Thailand is a land of lumbering elephants, breathtaking beaches, dramatic temples, and towering mountains. With everything from glittering cities full of skyscrapers to rustic villages set amidst forests and rice paddies, Thailand has such a variety of sights to keep even the most well-traveled entertained. Volunteerism is a growing activity that gives globe trekkers and vacationers a chance to interact with the local community. You will get to see how different organizations work to build infrastructure and to support the growth of a sustainable society.
For those who want to make more of an impact, becoming a full-time volunteer is a worthwhile way to learn about grassroots movements as well as have an opportunity to launch and oversee longer term projects. Volunteering is a wonderful way to travel with a purpose and to really feel like you have seen a country. This opportunity might even give you an idea of what you want to do with your life and you might even be able to bring what you learned back to organizations in your home nation. Plus, who would not want to explore and journey through Thailand?
Thailand at a Glance
Domestic Population: 67.7 Million People
Capital City: Bangkok
Trivia: Thailand has the world’s largest gold Buddha statue.
When is The Best Time to Volunteer in Thailand
Volunteering in Thailand is very flexible, both when it comes to start dates and duration. There are many organizations that accept applications on a rolling basis so you should not have to worry too much about deadlines. You can participate in programs that last anywhere from one day to one week to three months or more. You could even take one month in Thailand and spend each week volunteering with a different organization.
While you will most likely be able to volunteer somewhere at any time during the year, double check to see if the particular program you want has blackout dates or periods of not being open. There are other organizations that will accept you for one month and then allow you to extend past that if your work is acceptable.
Volunteer Programs and Popular Cities in Thailand
There is a huge variety of programs to choose from which will appeal to people from all backgrounds. You could teach English, participate in marine conservation, assist therapists in a hospital, care for elephants, or even work with different indigenous peoples. When choosing a program, make sure that the organization that you want to volunteer with is ethically run and beneficial to the local community.
Bangkok: This scintillating capital city is the best place for some stellar street food. You should make time to see the Chatuchak Weekend Market and then spend the rest of your days bouncing from temple to temple including a visit to Wat Pho.
- Cross Cultural Solutions Bangkok
- Volunteering Solutions
Chiang Mai: This northern city is laidback, temple-filled, and nestled in the foothills of peaceful mountains. Wander around Wat Phra Singh, one of the most notable temples in Chiang Mai, and then head outside of the city to visit Elephant Nature Park and help care for some majestic animals.
- Elephant Nature Park
- Love Volunteers
Krabi Province: This coastal area is famous for scuba diving, rock climbing, and relaxing on the shores of breathtaking beaches. During your time in this region, make sure to explore everything to do with the sea and do not neglect any of the night markets.
- Projects Abroad Ao Nang
Chiang Rai: Chiang Rai is known ecotourism, outdoor adventures, and engaging interactions with indigenous communities. One of the most striking temples in the world is located here and it is called Wat Rong Khun. Make sure not to miss the White Temple!
- International Volunteer HQ
Housing Options in Thailand
Depending on the organization that you volunteer with, you will have the option of either residing in a homestay or in a dormitory with fellow volunteers. With a homestay, you will get to experience the way that local families live, to eat home cooked meals, and to the language and customs of a Thai household. If you choose to stay in a dormitory, you will be able to become closer to the other volunteers as you each eat, sleep, and live together.
If you are a long-term volunteer, you might be able to get your own apartment. If you have a roommate, then you will be able to split costs and have a friend to go through this amazing experience with you.
Costs of Volunteering Programs in Thailand
Volunteering in Thailand can cost anywhere from $20 to $4,000 depending on the length of your program. Many of these costs are for the upkeep of the organization and the community or group it is helping. The rest of the price goes into your housing, food, orientation, and sometimes even fun activities.
If you have extensive experience as a volunteer, you might be able to find an organization that will allow you to help them for free. This will be easier to find once you are in-country since you can call organizations in order to see if they need any immediate help.
Volunteering is a rewarding way to engage with different communities from around the world. Not only will the experience enrich your own travels, it will also impact how and where you choose to visit in the future. Volunteering might even enliven the way that you view a country or change how you approach unethical practices. Thailand has been known as a backpacker heaven and it is famous for its beaches, but maybe you might find a unique approach to talking about this country through your own volunteer experiences.