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.


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 136 Programs


Over 15 Volunteering & Gap Year Programs in different locations in Thailand with GapXperience including working in an orphana...


Carpe Diem Education
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Explore Thailand and Cambodia in a way few others ever see. Apply to join a small (20 people MAX) and special group aged 18 t...


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This tour has been carefully designed for those who wish to embrace Thai culture through adventure, exploration, cultural exc...


Love Volunteers
Do you love animals? Want to help protect endangered species? This program is for you! Our Wildlife Conservation projects all...


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Pod Volunteer has been working in Thailand since 2001 and now supports 8 projects in the country. Experience the real Thailan...


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Volunteer abroad in Thailand with Friends for Asia! With a variety of different volunteer options in various parts of the cou...


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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...


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Teach your choice of subject to children and adults, usually in the poorer section of society, in Schools, Orphanages, Social...


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Give back to the rural communities of Thailand by teaching in one of the many rural schools in Sungburi teaching either Prima...


Youth International
Join Youth International in the spring or fall of 2018 for a volunteer travel adventure in East Asia! This gap semester progr...


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Thailand is a great introduction to South East Asia, and a wonderful destination to volunteer or intern abroad. Its a beautif...


Greenheart Travel
Started in 2013, this animal shelter aims to stabilize the stray dog population by providing necessary healthcare and vaccina...


Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
Explore the beautiful and rich culture of Thailand while volunteering. Global Leadership Adventures offer multiple Service Le...