• Thailand
2 to 24 weeks

Program Details

Year Round


What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa Wifi
Nov 02, 2023
Aug 23, 2023
49 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Thailand, where lush northern jungles and pristine southern coastlines offer a taste of paradise at every turn. In our internship programs, you'll not only explore these biodiverse habitats both on land and underwater but also make a meaningful impact on underserved communities striving to enhance access to education, healthcare, and equal opportunities for all.

This is an opportunity to gain practical experience in wildlife and marine conservation, community development, and experiential education in health and teaching. Get ahead in your chosen career, with improved knowledge, enhanced skills, and the CV to show for it.

Your contributions support sustainable development objectives that are measured against the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. GVI ensures that ethical best practices are in place for all communities, partners, and participants involved.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Improve your CV with professional skill development in a variety of conservation and community projects.
  • Experience Thailand in a cultural, environmental and social context.
  • Contribute to ethically run programs and their UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Meet people from around the world and connect with local communities.
  • Take traditional Thai cooking lessons, go island hopping in your free time, relax on a nearby beach, or start to learn a new language.

Popular Programs

Interns working with sea turtles in Thailand

Join us in Phang Nga, where you'll work at the Royal Thai Navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation Center. Help nurture and rehabilitate these amazing creatures while contributing to marine conservation. During your free time, explore the local culture, enjoy the beautiful beaches and savor delicious Thai cuisine.

Two elephants in Thailand

This conservation internship has a range of focuses and skill development opportunities. You will assist local manhouts provide necessary health checks for the local elephant herd, learn about Chiang Mai’s biodiversity by surveying and identifying species in the area, and occasionally assist with teaching English to local communities

Interns diving with a sea turtle in Thailand

Embark on the coastal conservation journey: for the first three months, dive into immersive training. Discover the intricacies of projects at our Phang Nga base, snorkel in warm blue waters, learn from our partners, and master research techniques and conservation best practices. Then put your skills into practice with a three-month placement with one of our international partners.

Intern working with a student in Thailand

Focus on preventative public health in Phang Nga province. Learn how to perform health assessments, and lead hygiene, nutrition and exercise workshops. Support local communities while surrounded by the beauty of Thailand's Phang Nga, a paradise of white-sand beaches and vibrant wildlife.

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 32 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.85
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.9
  • Housing 4.9
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 32 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing trip with GVI

I had an amazing time volunteering on an under 18s program in Thailand and would so strongly recomend GVI under 18 programs. The staff on the trip were very nice and did a very good job working to make the trip flow well and make sure everyone was okay. I did so many fun activities and felt very safe throughout the entire trip and made such amazing friends and memories. Overall, I would say I feel very privileged to have been able to have had such an amazing opportunity and could not recomend GVI under 18 program more.

  • meeting new people
  • great opportunities to travel while making a difference
  • able to travel safely under 18
17 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Catriona

Thank you for your review. It's so lovely to hear you felt taken care of throughout your experience with us. I'm also glad to hear that you had so much fun and formed new friendships while making unforgettable memories!

All the best,
Tiffany (GVI Outreach Team)

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Chiang Mai - Best Experience of my Life

GVI Chiang Mai was truly the most unforgettable experience of my entire life. I’m 26 years old and have experienced quite a bit so far but the four weeks I spent in Huay Pakkoot were the best of my life. The scenery is breathtaking and the people and elephants are even better.
I’m pursuing a career in conservation and initially signed up to gain experience in the area. I learned more than I could imagine, gaining invaluable insight into real conservation efforts and ethical animal experiences. The programme is run fantastically with a perfect balance of elephant and community activities. Each day was exciting, informative and rewarding - I have truly never felt so fulfilled in my life.
Working with the programme managers, Jonny & Kat, was the greatest pleasure and to see their genuine passion and the tireless work they do for the elephants and the village of Huay Pakkoot inspired me every day.
Despite signing up for conservation purposes, living in Huay Pakkoot is what makes the programme so special. The relationship between the elephants and their mahouts is beautiful to see. The homestay was the ideal accommodation which provided privacy with our own rooms but also further immersed us into the beautiful Pakinyaw culture. The relationship Jonny and Kat have built with the villagers is heart-warming and they always put what is best for the village and the elephants at the forefront of everything they do. This is exactly how a conservation/community project should run.
There is an amazing sense of community between GVI participants and also with the villagers and I've definitely made friends for life. Almost immediately, I felt a part of the village and I was absolutely heartbroken to leave. I’m already planning on when I can return.
Whether you’re passionate about elephants/conservation, want to immerse yourself in a lovely authentic culture or want to make a meaningful impact on the world, this will be a life changing experience which I could not recommend enough. The only thing I would have done differently is stay longer!

  • Ethical Experience with Elephants
  • Community Engagement/ Culture Immersion
  • Personal Growth
25 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Hazel!

Wow, what a review! Thank you so much for taking the time to give such a lovely review. It's heartwarming to hear how at home you felt during your experience. It makes me even happier to hear how you've developed professionally and grown personally. I hope you prosper greatly in your conservation career!

All the best,
Tiffany (GVI Outreach Team)

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

When I signed up for GVI I was expecting the ordinary volunteer program and let me express there is nothing ordinary about GVI. It all starts before departure, where your Support Coordinator goes above and beyond making sure that all the enquiries, in case they are any left, are answered. Guiding you through every single step of the way, with the smallest factor that you can imagine. E.G. I was helped and guided through the whole visa process on how to fill my application.

I never felt left behind through my time before, during and after. At my arrival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which is where I did my program, my suitcase did not make it and the program coordinator made sure to take care of the situation as soon as he was aware. Figured a way out to have my suitcase with me within the week, when we were 4-5 hours out from the airport. Everyone was so devoted to what we were doing in the community and the fact that the sense of family and belonging was very dominant. The village was very welcoming and learning from each other made of everyday a beautiful journey. The time wasn’t enough I could have stayed there for months, gracefully. Joy sparks everywhere you look in the community its people and the staff.

Seeing how GVI has taken on responsibly to help this community is beautiful to witness. Respecting literally surrounding them, the culture, the village, nature and all its people. My experience was so great that I booked my next trip while in Thailand, because I could not get enough of it and I was ready to take on another adventure as soon as possible.

42 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Esther,

Thank you so much for this fabulous review. I am so pleased to hear you felt supported every step of the way, even when your suitcase didn't arrive when it should have! I'm also thrilled to hear you appreciated the sense of family within the community and this program. Thank you for your efforts and the impact you made with us in Thailand. We so look forward to having you on another GVI program in the near future!

All the best,
Amanda (GVI Outreach Team)

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing life experience and career-builder

I spent twelve weeks in GVI's Chiang Mai base. For the first eight I was a career intern, then I became staff in my final month. I spent my internship hiking into the forest daily and carrying out observational biodiversity surveys on the forest's inhabiting elephants. In addition to this, I took part in courses and seminars relating to local biodiversity and global conservation concepts. I took classes to learn the local dialect, Pakinyaw, and also taught English to some of the villagers. I fell in love with the community and staff alike. To say it was a life-changing experience would be an understatement!

56 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Leigh,

Thanks for your review!

I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and explored all that the program had to offer. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon! Keep sharing your love for conservation.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI online wildlife conservation internship

In the spring of 2021 I did an online internship for wildlife conservation with GVI. I helped organize camera trap data on pangolins in Thailand. After completing the online internship with GVI, I decided to pursue a career in wildlife conservation. I cannot thank GVI enough for giving me the incredible opportunity. I am also excited to say that I am saving up money to volunteer in person. Volunteering with elephants has always been a dream of mine and now it is a goal. If you are looking to make a difference in the world, GVI is the place to do so.

