Affordable Volunteer Programs in Thailand from $320

Video and Photos

About

Join IVHQ and volunteer abroad in Thailand! Highly affordable programs are available for anywhere from 1 week to 12 weeks. Based in Chiang Rai, the northernmost province of Thailand, which is renowned for its beautiful mountain scenery and historic sites. Volunteers can assist on a range of community-driven projects and are accommodated on-site at our partner organization’s headquarters in Chiang Rai.

IVHQ Volunteer Programs available in Thailand:

  • Teaching English
  • Outdoor Work

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $320 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 15 volunteers start in Thailand each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Thailand with fellow volunteers - visit the capital of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai, or go trekking.

Questions & Answers

Hi Tyana, Yes, this program is suitable for vegans along with other dietary requirements. We would recommend that you supplement the meals we offer with your own food, as there wouldn't be a huge amount of choice/variation. Jordan McFadyen IVHQ Community Manager
18 years or over to participate. If you are under 18 , you would need to volunteering with a parent or guardian.
$500 including housing. Hope this helps!

Reviews

94%
based on 16 reviews
  • Impact 8.6
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 16
Default avatar
Rachel
10/10

amazing 3 weeks in Thailand

Volunteering with IVHQ was one of the best things I’ve done. I found them just through google and leaned towards their site because the prices seemed reasonable and they offered many programs in many locations. After I had decided I would probably use this program I ended up meeting 2 girls at my school who had also used IVHQ and loved it, so this confirmed my decision.

I ultimately chose to volunteer in Thailand although there were so many that caught my interest. There I taught English and stayed for 3 weeks. They give you tons of information about where you'll be staying and are really quick to reply to any email or calls with questions. Also, any meals or housing provided is really great and the pictures and information given is all accurate which I was grateful for.

With the Thailand program, I felt like I was actually making a difference and fulfilling a need within the hill tribe communities. You will meet so many awesome locals and get very close to all the other volunteers as you take on the new journey together. having gone by myself, this sense of community was really comforting and made the trip so much better. I would definitely use IVHQ in the future if I have time to volunteer again.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Rachel, thanks for your review. It's great to hear that you found your placement work fulfilling and the work that you and the other volunteers do really makes a difference to the local hill tribe communities. It sounds like you had a wonderful time with the other volunteers and we would love to see you on another program in the near future. ^Sam - IVHQ Thailand Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
Duyen
10/10

Three awesome weeks in Chiangrai, Thailand

“Let’s find some beautiful place to get lost.” That was my intention as I chose Chiangrai, Thailand for my 3-week volunteer trip. The beauty was that not only did I find myself but also learnt many new things and made some great new friends through my journey.
Arriving at The Mirror Foundation, I was happy to see such an environmentally friendly living space. There were tall trees, green grass, a lovely hand-built garden, cool wall paintings, a small pond, a lovely bamboo hut, and an impressive sight of colorful handprints from previous volunteers on one of the houses. The Thai interns who had escorted me all the way from the airport were very nice and helpful. They showed me around and we headed to a supermarket in town together with other new volunteers who had also just arrived earlier that day and later became my dearest friends.
The next day, I was really excited for my outdoor project to start after having an interesting orientation with Nikki – the volunteer program manager. I did not have to wait long as my outdoor team started digging a ditch that afternoon. It was hard work I must admit. However, the satisfaction looking back on the road and seeing what our teamwork had brought about was worth it. As time passed, our list of achievements went on; they were mending a dam, preparing a campsite, making a road, building fences, renovating a toilet, and growing chilies. Not a single day was wasted, and I loved every minute working side by side with my friends and our outdoor project mentor. On those days, we sweated a lot, laughed a lot, talked a lot and understood each other a whole lot more despite our different backgrounds. I also really appreciated our lunch boxes which were kindly prepared for us by the kitchen lady whenever we had to work off-site.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Duyen, thank you for your feedback. It's wonderful to hear you had such a great time on your program. I'm sure you must have had quite a sense of achievement what with all the hard you put into the program. Thanks again for volunteering with IVHQ. ^Sam - IVHQ Thailand Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Gabriel
8/10

A Home at the Other Edge of the World

Nothing could ever beat the sense of waking up so far from home but having the peaceful feeling of belonging where you are at this very moment. Feeling the cold breeze of the morning passing through the mountains before giving place to the warmth of the rising sun. Walking calmly in such a quiet and tranquil place to find his temporary but lovely family around the table waiting for breakfast. Talking and smiling right before going on another hard but satisfying day of work.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Gabriel, Thanks for your beautiful and poetic review. We are so glad to hear that you felt connected, peaceful and tranquil while on our program in Thailand. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Lynn – IVHQ Thailand Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
Steve
10/10

This is a MUST DO, Go do it!

