• Thailand
1 to 24 weeks

Program Details

Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter
Host Family


Starting Price
Price Details
The practice of elephant street begging significantly reduces the life expectancy of this endangered species, diminishes their high cultural importance, and places individuals in inhumane living conditions. We are creating a new future for the species, and bringing new hope to elephants with tragic pasts. Volunteers provide basic care and see that the elephants' social needs are met. This program is tied in with a larger government effort to rescue up to 300 elephants from city streets.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Some Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Jul 13, 2020
Jan 20, 2023
145 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

GVI offers a variety of programs in Thailand driven by sustainability in a global, social, environmental, and conservationist context. With bases in Chiang Mai and Phang Nga, you could get involved in education, marine and wildlife conservation, volunteering with children, supporting public health, community development, or contributing towards construction based activities.

While you will be actively assisting in GVI’s efforts to reach the UN Sustainable Development objectives of each project, there will also be ample opportunity for you to travel independently in your own time, or with your international volunteering peers. Explore beaches, verdant jungles and woodlands, mountainous terrain or a variety of coastal islets. This is a travel expedition with the purpose to make a meaningful impact.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Support global sustainable efforts that contribute towards the long-term objectives of a program.
  • Learn about and assist projects in reaching their UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Live and travel in Thailand, connecting with local community and other international volunteers.
  • Become a world citizen as you learn about different cultures, lifestyles, local cuisines, and traditions.
  • Improve your CV by gaining skills in marine and wildlife conservation, teaching, health education, and community development.

Popular Programs

Two elephants in Thailand

In Northern Thailand, support local communities and elephant caretakers in alleviating elephants from the tourism industry. Learn about these intelligent land animals as they recover in expansive Chiang Mai forest grounds as a semi-wild herd. Live among and gain a better understanding of the culturally diverse Karen communities, while contributing towards the projects UN Sustainable Development Goals and traveling in your own time.

Two students conducting research in Thailand

In Phang Nga, a province with abundant biodiverse land and marine life, contribute towards conservation efforts to protect local species and habitats. Enjoy tropical climates, waters, natural islets, and an experiential educational experience. You could gain skills in conservation, surveying, camera trapping, and coral reef and species identification, to name a few. Travel and meet participants from around the world, all while contributing towards long-term sustainable goals.

Volunteer conducting public health workshop in Thailand

Contribute to health education in Phang Nga. Assist local teachers to encourage positive health practices in children and young adults of the province, and contribute towards the UN Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being. The opportunity to support a variety of educational classes are available in sports education, language, and social developments, with valuable long-term impacts on the community.

Thai students studying

In Chiang Mai you’ll have a diversified experience in cultural immersion while living among the local Karen community. You can learn about traditional cooking, clothes weaving, and jewelry creation. Participate in professional development classes for women in the community, animal education and conservation projects. You’ll also learn about elephants and their caretakers during health checks and forest hikes, and gain a better understanding of gender roles within the community.

Volunteers participating in plastic clean up in Thailand

As plastic pollution continues to threaten the environment, participate in this conservation program to encourage plastic reduction and effective waste practices in the community of Phang Nga. Support efforts to protect the endangered green sea turtle and gain conservation, reef monitoring, and species identification skills. By encouraging environmental awareness through education, the local community is empowered to work together to combat the many environmental threats they face.

Program Reviews

4.93 Rating
based on 95 reviews
  • 5 rating 92.63%
  • 4 rating 7.37%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.85
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.9
  • Value 4.75
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 95 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with Children

My experience with GVI in Phang Nga was incredible. The relationships I built with fellow participants, staff, and members of the local community in such a short space of time was amazing. Being able to fully immerse myself in the local culture, while still helping to deliver an education to children was an experience I will never forget. I’m really looking forward to participating in another GVI programme in a different part of the world as either a volunteer, intern, or staff member. All make possible through the Ambassador programme!

  • Build relationships
  • Learn about new culture
  • Make an impact
  • Less formal training than I’d have liked
  • Organisation
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing, eye-opening experience!

