Volunteer in Thailand
Volunteer Abroad > SE Asia | Written by Tara Tadlock | Last updated 20th Feb, 2023.
Volunteers with a sense of adventure need look no further than Thailand. If you follow this guide, you’ll be ready and on your way to volunteer abroad in Thailand in no time.
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Why volunteer abroad in Thailand?
Thailand has a reputation for friendly locals, beautiful landscapes, and delicious food -- what’s not to love? Thailand regularly tops the list of travel destinations in Asia due to its rich cultural traditions, delicious food, and diverse wildlife.
We truly believe that it’s a fantastic location and here are five reasons why we think you should volunteer abroad in Thailand:
The cost of living in Thailand is very low. This is one of the major appeals for those coming to Thailand as it means that there is something to suit every traveler’s budget.
Thailand is a major hub for travel, making it easy to get to and from.
Thailand’s tropical climate -- and who doesn’t like warm weather and sunshine?
Stunning scenery across the country means no matter where your volunteer abroad in Thailand project is based, you’ll have incredible landscapes to look at.
Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles” thanks to friendly locals and superior hospitality. You’ll never feel alone amongst the helpful, courteous, and kind Thai people.
Volunteer abroad in Thailand opportunities
There is a fantastic range of gap year and volunteer abroad in Thailand opportunities, but there are three clear categories that a majority of projects fit into:
Teaching English - A large number of volunteer abroad in Thailand projects are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to come teach English to young children, Monks and Novices, and school aged students throughout the country.
Working with animals - Elephants, dogs, and monkeys, oh my! Thailand has a hefty need for volunteers who love and care about animals.
Farming - Help on organic farms in the Thai countryside by feeding animals and tending the land.
Who should volunteer abroad in Thailand?
Thailand is a great fit for any eager volunteer. Many of the farming and wildlife projects in Thailand require some sort of physicality, so it’s best that you apply to these only if you have a moderate level of fitness or feel comfortable moving around in the tropical heat.
Teaching projects tend to look for volunteers with a bit more time to dedicate, as this leads to a better connection with students and more continuity in curriculum.
While there are a variety of volunteer abroad in Thailand projects that need helpers, individuals with experience or interest in teaching English are extremely sought after. If English is your native language, you have previously taught, or you have a TEFL certificate, it’s likely you’ll have great success in your application process due to the demand.
There is also a large need for those who enjoy working with animals, so any experience you may have in caring for animals will be a big boost to your application.
Is Thailand safe for volunteers?
In terms of general safety, Thailand is no different to traveling anywhere else in that you just need to be aware of your surroundings.
The main issue for travelers in Thailand is pickpocketing and tourist scams in large cities like the capital, Bangkok. For instance, tourists often get overcharged for taxi rides. As long as you keep your wits about you while you are out exploring, you’ll be fine. Also, don’t forget to smile; you’re in the Land of Smiles after all, and the friendlier you are to the locals, the friendlier they’ll be to you.
We do advise that you have appropriate travel and health insurance when travelling to Thailand. Our motto is -- it's better to be safe than sorry. Any travel insurer should be able to provide you with the correct cover. Our preferred insurance partner is SafetyWing.
Visa to volunteer abroad in Thailand?
HelpStay is not paid work, so you will be entering Thailand on a tourist visa.
Tourists from 56 countries, including the U.K, Canada, and the United States, can enter Thailand on a free visa (known as a Visa Exemption) on arrival for a stay of up to 30 days.
Travelers entering from countries not on the exemption list would have to apply for a Special Tourist Visa. For more information on entry into Thailand, see here.
Applying to volunteer abroad in Thailand
When you join HelpStay as a member -- you first need to create your HelpStay profile by completing your 'About You' section. Once this section is completed, you can chat with potential hosts and start applying to volunteer abroad in Thailand.
Make sure to include the following in your profile:
Your photo - bonus points if it’s up-to-date and shows your smiling face looking friendly.
Where you’d like to volunteer - what places are you most excited to go and volunteer in?
Projects of interest to you - are you hoping to volunteer in agriculture?
A little about who you are - this is the part of your profile where you want your personality, interests, and special skills to shine through.
Writing your volunteer application
The messages you’ll exchange with potential hosts are important. They will be your first impression, so you want to make sure you get them just right.
Here are some quick tips for nailing your application:
Make sure you’ve read the host listing. Then read it again. Then maybe read it a third time just to make sure you have a thorough understanding of what is required and the host’s expectations.
Be clear and concise about how long you want to stay, what dates you are available, and whether your dates are flexible. It’s often a good idea to remain a little open.
Enthusiasm and politeness cost nothing - and it will start you off on the right foot with hosts if you sound eager to help and excited about the project.
Link your special skills and talents to the project’s requirements. Do you have a degree in English that might help on a language teaching project? Have you worked on a farm previously? How can your previous experiences or natural abilities strengthen a project- let the host know!
We recommend giving yourself 3-4 months to prepare your trip to volunteer abroad in Thailand. This will give you ample time to find the right host for you, book flights and transportation, and sort out any details prior to arrival.
Most tourists arrive in country via Bangkok, the capital city and major travel hub of Thailand, by flying into either Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang International Airport.
Depending on the location of your volunteer project, you may want to consider flying into Chiang Mai International Airport or Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai International Airport.
Local buses and sleeper trains make Thailand’s many cities and towns interconnected and affordable to get to. You can read more about Thailand’s awesome train services here.
Explore available opportunities