishing the plump seafood or marveling the elephants, you’ll find peace and beauty wherever you go in this monumental land. 

Chiang Mai. This northern city is a hub for tourists and expats, monks and musicians, refugees and aid workers. It offers 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 is a hotspot for world-class diving sites, pure-white beaches and limestone cliffs, and a site of the 2004 tsunami. Volunteers play an important role in rebuilding infrastructure, assisting orphanages, and protecting the remaining marine wildlife. 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. However, if you look beyond preconceived stereotypes to Bangkok’s infamous gems – from the boisterous floating markets to kind locals and cheap street food surprises – you’ll realize it’s an engaging place to volunteer 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 six million inhabitants’ needs.

Costs of Volunteering in Thailand

Thailand is repeatedly voted as 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. To cover the bulk of some of the costs, reach out to your friends and family for your good cause with FundMyTravel

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 negotiate your way to bargains on anything from shirts to shampoo to souvenirs.

Volunteer Housing in Thailand

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 you’re living with a host family, double check that this money is being returned directly to the family for food and shelter.

Visas to Volunteer in Thailand

Volunteers must enter Thailand on a volunteer visa, and placement organizers should help individuals apply for this — GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory can help as well. 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. 

GoAbroad Insider Tips

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.

From scaling the cliffs of Krabi to meeting locals at curried noodle shacks, come discover the country that radiates golden hues and sparkles azure waters. Volunteer in Thailand and it’s spirit will dig deep into your soul as you immerse yourself in its culture. 

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A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Thailand

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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.

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Make a REAL difference in Thailand with Love Volunteers!

Over the years, thousands of volunteers have trusted Love Volunteers for travel abroad that provides cultural immersion alongside the chance to help those in real need. Join us now for a safe, fun, and sustainable volunteer program in Thailand for a truly memorable experience abroad! Check out our programs!

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Volunteer in Thailand with GVI

Discover a country surrounded by breathtaking golden beaches, intricate temples and rich cultures and traditions. Thailand is the perfect location for a hands-on volunteer experience. Come make memories in Thailand!

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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.

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Teaching, Medical & Elephant Care w/ Volunteering Journeys

Get an uplifting and authentic opportunity to serve locally driven projects for Teaching English, Medical Work and Elephant Welfare. Along with a gratifying volunteer experience, you will live like a true local, develop your skills, make new friends and discover beautiful Thailand.

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ELI Abroad – Volunteer at an Elephant Camp, and More!

Our extensive connections in Thailand mean you can do everything from shadowing in a hospital, teaching English to young monks-in-training, working in women’s empowerment to, yes, taking care of elephants! ELI Abroad has placements in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, with access to many cultural and beach attractions. Housing and in-country support included.

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Volunteer in Thailand with PMGY from $360

PMGY offers 2-week to 12-week volunteering opportunities in buzzing Bangkok in Thailand. Volunteers can teach English to school children as well as providing care and support at a kindergarten project. Our Affordable Program fees include our world class support service, ATOL protection, airport transfers, accommodation, meals and much more!

Volunteer in Thailand - Plan My Gap Year
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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.

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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.

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The Bamboo Project powered by GVN

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...

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Camp Thailand Odyssey Programme

Join the Camp Thailand Odyssey Program which is the ultimate international cultural exchange for global English speaking travelers and adventures from around the world. The program combines volunteering opportunities, cultural immersion and amazing fun and adventure all in one 3-week package that you get to experience and make new friends with people with similar profiles to your own. The Progr...

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Teach or Tutor English in Thailand with GeoVisions

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...

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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...

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Volunteer in Thailand with Frontier

Discover Frontier for your volunteering dreams in Thailand. They offer a variety of programs that range from teaching English to working in an elephant sanctuary. They also provide organized group treks, opportunities to meditate with monks, trips to exotic beaches, and much more.

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