I am 55 years old (a fit healthy 55 year old) and when I volunteered, I had no idea what to expect other than what I had read and been told by the operators of the program. What a surprise I got after arriving in Thailand, I met a group of twenty somethings who became my work partners and a second family. I met many local people who were so thankful for our help which made the experience even more pleasurable. I explored waterfalls, Tea plantations, authentic villages that don't exist in color brochures and the whole experience has left me hungry to volunteer again as soon as I can.

Anyone can look at a travel brochure and the white sands of the glorious beaches and I also love these places but they do not have stories as all the stories are the same. Volunteering will give you stories that no on else will experience unless they actually go and do it. Walking through water all day carrying 30kg sandbags until you can hardly walk anymore, carrying Bamboo to build a bridge in 30 degree heat until you have drank as much water as you possibly can! Digging roads so they are safe enough to be traveled along until you think you cannot dig anymore!!

All the above are challenging things to do but you work at your own pace and at the end of each day, the satisfaction gained through working hard and helping other people who actually need the help is something that is almost impossible to explain, hence the reason you need to try it as it is the only way you will find out what its like .

My favorite story is when I got offered to live with a farmer who told me he would feed me and give me a roof over my head if I stayed and worked on his farm for a year, his name was TIGER and this name has been in the family for 4 generations and folklore would suggest that his great grandfather actually killed a tiger with his bare hands and a knife many years ago. These are the stories you hear when living in the bush with a REAL Thai local who almost lives like our ancestors would have centuries ago, It was outstanding.

How can this program be improved?
I think the volunteers could have better beds and pillows as it very hard to sleep after a very hard days work and it would only be a small investment to get cosy pillows so you could actually sleep.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Steve, What an awesome review! We are so glad to hear that you had such a rewarding and authentic experience on the program in Thailand. The stories you gain from an experience like this are difficult to replicate. Thanks for being a great hands-on volunteer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Niklas
10/10

A Life-Changing Experience!

When I arrived at the office of the Mirror Foundation in Chiang Rai, I started doubting whether I had made the right decision coming to volunteer in Thailand.
The accommodation was very basic and the premises were located quite far from proper civilisation.
But truth is, this is exactly how the majority of people in Thailand live like. No, actually many of them even live under worse circumstances.
The factor that made my stay so rememberable wasn't the quality of the accommodation though.
It was the kindness of the Thai people.
Everywhere you go everyone smiles at you and wants to take pictures with you and Thai people are so appreciative as well!

I was lucky to be able to go on a homestay three times during my stay, which only was three weeks, and it was the best experience of my life.
We were preparing the lessons in a group of 4 people and we had to teach classes with children ranging from 8 to 16 years.
One of our homestay guides, Tar from PayaPraj School, took us to his school, which was far up in the mountains. There was not much to do there but he did a good job looking after us and making sure that we don't get bored.
He assigned us one student each, to show us around in the school and to help us translate some words to Thai, while we taught.
After school he took us to the music room, where a couple of students and teachers were practicing a song. Tar taught us to play some songs on the guitar and also how to sing some lines of a popular Thai song, which we would sing on stage in front of 300 students later that week.
He really appreciated us teaching his students some English and as a thank you he took us to some local places, such as local restaurants or the famous Mae Chan Tea Plantation.
Leaving him at the end of that week was really difficult for all of us.
The homestays were really what made my experience so unique. Some of the homestays also took us to the Golden Triangle and other famous sights.

In retrospective, volunteering in Thailand brought me very close to the Thai culture and taught me a lot about the different aspects of life in Thailand. The first steps were quite difficult for me coming from a western country but it was more than worth it! The Mirror Foundation did a really good job in making the introduction to different living standards as smooth as possible!

If you are ready to lower your living standards and to live in a very basic environment then, I am confident, that you will have a live-changing experience in Thailand.

