Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Laos from $220
89% Rating
(7 Reviews)

Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Laos from $220

Join IVHQ and volunteer abroad in Laos! Highly affordable programs are available for anywhere from 1 week to 12 weeks in Nanhang Village just outside the capital city, Vientiane. At any given time, you can expect to be working with 5-10 other volunteers. Volunteers are welcomed to assist on a range of community-driven projects.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Laos:

  • Teaching English
  • Childcare
  • Construction and Renovation

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting every Monday
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $270 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 5 and 10 IVHQ volunteers start in Laos each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Laos and South East Asia with fellow volunteers!
Locations
Asia » Laos
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Guesthouse
Starting Price
$220.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Laos Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

Questions & Answers

Hello! not exactly a retiree here though i am a mid-career finance professional in my early 30s. I first started volunteering overseas when I turned 30 (probably considered a late-starter) and there were indeed lots of volunteers still studying or just graduated from university, most of them are 18 to 24 year olds. It did take me a while to get over the fact that I'm at least a decade older than t...

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    74%
  • Support
    90%
  • Fun
    87%
  • Value
    87%
  • Safety
    90%

Program Reviews (7)

Default avatar
Shirley
Female
27 years old
Brooklyn
St. John's Central College- Cork

Amazing experience

9/10

Laos has won my heart during this volunteer stay! One of the most memorable times were the evenings when one of my fellow volunteer workers and I would watch the beautiful sunset and talk about life. The food was also incredible and on Thursday nights they do barbecue at the volunteer place, followed by organized karaoke at a nearby bar.
The volunteering itself is also quite beautiful, but challenging at the same time. For the childcare program, it is required of you to teach the adorable, little Children English and play with them in the afternoon. It's wonderful, but be prepared to work! Also, the bicycle is a fantastic way to get to work and ideal in such a rural place in Laos.

How can this program be improved?

By adding host families that the volunteers could stay with, if they wanted to. As a somewhat older volunteer, I would have loved to have that option, which I did in other countries.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Shirley, We are thrilled to hear that Laos has won your heart! The volunteer program in Laos is marvellous and we hope your review will motivate other volunteers to try it out. Thanks for being a multi-trip volunteer and we hope you will join us again soon.

Jingying
Female
33 years old
Singapore

Don't forget the Lao Lao

8/10

I couldnt have picked a better program to wrap up my work sabbatical! i'd taken a 3.5 month break to travel and volunteer on various programs in southeast asia. Laos was a super last-minute choice (it's one of the last SEA countries ive yet to visit) and based on my prior experience with IVHQ (Zimbabwe and Cambodia), i had to go with them again. Shout out to Will for the great support and promptly answering all queries. as always, it was yet another memorable experience. Airport pick up was a breeze (thanks to Veo), when we arrived at the volunteer accommodation..well, colour me impressed. It was a new location situated in a nice, quiet village in Naxaythong district, 30 minutes from the airport and 1 hour tuk-tuk ride from the capital, Vientiane. there was a lake behind the restaurant (next to our rooms) and its gorgeous view of the fields took my breath away. Very peaceful.

Orientation starts on Mondays and is very well organized. we learnt Lao phrases, culture do's and dont's, hiked in the forest searching for caves and temples, visited a typical Lao village, had a cooking class, toured the city of Vientiane and its night market, made Buddha offerings as well as spent an afternoon meditating with monks and nuns! Ticky is a funny and amazing guide who can't wait to tell you everything about Laos! Lots of culture immersion which would render useful during our stay working with Lao staff and young children (they speak zero to little english). On Fridays, you will be accompanied by local staff to your placement.

My childcare centre was very close to our house, so we just biked along the main road (there is seemingly only one big road in the village) every morning. takes no more than 5 minutes. Working hours are 9-11am and 1-3pm. In the mornings, we teach the children (aged 3-4, classroom size of 12-15 each time) basic english, like alphabet, colours, numbers, weather, greetings. thereafter they'll have some snacks (sticky rice with meat/fish) which volunteers will assist with feeding. The daily schedule is pretty flexible so volunteers are encouraged to introduce new games/toys/fun concepts of learning catered to their abilities. After they prepare for nap time, we usually return to the house for lunch, before continuing in the afternoon, where volunteers help to bathe, clothe and feed them. Sometimes the teacher will teach them basic Laotian. Being kids, they are very active and have short attention spans, so it's something to consider when coming up with classroom activities.

After work, there's usually nothing much to explore around the village (only the restaurant and a small market across the street) but we do have lots of fun playing card games, karaoke nights on Thursdays, going to Vientiane night markets on Wednesdays, and if you like dogs and cats they are residents at the accommodation too! The cats were rescued by past volunteers from the temple. There is laundry service every Wednesday (for a small fee, i think) where the local staff will bring to a proper laundromat but most volunteers do their own laundry with the basins provided at the house.