What was your funniest moment?
I worked on a project involving pangolins in Thailand. While observing camera trap data we saw a baby pangolin hanging onto his mom and it was the cutest picture ever. We then learned that baby pangolins are called pangopups XD.
82 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Jessica! Thanks for your review. I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed this program! It certainly sounds like you made the most of it. We'd love to see you registered for some of our other courses in the future and are looking forward to seeing you on base!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My best and happiest memories are here. <3

Coming here has been one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I am beyond grateful for all of the incredible experiences I've gotten have, wonderful people I've gotten to know and love, and to have had the opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream of working with elephants. The only thing that convinced me to go for this in the first place is the fact that I share GVI's ethical and moral values when it comes to working with elephants, and I really do feel like getting to see them in their natural habitat, spending time with their families, and being free to live with as little human interference as possible has been the most gratifying and fulfilling experience I could have asked for.
As for everyone else that I've worked with during my time here: this place seems to attract the best kind of people, and they've truly become like family to me. I can't imagine having to say goodbye to all of them tomorrow, but I know I will see some - hopefully most - of them again (especially the other long-term interns I've spent the last six months with!)
The staff team have been the best group of people I've ever had the opportunity to work with, and their kindness and humor and support make this project what it is. They are as much my friends as anyone else on project and I will miss them all so much.
Each day on the project is never the same as the one before, and you end up being so busy here participating in all the activities/fundraisers/events, that you forget about all of the books you brought with you to pass the time! (Or at least most of them - reading on the balcony under the tropical sun is one of the best feelings out there.)
Everyone who comes through here brings with them such a diverse set of skills, background, and personality, and it's part of what makes this place so special. We're all so different from each other, but our passions and sense of adventure bring us together, and that bond can be a hard to find.
If you're thinking about doing this, I cannot recommend it enough. This place has given me some of my best and happiest memories and I will always be thankful for this place. I guess that's all for now!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would say that if you're coming to this project, throw yourself into everything the project has to offer - activities, events, fundraisers, social gatherings, learning Pakinyaw, teaching English at the school - everything. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and as Mark Twain once said: "You will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.". Fully immersing yourself in the community here and helping out in every way you can will be the most rewarding part of the whole experience!
99 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Adelaide, thanks for your great review! I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us as much as you did. Your hard work and efforts have certainly impacted this project in a meaningful way. Please do keep on spreading your love for GVI. And obviously, we would love to see you back on base soon!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Very enjoyable!

My six month internship here was absolutely amazing, I would recommend this to everyone, since it's not just about the conservation but all the other activities through which you learn. You also start to appreciate small things as the environment is so different that what we are used to. In general - a brilliant opportunity to develop as a person. I would also recommend coming here for at least one month to really embrace the whole experience, since anything less just makes you want to cry when leaving.

What would you improve about this program?
- More education on elephants
- Elephants should be unchained at least 8 hours per day
- Better internet (interns can not do their job properly if they don't buy data)
- End goal more determined and clear
97 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Nina, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Chiang Mai Fun

GVI Chiang Mai is one of the most incredible programs that I have ever been apart of. For starters, you live in a remote village, Huay Pakoot, with a Karen hill-tribe who are probably the most hospitable, kind and hard-working people I have ever met. You learn how to live a simple life and to really cherish what you have and the people around you. It is a home away from home where people with the same passion come together and learn from each other and bond. Not only do you become apart of the amazing family on base, but you become immersed in Asian Elephant Reintegration and data collection and grow to love all of the lovely elephants and mahouts. You also gain experience with biodiversity surveying and learn the local language Pakinyaw. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone looking to gain hands-on experience in the field as the staff team is very supportive and you receive a lot of information regarding controversial conservation topics especially if you are an intern. All of these things help you develop strong teamwork and leadership skills in a safe environment that you can then use in future jobs. Overall, amazing program and anyone who comes will have an amazing time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would suggest doing an internship here as you get to really challenge yourself and learn new things alongside other people that share your passion. The internship also has many different components and you always have work to do!
99 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Shae, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

Questions & Answers