Volunteering for GVI Phang Nga was one of the best experiences of my life. It exceeded all my expectations! I have learnt so much in my time here about fish, coral, turtles, beaches etc. but more importantly I felt supported and looked after all the way. The staff at GVI are so helpful and they really did make me and the other volunteers feel like we were a family. Each day was filled with smiles and laughter, and even only after 2 weeks, I feel as if I have made lifelong friends. I have only been with GVI for 2 weeks, however GVI has definiitely affected the way I see the world around me. In the future I hope to be more diligent in protecting the environment- for example picking up rubbish , and minimising the plastic I use every day. I was always passionate about the environment and the amazing world we live in but GVI has given me new motivation as I have seen the extent of the problem, but I have also witnessed how much progress can be made when we all work together.

  • Have an impact
  • Interact with turtles
  • Make friends
15 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Seoda!

Thank you for sharing your lovely experience with us! I'm happy to hear that the program exceeded your expectations and that you truly gained so much knowledge from all the work done. It's amazing that it has left you feeling more passionate and willing to make a difference with us! This is a great example of how important volunteering is and how it can inspire people. I hope that we see you again soon!

All the best,
Tiffany (GVI Outreach Team)

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Chaing Mai

I absolutely loved my time in Chiang Mai with GVI. I spent a month volunteering, which involved elephant hikes, base activities, interacting with the local community, learning the local language, mornings at the nursery and so much more. The staff are so incredibly helpful, kind and caring and only care about your health, safety and enjoyment on the programme. I cannot recommend GVI enough and Chiang Mai is the perfect place for anyone looking for adventure, whether it’s solo or group travels. I will definitely be back in the future!

  • Learn a new language
  • See elephants everyday
  • Community interaction
  • Quite remote
  • Steep hills
  • Communication issues with marketing
25 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Molly!

Thank you so much for your review. I'm so pleased to hear that you had such an engaging time in Chiang Mai, especially the elephant hikes! It's also great that you were able to connect with the community and learn more about the local language. We look forward to you doing more programs with us in the future!

All the best,
Tiffany (GVI Outreach Team)

Eliz Aquino
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing time in Phang Nga!

In October, I volunteered for a week with GVI Phang Nga, as part of Go Overseas' On the GO site visits perk for team members!

I spent half the week participating in the conservation project and the rest of the week with the community project, helping with English lessons. The staff on base are so knowledgable and passionate about what they do, and really care about the volunteers and the community.

1 week did not feel long enough for volunteering, so I do recommend staying longer if you can, to help make a more positive impact.

I will always cherish my time in Ban Nam Khem and miss getting Thai iced teas from the shop across from base :)

  • Delicious home-cooked Thai meals twice a day!
  • Friendly staff, volunteers, & community
  • Helpful pre-departure support
  • Be prepared for possible bug bites!
47 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Eliz!

Thank you for your great review. I'm thrilled you had such a lovely experience with us in Phang Nga! I'm pleased to hear that you were supported and cared for greatly by the staff members. All your effort is appreciated and we hope to see you again soon for a longer stay!

Tiffany (GVI Outreach Team)

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Chiang Mai - home away from home

In September 2022 I volunteered with GVI Chiang Mai for 3 weeks. I got to experience so many incredible things and I made memories that will last a lifetime. Seeing elephants in their natural forest homes was awe inspiring and seeing their relationship with the local village and mahouts was eye opening. I really enjoyed living in a homestay and developing a close bond with my host family, teaching in the nursery became a weekly highlight and seeing Gibbons in the forest was truest special. I fell in love with the village and the project there and can’t wait to return to keep helping the project move forward. Would highly recommend to anyone who loves conservation and community work.

  • Conservation impact
  • Community immersion
  • Language learning and teaching
  • Expensive (but still worth it)
56 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Skye,

Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed your experience with us in Chiang Mai and that you made memories to last a lifetime! I'm also thrilled to hear you enjoyed the teaching and spotting Gibbons, and that you are eager to return. We'd obviously love to have you back! All the best.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 8 weeks ever!