Be sure to fully maximize your weekends! Most volunteers will go to Vientiane, Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang. Just speak to Ticky and he will handle your transport arrangements. Laos is very much developing and it's the perfect time to appreciate its history and human geography. Just need to exercise lots of patience as you'll come to experience this cultural phenomenon called "Lao time", as Ticky will tell you, the P.D.R. in Laos is also known as "Please Don't Rush". It's a good thing to know so you can manage your expectations and enjoy your stay!

Food is very typical of southeast asian cuisine - so prepare to have rice every meal! There's also stir fry vegetables, chicken, pumpkin, melon, mushrooms etc sometimes we have fried noodles/ noodles in soup, which i find really tasty (maybe because i'm asian). for breakfast, there's sausages, fried bananas, sweet potato fries, chips, scrambled eggs, and crepes (if the chef is in a good mood!). and there's always rock melons, bananas and watermelons.

Dont leave Laos without doing these two things - enjoy the sunset from our accommodation. take lots of pictures because a beautiful sunset is quite rare around here. ive spent many reflective moments just sitting here in silence admiring nature's beauty. Second, drink some of their national hard liquor - Lao Lao. Don't question it - just be sure to get a taste when you're here!

PS - bring your strongest bug spray!

How can this program be improved?

Some bicycles have faulty brakes - could use some repair work.
Less fried/oily food. More fruits please!
For the female dorms, we would reeeally appreciate if there were shelves/tables to put and hang our stuff.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jingying, What an awesome review! Thanks so much for taking the time to write an in-depth review from your time on the program in Lao - we really appreciate it and it is certainly helpful for future Lao volunteers. We are so glad that you had a special time and we are happy to help facilitate this for you. Thanks for being a multi-trip IVHQer and we can’t wait to have you back!

Default avatar
Vinie
Female
34 years old
Perth

2 weeks in Laos

8/10

It was my 1st overseas volunteer trip and I was so excited, anxious and nervous at the same time. Overall it was a great experience as I met wonderful people from different countries, I got to mix with local and also get good and bad surprises everyday.
I got picked up and transported to the accommodation by tuk tuk. It's about 45 mins away from the city. It was dark with no adequate street lighting, no street lines, no speed limit, sure enough I witnessed a head-on collision after just 15 mins arriving in the country.
The accommodation complex was quite rural and there are shops where sell basic necessities like shampoo and body wash with limited choices. Things like skincare, mosquito repellent, contact lens solutions, body lotion, sunscreen, I recommend you bring enough.
I got sent to the airport by Vespa with my suitcase sitting at the front of the Vespa.
I do recommend using travel backpack would be an easier option.
I strongly recommend that you bring lots of tissues, wet tissues and travel size hand soap. Most of the toilets don't have tissues and soap.
If you have very sensitive stomach, be sure you take medication to help reduce the risk of travellers' diarrhea such as Travelan. And also no harm to bring re-hydration tablets as to the nature of the tropical weather, you will be sweating a lot.
Most of the restaurants have free wifi available, so if you are not attached to phone 24/7 you should be able to re-connect yourselves to the world whenever you are dining at a restaurant.
The local staffs were very helpful, food was the mix of Thai and Chinese.
Whatever that was, I took it with open mind and always had a good laugh at it.

How can this program be improved?

There are a few things that can be improved and need improvement.
I believe the local team was arranging to get new accommodation and will be relocating soon as I was leaving Laos.
Cleanliness can be improved as well but I guess it's something that's expected when you visit South East Asia.
Bicycles were not enough to cater all volunteers when I was there. There were about 42 volunteers (placement and orientation), so more bikes would be good to improve efficiency to and from placement.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Vinie, It's nice to hear from you! Thanks for your thoughts and recommendations, we will be sure to take these on board. We are glad that you enjoyed your time volunteering in Laos with IVHQ and we hope to have you back on another program again soon.

Default avatar
Alvaro
Male
36 years old
Brazil
Other

Volunteering in Vientiane, Laos

7/10

I volunteered with Green Lion, IVHQ's local partner in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

Accommodation: I stayed in a guest house with other volunteers. The room was a double room and had air conditioning and hot shower. The bed was an old fashioned wire frame bed, a little bit noisy and not much comfortable for me. The room was cleaned twice a week.

Food: Volunteers had 6 choices for breakfast and 6 choices for dinner at the guesthouse. I liked the food.

Safety: Vientiane is a relatively safe city. I didn't have problems, although one volunteer was robbed while riding a bicycle.

Transportation: the local organization provided transportation to/from my placement. Also, bicycles were available for volunteers at the guest house.

Social scene: Around 5 volunteers started every week. Vientiane is a quiet city, however volunteers could go to the night market or to restaurants at night. Volunteers must respect the curfew at the guesthouse.