And many thanks to IVHQ for making volunteering so affordable, the project was worth every penny!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Niklas, Thanks for your great review. We are thrilled to hear that you were so warmly welcomed by our local team in Thailand. We often receive feedback on how kind the Thai people are and we are glad that this was your experience also. Thank you for making the most of your time on the program by getting to know the local people and adapting to the local environment. It was great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope you will join us again in the future.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Yara
9/10

Best experience so far

I first arrived to Thailand with one friend, when I left I felt like I was leaving a family behind. I fell in love with the Thai people, their culture, and their adorable smiles.
Our accommodation was pretty basic, but that added to the charm of the experience. Everyone was really friendly; volunteers and thai interns bonded over stories from their respective countries. Both kids and teachers made me feel like my work was really appreciated.
Being able to directly interact with the kids made me realise that my small, but relevant, contribution was helping to achieve a much bigger goal.
I fell in love with the Land of Smile, and I never wanted to leave.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Yara, Thanks for your great review. It is so heartwarming to hear that you made such great friends while on the program in Thailand. We would love to welcome you back to the Land of Smiles in the future!

Yes, I recommend
Vivian
9/10

Indescribable Experience

People say when you do something you have never done before, you step out of your comfort zone and you grow up. I had traveled to so many places that I had become numb about the world. Thailand changed all that. The land of smiles, indeed; never had I ever seen such welcoming people.
The homestay I had is a memory I will never forget. Thailand kids are just so smart; they got everything immediately and learned so fast. It's such a pity they are not getting the education they deserve to get. Due to a family emergency, I had to go back home on a very short notice and didn't get to say goodbye to the kids I spent every single day with and this is always going to be a huge pity for me. I won't forget the sunny afternoons when we played games together in the shady corner of the playground and how the kids circled me in not letting me go; not for the rest of my life.
I wish I could say I were going to go back there to be their teacher. But I can't. What the kids in Thailand really need are responsible teachers who are not there to experience a different kind of life or simply just looking for a thrill, and who can stay with them instead of leaving them behind after one or several weeks.

How can this program be improved?
I do hope the accommodation at Mirror Foundation can be improved at least for hot showers and a usable wifi. And I wish I had more specific teaching curriculums, as most of the time we went into classrooms completely confused, as the materials the local school teachers wanted us to cover were different from those listed on the curriculum we got. Improvising was fun but we always ended up with plenty of time not knowing what to teach further.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Vivian, Thanks for your great review! We are so glad that the land of smiles broke through the numbness. Thanks for your recommendation, feedback and advice. It been great to have you as an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jenna
9/10

Wow

This was my first time travelling outside of the United States and I feel as though I could not have picked a better program. The experince of getting to know the locals on homestay was by far my favorite part. Getting to sit with them around a campfire, cooking rice and barbequing pork over a bamboo firepit and hear stories and learn some of thier traditions. During one particular homestay, we cooked a meal without any cutlery or kitchenware, we served to food on banana leaves, and at with our hands! All while watching the sunset over Thailand, voulunteers and locals eating together. It was such an amazing experience, I'm definitely hoping to do it atleast one more time!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jenna, We are so glad that you had a positive first trip abroad! Thanks for sharing this story from your time in Thailand; it is really hear-warming to read. We would love to have you volunteer with us again in the future. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Emily
9/10

IVHQ Thailand

IVHQ Thailand is a great experience, providing volunteers with the opportunity to make new friends from around the world, learn new skills and immerse themselves in a new culture. For me, teaching English at the mirror foundation was very rewarding, there was challenging moments and the language barrier often proved to be a difficulty. Yet, the friendly and eager pupils were
the reason why teaching was so much fun. The accomadtion at mirror is basic, but you easily adapt to living like a local, this includes eating rice three times a day too.
Aside from the volunteering, the weekends were some of my fondest moments occurred. From Saturday to Monday we were free to leave and explore more of Thailand. We ventured to Chiang Mai to visit an elephant sanctuary, a Grand Canyon and explore the night markets. There is also plenty to see in Chiang Rai if you want to stay local; including plenty of temples (the white temple is definitely worth seeing), the big Buddha statue, botanical gardens and cooking classes.
Volunteering in Thailand is one of the best things I've ever done, it does not come without its challenges and culture shock, yet, the experience exceeded any of the expectations I had. I made life long friends and grew in confidence and character.

How can this program be improved?
The programme could be improve through general maintenance of ten volunteer accomadtion, I accept that it is basic but it was often very unhygienic and uncomfatble in the hot conditions.
Also, there should be more effective communication between everyone at the foundation, we were often unsure what we were doing and thrown in the deep end when it first came to teaching a class for the first time.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emily, We are so glad to hear that you had a rewarding experience in Thailand! It sounds like you made the most of your experience by challenging yourself at the teaching placement and exploring Thailand in your free time. Thanks for your recommendation, feedback and advice. It been great to have you as an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
Nicole
10/10

2 Weeks in Thailand

For my first trip to Thailand, I decided to spend 2 weeks volunteering in northern Thailand, specifically Chang Rai. It was the best decision I have ever made. After 3 days, I was trying to see if I could rearrange my flights to stay longer. The program connects you with people from all over the world. In my group, we had people from the UK, Australia, Brazil, France, and the USA. Our big project for the first week was helping to build a dam for the local Karen village. Building that dam was why I went to Thailand. We were able to see the results of our work as we watched the water redirect and we were working with the local village men. They thanked us with a barbecue and the village head shook all of our hands to say "thank you." The next week, we were digging a water line for a school. We slept in the school and played with the children. We were able to really connect with the children and see what their lives are like. Throughout the program, Lynn, the program manager, checked in to make sure everything was okay and assured us that she was there if we needed anything. Even before I left for Thailand, Lynn was there to answer my countless questions and really prepared me for my trip. Volunteering with IVHQ was the best decision I have made and I hope to volunteer with them again soon.

How can this program be improved?
Day to day, I think we should have been more informed about the job we were doing and the risks involved, but overall, I felt comfortable with the jobs we were doing.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nicole, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and a few photos from your time in Thailand. It sounds like you had a rewarding trip and that your work was really appreciated, we are glad we could help facilitate this for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we look forward to welcoming you on another program again in the future!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Alvaro
8/10

Teaching in Northern Thailand

I volunteered with Mirror Foundation, IVHQ's local partner in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Accommodation: all volunteers lived at Mirror Foundation's premises, in a rural area, approximately 40 min north of Chiang Rai. I was placed in a bamboo house, where sleeping bags were put on the floor. We also had squat toilets and bucket showers, which is part of the experience. Wifi barely worked, which made difficult to plan lessons. Some volunteers were not mentally prepared to live in such different conditions they were used to, and keft the program early. In the beginning it was tough (mainly due to insects, reptiles, etc), but I managed to enjoy the experience.

Food: breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided during weekdays. Delicious local food!

Transportation to/from placement: provided by the local organizationin pickup trucks.

Weekends: during weekends, almost all volunteers leave the foundation and travel to other cities in Thailand or simply stay at a hotel in Chiang Rai.

Volunteering: indoor volunteers were taken to a different school, every week. It was a great experience teaching at public schools in small villages, tasting local food, talking to the local teachers. In my opinion, all volunteers should be fluent in English and have some teaching experience.

How can this program be improved?
Quality of wifi at the foundation could be improved. I know it is difficult to do, but there should be some kind of screening process while accepting volunteers who choose to teach English.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hey there Alvaro, thanks for the insight into your time in Thailand. Sounds like you really immersed yourself into the culture, creating an authentic experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Kelly
10/10

1 week at Thailand with IVHQ

During my 1 week duration with the Mirror Foundation in Thailand with IVHQ, I learned a lot about myself, the culture and grew out of my comfort zone. Traveling alone especially to a unfamiliar country is not easy, nobody said it was going to be easy. Everyone that volunteers are most likely it in the same boat as you are. It's okay to be sacred, anxious, nervous, or even overwhelmed. However, I met some of the most nicest people in my program. People from all over the world hat are different than I am yet similar in so many ways. It help me transition and feel much more comfortable volunteering. I will never forget our outdoor project of picking and planting rice. It was not easy at all especially in the humid hot day in Thailand. But it made me appreciate those around me and what I have. Everyone worked so hard for something that we usually take for granted such as buying rice from a grocery store. Without knowing how much effort it is to grow rice. I appreciated everyone involved in this project because no matter what challenges came up (dehydration, tired, hot) we all overcomes it together!

