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Volunteer in Thailand

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Thailand is a beacon for volunteers; whether you're interested in working at a refugee camp or volunteering with stray dogs, the opportunities for volunteers in Thailand are widely varied.

Not to mention, volunteering in Thailand lets you step outside the normal tourist bubble. Working with an NGO lets you settle into a daily rhythm that shares the Thai daily rhythm of work and celebration. Thais work hard yet smilingly acknowledge you as you walk through ancient and modern entrepreneurial activities.

Because Thailand shares borders with Myanmar (Burma), Laos, and Cambodia, all of which have a history of human rights abuses, scores of human right agencies have been long established in this area -- and it's easy for you to make these neighboring countries (which are also historical, beautiful and fascinating) part of your volunteer plans.

Bangkok and Chiang Mai in particular have multiple volunteering opportunities and NGOs:

Human Right Advocacy

There are many NGOs in Chiang Mai, with branches in Mae Sot, that do grassroots work with migrant workers and their families. There is great need for educators, grant writers, and handicraft artists. Some NGOs specialize and work with regional migrants, like Katchen women and Shan youth.

Thailand is the chosen destination for many migrants from Myanmar (Burma) and Laos – at great personal risk and effort people cross the border to Thailand from their countries that share a long history with Thailand. Wide ranging aid programs are provided by many small NGOs up to the United Nations whose ILO (International Labour Office) includes Local Strategies for Decent Work Specialists.

Learn more about human rights in Thailand from the Human Rights Watch.

Education

Both paid and volunteer jobs alike for ESL teachers are common in Thailand. However, if you still don't have a TEFL certificate or teaching experience, becoming a volunteer ESL teacher in Thailand is your best (and most responsible) option.

Wildlife and Conservation

Besides teaching, volunteering with Thailand's wildlife -- particularly elephants -- is another popular area for international volunteers. Spend your days helping to conserve wildlife habitats, rescuing stray dogs, or tracking elephants.

NGO Work, Training and Monitoring

Many NGOs need people who can ‘train the trainer’ and expand the work staff available. Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) participates and coordinates events to raise awareness of human rights in Burma, an region whose recent elections is being closely watched by the world as it allows more visas for the first time in many decades.

Other popular fields to volunteer in include: economic justice, youth advocacy, education, teaching English, and women's rights

Questions to Ask Before Volunteering
  • Do I need to learn Thai?
  • Will there be other volunteers where I'm working?
  • What will my accommodations be like?
  • Will I be in a rural or urban area?
  • What requirements are there for my volunteer project?
  • What can I do to prepare myself for living and volunteering in Thailand?
Best Places to Volunteer in Thailand

For volunteers looking to contribute to all kinds of social issues in a big city, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are perfect destinations. Both of these cities offer a number of volunteer programs to choose from while being surrounded by Thai temples, people, and culture.

Chang Mai is also a much more calm and spiritual city in comparison to Bangkok. If you're looking to volunteer on the coast, head south. Phuket and Krabi are overrun with tourists, but many undiscovered islands and villages outside those two major cities remain.

Ko Samui is an island off the east coast of Thailand that offers great opportunities to see wildlife and nature, especially interesting for those who want to work in conservation.

Contributed by Charlotte Bennett Schoen

Showing 126 Programs

Thailand
Kaya Responsible Travel
Join Kaya on one of our many unique volunteer and travel programs in Thailand. We operate in a wide variety of capacities inc...
3 reviews
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Chiang Mai
Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
Explore the beautiful and rich culture of Thailand while volunteering. Global Leadership Adventures offer multiple Service Le...
12 reviews
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Thailand
Pod Volunteer
Pod Volunteer has been working in Thailand since 2001 and now supports 8 projects in the country. Experience the real Thailan...
3 reviews
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Phuket
International Volunteer Services
International volunteers on our animal welfare program in Koh Lanta, Thailand work in a center that takes care of cats and do...
1 reviews
Koh Tao
Real Gap Experience
This will be the BEST 17 days of your life. Trust us! Starting in Bangkok, you'll get to explore the incredible city, temples...
0 reviews
Thailand
Travellers Worldwide
Change the fate of elephants in Thailand! You'll work hands-on with elephants, giving them lots of care, and also be helping...
2 reviews
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Hua Hin
Oyster Worldwide
Become part of an important mission to rescue, rehabilitate and care for abused and orphaned animals in Thailand. Work hands...
2 reviews
Surat Thani
Friends for Asia
Volunteer abroad in Thailand with Friends for Asia! With a variety of different volunteer options in various parts of the cou...
4 reviews
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Thailand
Volunteers For Peace (VFP)
Volunteer in Thailand for 2 weeks up to 1 year! Projects focus on education, environmental work, agricultural work, and socia...
3 reviews
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Thailand
Operation Groundswell
Join Operation Groundswell as we venture off the beaten path to experience Khmer culture first-hand through meaningful servic...
6 reviews
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Thailand
Youth International
Join Youth International in the fall of 2017 or spring of 2018 for a volunteer travel adventure in Asia! This program lets yo...
10 reviews
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Chiang Mai
IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
The countries of S.E. Asia are as different as they are similar and IPSL students have a unique opportunity to live, study an...
0 reviews
Thailand
American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
The AJWS Volunteer Corps Program in Thailand is designed to give Jewish professionals and retirees the opportunity to utilize...
2 reviews
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Thailand
Frontier
Thailand has continued to be one of the most tempting destinations for those who are seeking a combination of enchanting natu...
2 reviews
Thailand
Gap 360
Want to see Thailand from every perspective, from trekking the northern hills to taking care of your own elephant at a privat...
1 reviews