Thailand has much to offer. From pristine beaches, thick jungles, majestic mountains, great shopping malls, fascinating culture and delightful people. However, Thailand is also a country plagued by issues of a developing country. Most people visit and leave with great memories, but the idea of giving back rarely occurs to everybody. Why not travel in a different way, and volunteer in Thailand for a change?
Today, there are plenty of programs and opportunities to volunteer in Thailand. From working with young children to caring for elephants, there are many ways to make a positive impact. Read on to find out more about the different places where you can volunteer in Thailand!
1. Elephant camp project, Chiang Mai
Another thing that Thailand is known for apart from its nature, food and people – the elephants. The love for these gentle giants is pretty evident in Thailand, and that’s what this elephant camp volunteering is all about.
Volunteers will be staying at the camp located 45 minutes outside Chiang Mai, and the daily work starts early in the morning. First with taking the elephants for a walk followed by a bath, and then preparing and feeding them their breakfast. The rest of the day involves some form of caretaking, working with elephant trainers, or conducting safety briefings to visiting tourists. Some manual work is to be expected, but if you’re a wildlife enthusiast who likes the outdoors, this may be the program for you!
2. Teach children at local schools, Hua Hin
Experience Thai beach culture and give back to the community of Hua Hin! This program will allow you to work with children each day in two different placements.
In the first morning placements, volunteers will work in a childcare center or kindergarten. The afternoon volunteer work will take place in primary or secondary schools. Some tasks will include preparing and teaching English lessons, educational games and songs. In the childcare center or kindergarten, kids will also have to be put down for daily naps. Volunteers will also get the chance to experience the local culture, such as visiting night markets and the golden beaches!
3. Marine conservation, Ko Pha Ngan
Become a marine conservation volunteer and help conserve the world’s depleting coral reefs in Thailand. Immerse yourself in the underwater world, taking daily dives off the stunning coast of Koh Pha Ngan.
Volunteers will work with a marine research organisation performing daily dives to help understand the local ecosystem and implement reef conservation. You will see firsthand how pollution and climate change damage the reef, and do what you can to improve the situation. Not yet a certified diver? Not to worry, the organization can help arrange for you to spend four days taking your PADI qualification before joining the project.
4. Women empowerment, Bangkok
Make a difference in the lives of at-risk mothers and their children in Thailand’s capital. In the process, you will also get to see and experience parts of the city that tourists rarely come in contact with.
The organization behind this project operates in a prominent Bangkok slum, notorious for its poor living conditions, impoverished residents, and socio-economic challenges. Volunteers will help equip single mothers with professional skills, such as proficiency in English. Working with their young children is also another way for volunteers to contribute. There are plenty of tasks to complete, but the most important parts are forging relationships, providing support and instilling confidence.
5. Youth sports coaching, Singburi
This program gives children the opportunity to get more involved with sports. In these schools, you will add an essential element to the current sport, physical education, and health curriculum for the children.
The training sessions consist mainly of team sports such as soccer, netball, volleyball and rugby. This program aims to train and broaden the types of sports that children can participate in. Furthermore, health lessons are conducted on personal health care and important issues such as gender equality. If you have a deep interest in sports and children, this program is a great way to combine the two and make an impact in positive ways!