Voluntour of a Lifetime

Impact: 9
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Value: 10
Safety: 9

I had been ready for this kind of experience for several years, so I was ecstatic when the time finally came and I boarded the plane to fly across the world. My trip to Thailand was absolutely incredible. It was very healing, and as cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I found myself. I felt like I had a purpose there.

My first night was a bit chaotic. I arrived in the middle of the night and if you're not prepared the chaos of Bangkok and Khao San Road will throw you off. Yet Bangkok quickly became my home and after being there only a couple times I was already familiar with the shops and the locals. The other volunteers in my group accepted me immediately and we were all given plenty of time to bond.

The first stop was Mr. Lee's elephant village in Surin. This was a surreal place to be, as I would wake up in the morning, walk out onto the balcony, and be standing right before five or six of the magnificent creatures. The best memories here were walking the elephants down to the river each day, cooking homemade authentic Thai dishes, and ending the night by eating ice cream and playing cards with everyone in my group. Also, there was a man with a popsicle cart who would come to the homestay once a day and for 20 baht would sell a variety of popsicles, such as coconut and taro black bean.

The next stop after Surin was Sangkhlaburi. This province is located in the mountains of Thailand, and had some of the best views I have ever seen. I went at the end of rainy season (late October) so the scenery was lush green. This is where I truly bonded with the locals as I helped construct a temple in one of the villages and we would make small talk. I definitely would recommend going to The Nature Club during downtime, where you can zip line over the jungle. There are also magnificent waterfalls about a 10 minute taxi ride away from where I stayed. The night markets in Sangkhlaburi are definitely a highlight and are very convenient to grab a quick bite to eat or a freshly blended smoothie. Also if given the chance, taking a river boat ride under the Wooden Bridge to see the underwater temples is an amazing experience.

The last stop was Koh Phangan. Our group practically had the beach to ourselves. The water is crystal clear, and the sand is a pristine white. Some of the highlights on this island were renting motorbikes, going scuba diving, and of course, the Jungle and Full Moon party. I made some life-long connections at these parties. They were unlike any party-scene or rave I have ever been to, and I felt completely safe the entire time. Also, the Amsterdam Bar has a sunset view that is to-die-for.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed