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


GeoVisions' Tutor program provides native English speakers a chance to live with a Thai family and teach them conversational...


Thrill of Asia
WORK & LIVE IN THAILAND Join this project and experience the real Thailand - the culture, the sights, and the amazing friendl...


The Global Work & Travel Co.
Stray dogs in Thailand often suffer appalling care. Thailand has a massive stray dog population that grows each year. There i...


GIVE Volunteers
Combine our Thailand and Laos programs for 4 weeks of adventure, 2 different countries and 1 unforgettable experience, all th...


Volunteer Teacher Thailand
We are located on the Andaman Coast, 45 miles north of Phuket Island. We place English speakers in poorly funded government s...


Rustic Volunteer and Travel
From the green rice field of North Thailand to the verdant limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, to the vibrating culture, vo...


Starfish Volunteers
Volunteer and help build, paint, dig, and work for the local community in the beautifully picturesque town of Sangkhlaburi, T...


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...


Andaman Discoveries
Our programs in the Kuraburi, Phang Nga area focus on teaching English at local learning centers for Burmese migrant children...


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If you have 9-days (starting Saturday after a week of work and running through the next Sunday) or if you can even spend 10-1...


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RCDP International Volunteer Program
Volunteering in the Elephant Project in Surin, the elephant province of Thailand, could be a great experience for you if you...


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Working Abroad Projects
Volunteer to teach English as a foreign language in traditional Thailand. Working almost exclusively in the North East of the...


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Cooperating Volunteers
Volunteers in Thailand may participate in any of our projects. Together with our alliance we cooperate with local projects to...


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Gap 360
Get the best of both worlds with our Thailand Childcare Volunteers program! Spend time volunteering with local children in a...


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Mundo Exchange Organization
Mundo Exchange teams with Laekplian Lokgatat members to work on projects including teaching in public schools, working in loc...