Whether you are taking a gap year, or even a midlife sabbatical, volunteering in Thailand brings you up close and personal with organizations that are making a difference. Volunteering in Thailand gives you the opportunity to experience life through the eyes of a local. It’s also a great way to enjoy beautiful beaches while making a difference to the community.
There are so many volunteer opportunities in Thailand that will match what you are looking for. For example, Chiang Mai is great for those who would like to get closer to nature and make a difference to the environment. While Bangkok is great for city lovers and enjoy teaching English to Thai kids. And if you are after a balanced lifestyle of island life and work then Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Phuket are the locations for you.
However, not every location is a tourist destination. Many volunteer opportunities are in rural areas of Thailand, completely off of the beaten path, far away from modern amenities and conveniences. If you are up for a rewarding adventure, then you are on the right page.
Where Can I Volunteer in Thailand? What Volunteer Opportunities Are There?
In Thailand, there are many volunteer opportunities, each with a very different purpose and cultural aspect spread out across the Kingdom. As Thailand is still a developing country, Thais strive to improve its business sectors, and some examples of areas that need help from volunteers include:
- Teaching English to Thai children to enhance their language skills and future job opportunities
- Teaching English to Buddhist monks to help perfect their English speaking abilities.
- Making a difference to orphaned kids, caring for those who have been displaced.
- Doing seasonal farm work to help local farmers ensure their crops aren’t wasted, maybe even bring in some innovation to the agriculture industries in Thailand.
- Participating in nature or wildlife conservation projects to further enhance the environment and take care of wildlife that has been mistreated and/or abused.
Some volunteer opportunities may require a specific skill set, but generally, organizations are happy to welcome volunteers who are willing and able.
Top 5 Volunteer Programs in Thailand
Before committing to volunteering in Thailand, it is best to research the organization or program you’re interested in. But to make things slightly easier for you, here are the Top 5 Volunteer Programs:
1. Volunteering At Elephant Conservations
In northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai, there are many opportunities to volunteer with elephant conservation. This gives you the opportunity to be directly involved in the care and rehabilitation process of former working elephants, giving you time with some of the largest mammals on the planet. You will be able to engage with the local host community while gaining a deeper understanding of these gentle giants.
2. Teaching English
Teaching English in Thailand helps to solve a country-wide problem … Government schools generally lack English lessons for students, which can make it more difficult for them to get jobs in key industries when they are older. So, if you decide to teach English, your students might be local children, adults or even Buddhist monks looking to master their English speaking skills. Teaching English is a rewarding experience, plus it is also a lot of fun. You will give the chance to those who often would not have it to learn a few key phrases, or perhaps even a number of months worth of English education.
3. Participate in Community-Based Projects in Thailand
If you’re looking for grassroots initiatives and community-based projects with sustainability at the forefront, one of the best organizations is called Love Volunteers. This organization works with local and rural communities to develop sustainable humanitarian projects.
4. Ocean Reef Conservation
For avid lovers of the ocean, volunteering with an Ocean Reef Conservation project allows you to be involved with sustainable marine conservation and initiatives. A scuba diving license is often not required for the smaller projects, just the willingness to jump into the ocean and get wet! However, if you are not a certified scuba diver, most of these programs also run 4-day courses for volunteers to obtain their certification and license.
5. Medicine, Hospital and Medical Volunteer Opportunities
If you’re a caring volunteer interested in medical science or have experience working in the field of medicine. There are opportunities to use your skills and teach others while in Thailand. These opportunities often allow you to volunteer in rural medical clinics as well as international hospitals. Veterinary volunteers also have the chance to work with many of Thailand’s foundations aimed towards saving the lives of abandoned and injured street animals.
How Much Does Volunteering Cost in Thailand?
Depending on the organization or program you choose, there will be a fee. Some fees start at approximately 1,000USD while others can cost 5,000USD or more. The amount you pay goes towards your accommodation plus food. After which whatever is left goes back into the foundation to ensure they have sufficient funds to continue their field of work.
Can I Volunteer as a Foreigner? Will I Need a Visa and Work Permit?
You can volunteer as a foreigner in Thailand, however, you will need to apply for a visa to volunteer in Thailand. You will first need to get the right visa to enter Thailand. Then, once you get to Thailand, the organization you are volunteering for should arrange your work permit for you.
Alternatively, you can contact us at TMT Visa Service Phuket. We can assist you in obtaining a Thai volunteer visa.
Things To Consider About
Before making that final decision, we highly recommend that you consider these things …the cultural differences between your home country and Thailand will be noticeable, but not necessarily in a negative way. Go into this experience with an open mind and an open heart. You will also need to consider the location where you will be volunteering. If you take part in a program that is in a very remote location, you might consider that you won’t have the amenities you are used to at home. Also, it’s important to research the organization you are volunteering with. Make sure they are registered as a legal company.
Volunteering in Thailand can be extremely eye-opening and rewarding. We hope this blog has given you some insight into what it’s like to volunteer in Thailand.