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

Programs

Displaying 16 - 30 of 144
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Bamboo
Bamboo offers a variety of construction projects in five different countries. Working on this type of project allows the...
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Plan My Gap Year
PMGY offer a wide range of safe, meaningful, affordable teaching volunteer projects from 1-week to 6-months in Bali, Cambodia...
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GapXperience
From only £350, US$455, AU$595 or €375 no extra charges such as registration fees! Teaching, Elephant, Orphanage,...
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Love Volunteers
Do you love animals? Want to help protect endangered species? This program is for you! Our Wildlife Conservation projects...
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Greenheart Travel
Started in 2013, this animal shelter aims to stabilize the stray dog population by providing necessary healthcare and...
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Bamboo
Volunteering in the medical field is your chance to make a huge difference in people's lives. Bamboo offers medical related...
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Plan My Gap Year
PMGY offer a wide range of safe, meaningful, affordable childcare volunteer projects from 1-week to 6-months in Bali,...
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Africa & Asia Venture (AV)
Cultural immersion is more than just being a tourist and seeing the sights, it's a unique opportunity to engage meaningfully...
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Greenheart Travel
Greenheart Travel’s Teach English in a Homestay program in Thailand offers you the opportunity to become an English tutor...
Thailand
Friends for Asia
Volunteer abroad in Thailand with Friends for Asia! With a variety of different volunteer options in various parts of the...
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Bamboo
Bamboo's most popular volunteer tour takes you through two of South-East Asia's most exciting countries with a group of like...
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GapXperience
Join the Thailand Experience, a 4 week program full of sightseeing, cultural activities, adventure and volunteering offering...
Thailand
TravelBud
This is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the more unusual parts of Thailand, off the beaten tourist tracks as you...
Thailand
Conserve Natural Forests
CNF is seeking individuals with knowledge about forest management to share ideas and develop reforestation projects alongside...
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Youth International
Join Youth International in the fall of 2018 or spring of 2019 for a travel adventure in East Asia! This gap semester program...