I spent 8 weeks in Thailand at the Phang Nga base doing marine conservation.

The staff are so welcoming and passionate, and i made some amazing friends through living with the other volunteers on base.

Getting to learn about and care for green seat turtles was amazing and definitely the highlight of my time. You can really see the positive impact you are having on their well-being.

I can honestly say you will not regret signing up to a GVI programme, Thailand was my first experience with GVI and i don’t intend for it to be my last!

  • Living in and being part of a thai community
  • caring for green sea turtles
  • meeting so many amazing people
57 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi there

Thank you so much for leaving us a review. I'm thrilled to hear that you found our staff welcoming and that you made some amazing friends on your program with us in Thailand! We'd love to have you back with us in Thailand, or on another program, in the future. All the best!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Thailand Phang Nga

Went with GVI to Thailand Phang Nga on the community program for 2 months and i absolutely loved it. I’m going again on another program in hopefully a few months. If you’re thinking about, definitely do it -you wouldn’t regret it!

The base is located in such a lovely community and the staff there is honestly amazing. The people i met in the two months i was there was so inspiring from locals to students to other volunteers. I can’t stress enough how this program has inspired me. Go for it, i have nothing bad to say!:)

  • The community
  • Students
  • Thai food
67 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi there,

Thanks so much for taking a moment to leave us a review. I'm thrilled to hear you had such a great time working with the community in Thailand. I'm just as pleased to hear you will be joining us again soon! We look forward to hosting you on base again. Thank you for the impact you have already made and are continuing to make!

Amanda Stone
Head of Alumni Services (Global)

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Thailand has been the best experience of my life.

I travelled to Phang Nga Thailand on the u set 18s course over July/August 2022. To volunteer in the Community and with Turtles and a week of adventure. Every single day was full of new food, places, experiences, we learnt so much and seeing the lifestyles of this country was extremely eye opening. I didn’t full appreciate what we had in the Uk that is just taken for granted. The GVI staff were so friendly, supportive and kind the trip would not have been the same. We explored local communities and visited lots of markets and a Primary school which was incredible. My favourite part was working in the Royal Thai Navy base centre for the conservation of Green Sea Turtles. Been up close to the amazing animals, was so special as they are endangered I felt so lucky. Eve was also so cool to work for, all of us were truly inspired by her and aspire to have the same job as her. During adventure week we explored mangroves, jungles, waterfalls, temples it was non stop! The team spotted many species of wildlife for us to see. Every night we travelled to new accommodation, as my group was quite small we all became close friends pretty quickly and each night we’d be playing card games with our GVI staff ( Jen, Kiz, Gay, George and Kyra) and then sit out on our balcony chatting before bed. Now that I’ve had to come home I miss all my new friends so much! I’d completely recommend this trip to anyone wanting to try something new and make new friends as it was a really great 2 weeks. Travelling alone at 16 was a bit scary at first but I met some other volunteers at Heathrow and the journey was completely fine we were just so excited to land in Thailand and get started. I’d do anything to relive my experience there I loved it so much.

  • Get to work with endangered species
  • Making friends from around the world
  • Exploring a brand new country
  • Get bitten by bugs a lot
73 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Tamsin,

Thanks for your beautiful review!

Amazing news to hear that you had such an unforgettable, action-packed, and soul-enriching time with us at GVI. 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.

We look forward to welcoming you back on base with open arms.

Questions & Answers

Hi Diego, Thank you for your interest in a GVI sustainable development program. We offer a variety of volunteer programs in Thailand, and costs are dependent on the type of project you join. You can visit our Volunteer in Thailand page https://www.gvi.co.uk/volunteer-in-thailand/ to check out the cost of your chosen program. All program costs include the following: pre-departure support and...

For the homestay in Thailand you have your own space/room at the locals house. You get up early and are out with the Elephants and other volunteers all day. Some nights you have dinner with the alone and try and learn each others languages.