Culture week: Green Lion takes volunteers to go sightseeing in the first week. My impression is that it could be done in 2 or 3 days. I would have preferred volunteering instead of attending culture week.

Volunteering: my placement was a center for autist children. It was a private center where the children's parents paid US$250 per month. Some of them had scholarships. It was nice to learn more about autism, although volunteers didn't receive much orientation on how to deal with autist children and in most of the times volunteers just watched the carers (the center had a good number of carers).

How can this program be improved?

As mentioned before, culture week could be done in 2 or 3 days instead of an entire week.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Alvaro, It's great to hear from you again, we have been following your adventures around the world. Thanks for sharing such an in-depth review of your experience in Laos. Looking forward to hearing how you find Cambodia. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Default avatar
Byrant
Male
27 years old
Hong Kong, HKG
DePaul University

Absolutely amazing experience

10/10

Putting aside the fact that giving back itself was very humbling, and the locals were just the most beautiful people, what made the experience so great were the other volunteers and the staff/owners of the guesthouse in Laos.

The most unique experience (hard to pick just one!)...during the trip, the volunteers and I really bonded with the supervisor and the owners of the guesthouse. One day, after we had completed our volunteering hours, the supervisor and the owner of the guesthouse asked my friend and I if we wanted to go see their farm in the suburbs. So we immediately hopped in to their pickup truck and we went on our way with very cheesy techno blasting, it was a fun ride. After 30 minutes of goofing around in the truck, we pulled up into a very isolated dirt road and made our way to their farm, were we met some of their younger relatives, playing on ground with a very excited puppy running around the dirt road. They had a massive pond in the back for fishing, and very local huts with no walls which served as a kitchen, and right across from it a mattress as a bedroom.
On the way back, the 5 of us stopped by a local bar to grab some dinner and drinks, were we had a whole duck, and I mean literally a whole duck, no parts were left unused. There was a dish which was just blood from the duck, on top, it has some chives, garlic, parsley, and in it, the innards of the duck. Me and my volunteer friend were very hesitant at first, but decided, 'when in Laos'... surprisingly not bad at all! After a a lot 'finish!' which meant chug your beer we returned back to the guest house for more beer Lao with the other volunteers.

How can this program be improved?

The program was very close to perfect, it really created a life memory I would never forget! But some pointers would be, the level of english of some of the supervisors? At times, it was hard to get answers we had - i.e. when we asked for new paintbrushes, it took a while to get it!

Other than that, loved every part! and to be honest, the little communication barrier might not have made it too efficient, but it was an experience.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Byrant, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts from your experience volunteering in Laos. We love your photos also thanks again for sharing those as part of one of our Instagram Takeovers recently. It's great to hear that you connected with both the local team and the other volunteers from around the world. It's great having you as an IVHQer and we hope to see you on another program again soon.

Default avatar
Karina
Female
Melbourne, Australia
University of Melbourne

Livin La Vida Laos

10/10

It was tough at first, teaching the local children. My first day was really hard and I was nervous for the rest of my time. But you get to know them, their cheeky smiles and their quirks. You begin to get excited to see them again every day, and them with you. You begin to realise what they need to learn and teach to their point of need. I realised that my students didn't know the alphabet properly and that's why they were struggling to learn words. So I created games, activities and worksheets and by the end of my 2 weeks, they were perfect. It was amazing to see that I had actually helped them. You can't change their lives but you can help make a difference. Every little bit counts.

How can this program be improved?

There needs to be a better system in place for informing future volunteers what the students had been taught.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hey Karina, thanks for volunteering in Laos! It's great that you were able to help the children and work through your nerves at the start! We love having you as an IVHQer & hope that you can join us again soon.

Default avatar
Ahmed
Male
24 years old
Alexandria, Egypt
Other

Lovely Experience in Laos

10/10

My placement was at COPE (copelaos.org) we fixed lots of chairs and benches for the dining room as well as class rooms. I even learned sign language from the students at deaf school, they helped with the work as well.

I also helped in building a small concrete foot path in a local temple with the help of another volunteer (Barny from Australia) who is more experienced than me and he also taught me lots of stuff and gave me hints for my work on chairs before he left. Also Beth from USA helped me a lot during my placement and she gave me hints as well and continued working on the project after I left.

I really loved my stay there, the people are very kind with good hearts and the coordinators were very helpful.

I also made lots of friends with other volunteers and we enjoyed our day offs as much as we could.

How can this program be improved?

I would change how the construction projects were handled, I mean preparing power tools as well as hand tools to help volunteers because we had to make a list of the tools required.

Otherwise I don't think there is something else on my mind.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ahmed, Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your experience volunteering in Laos with IVHQ. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed your time and learnt new skills while volunteering. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!

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IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to

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