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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 122 Programs

Vietnam
Idex
This trip will be the most unforgettable one for the travelers as it will include some of the best places of the Asian continent: India, Nepal, Sri La...
1 reviews
Surin
Bamboo
Explore Thailand and Cambodia in a way few others ever see. Apply to join a small (20 people MAX) and special group aged 18 to 24 who only have a shor...
0 reviews
Chiang Mai
Idex
You visited a beautiful country, visited important monuments and the markets, spent few days in a luxury hotel and still something went missing. You c...
1 reviews
Chiang Rai
Bamboo
This tour has been carefully designed for those who wish to embrace Thai culture through adventure, exploration, cultural exchange and volunteer work,...
0 reviews
Phuket
Yaowawit School
Volunteering at Yaowawit is lots of fun - a big part of your job will be playing and interacting with our children. Aside from that, our volunteers' s...
1 reviews
Thailand
Discover Corps
Take a step back in time to a small Thai village where local communities care for majestic elephants. Work with elephants and their caretakers, meet d...
0 reviews
Krabi
Pacific Discovery
Experience the exotic and varied landscapes, tastes, wildlife and culture of Thailand. Be inspired by the magnificent and majestic elephants you will...
15 reviews
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Thailand
Andaman Discoveries
Our programs in the Kuraburi, Phang Nga area focus on teaching English at local learning centers for Burmese migrant children, and also rural Thai sch...
0 reviews
Hua Hin
GeoVisions Foundation
If you have 9-days (starting Saturday after a week of work and running through the next Sunday) or if you can even spend 10-14 days … you can make a h...
0 reviews
Thailand
Fountain of Life Women's Center
In a center that has 20 years of experience, come to help women to find their dignity again and build true relationships through teaching English! You...
3 reviews
Chiang Rai
The Mirror Foundation
The Indoor program includes teaching to school age students; playing educational game and activities with kindergarten children; teaching novice monks...
0 reviews
Chiang Rai
The Mirror Foundation
The Outdoor program incorporates a variety of work; including bridge construction, building toilet blocks, concreting access paths into fields, painti...
0 reviews
Chiang Mai
Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary
We are looking for interns with previous teaching experience OR experience collecting data on the ground to come and join us at our elephant sanctuary...
0 reviews
Thailand
Animal Experience International
Elephants are in trouble in Thailand. Not only is the wild elephant population decreasing due to habitat loss and poaching, but domestic elephants are...
2 reviews
Thailand
Animal Experience International
Wild animals in Thailand are experiencing pressures from many sources – loss of habitat, hunting, the illegal pet trade, use of animals by the enterta...
0 reviews