How can this program be improved?
More activities with the volunteers in the beginning of the week so it won't be so awkward. It will help everyone to break out of their shell.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kelly, thanks for sharing your thoughts from your experience on our Thailand program in Chiang Rai. It's great that you were able to take so much from the experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Catherine
10/10

Indoor Work for 8 Weeks

What a wonderful experience! Through volunteering with IVHQ I have made lifelong friends from Thailand and around the world. Volunteers are often sent on home-stays to teach or do outdoor work (whichever program you choose) and those were my favorite part. The schools I would teach at on home-stays were extremely thankful, eager to learn, and rarely have access to English speaking teachers.

The foundation where volunteers stay is nice, although don't expect luxury (i.e. squat toilets, bucket showers, no A/C). But that's all part of the experience! It helps volunteers fully submerge into the culture and live like the surrounding hill tribes do. The wifi doesn't work well, which made us volunteers become close very quickly, but it did make it hard to plan teaching lessons.

How can this program be improved?
The wifi barely works, which makes it hard to plan lessons and input lesson feedback. Also, the teaching materials should be updated.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Catherine, thanks for the review! We are so glad that you had a wonderful experience volunteering in Thailand and that you fully submerged yourself into the culture! We hope that you can join us on another IVHQ program.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Tina
10/10

Thailand Hill Tribe Community Experience

Through IVHQ I found the confidence to travel on my own for the first time to a rural community in Thailand as a volunteer. I had such a profound and genuine experience there that I recommended your organisation to friends and decided to do it again in Kenya the following year.

I was officially apart of the 'Constuction/Outdoor' program but once I arrived there I quickly realised that I was instantly apart of a local community and could help out in other ways too.

The local foundation made us volunteers feel very much at home and ensured that our skills and resources were put to good use.

Our team spent most of our days making bricks, constructing fences and building structures for various community bodies. As I am a trained Secondary School Teacher I also spent some time teaching english and entertaining the children who had family members working within the partner foundation.

The partner foundation was set up in a way that allowed all the local and international volunteers to live, eat, work and play together. We slept in gender seperated dorm-style rooms and ate our meals communally with the staff and had a volunteer room where we could email friends and family back home and relax after a day of volunteer work. It is very well set up to accomodate everyone's needs.

My fondest memory was our Christmas eve outting. This involved going bamboo door-to-door and singing our christmas carols to the local community families. This was positively received and the locals returned the favour by singing for us with instruments and 4 part harmonies (somewhat superior to our out-of-tune rendition of 'Jingle Bells').

The security that IVHQ offered me (and my family) during my trip was invaluable. My parents had the reassurance of a NZ contact if they could not contact me and I knew what to expect in terms of being collected at the airport and being placed in a relevant role within a reputable organisation.

IVHQ offer programs that are a fantastic introduction to the developing world to any nervous-first-time traveler.

I would highly recommend this IVHQ program.

How can this program be improved?
I think that this program is very wel organised in terms of type of volunteer work, transport to and from placement, accomodation, meals and local interaction. I felt very much apart of the community and can not think of any changes I would have made to my experience.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tina, Thanks for sharing a little about your experience volunteering with IVHQ in Thailand. It’s great to hear that you felt well looked after by IVHQ and our partner team in Thailand. Thanks for the recommendation :)

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Stan
9/10

Thailand Outdoor Work Placement (Mirror Foundation)

Great interaction and cultural excahnge with opportuning to have a postive impact in upgrading the condition of building imprlovements in two northern Thailand hill tribe locations. Small sized work teams (4 to 6 volunteers) + 2 Mirror Foundation staff coordinators allowed for very good work flow, cooperation and transport logistics. All work is intensive manual labor, and can be a bit challenging in the hotter summer months, particularly for the more seasoned (older aged) volunteer.

How can this program be improved?
Initial arrival and orientation (provided by the Foundation staff) caused a certian level of anxiety and concern. However, after a few days most volunteers are pretty well acclimated and other other volunteers are more than helpful.
Yes, I recommend

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

About International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

IVHQ is the world’s most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization, offering the largest range of safe and impactful volunteer programs in 40+ destinations around the world.

Over 80,000 travelers have volunteered abroad with IVHQ over the...