10 Things You Will Love About Volunteering in Thailand
During 2014 Debra Thomas took part in a life-changing trip to Thailand with Volunteering Solutions. The three-week programme named “Thailand Summer Volunteer Program” was the perfect way to discover the country for her first big trip overseas.
Set mostly in Thailand’s Northern provinces the programme will allow it’s volunteers to participate in an Elephant Experience, Childcare Experience and School/Community experience as well as seeing and exploring as much as Thailand as possible.
In this article Debra shares her experience and her favourite things about volunteering in Thailand with Volunteering Solutions and why you might want to book a similar experience.
1. Range of volunteering opportunities
One of the best things about the programme is the range of volunteering. You can help in so many ways, putting your best skills into what suits you. Firstly there's the washing of the elephants and farming at the homestay in Surin. Ideal for those looking for authentic experience. Secondly, the Childcare Experience is great for helping local children. You can help with schooling, teaching English, feeding and cleaning so you can put your skills to work. Then as part of the School & Community Experience, my group took part in building work, perfect for those wanting hands-on experience, where you can see real concrete results impacting a community positively.
2. Getting the “real” Thai experience
Getting an authentic experience now is very important to most people while travelling to another country. The best part of the trip for myself was the home stay at “Mr Lee’s Home Stay”. Learning how to cook with the family, helping with the chores and playing football with the local children from the village is a great way to see the real culture of Thailand.
3. Stress-free trip
As the guides are such a great help and the programme is organised very well. This does give you a more relaxed way to experience Thailand. As the transport and accommodation is taken care of you can focus on experiencing the Country. Perfect for first-time travellers to Thailand wanting to explore the country and make a real difference.
4. Taking into the sights of Bangkok
While on the volunteer program it’s not all hard work! On the first full day of your trip, there is a tour of Bangkok. During this trip, you can explore all the major attractions of Bangkok by boat and TukTuk! A must for any trip to Thailand. The second day there is a trip to Chatuchak Market Day the largest indoor market in South East Asia.
5. Meeting new people
Volunteering is a great way to make friends all over the world. The guides will make a lasting impression on your with their welcoming and friendly mindsets. Locals with teach you Thai phrases and Thai culture. Not to mention the group of volunteers you will be working who you will work alongside. Your group and you will bond over the experiences by laughing and reflexing over the amazing experiences you have had.
6. Surin “Elephant Capital of Thailand”
One of the main reasons many visitors are attracted to Thailand is to witness their magical creatures; The elephants. Much of the time spent during the programme is in Surin said to be the elephant capital of Thailand. When volunteering with elephants on this experience, you will get up close to the giants working along the mahouts of the village learning and caring for these beautiful creatures.
Visiting Surin you can really see the spiritual impact that elephants have in Thai culture. Just seeing the elephants play and relax in their natural surroundings, this was certainly one of the most touching parts of the programme for myself.
7. Getting to Explore
During this time you can also explore during the free days you are given! Perfect to get out and explore the local area around Surin. You can check out the temples, local markets or even a day by the pool. If you want to get extra close and personal with the elephants of Surin try Surin’s Elephant Poo Paper Project! A wonderful way to participate in ecological travel and support the local community.
8. National Park Visit
After volunteering in Surin the group head to Khao Yai National Park. One of the World’s most beautiful National Parks! Here you can explore the bat caves, waterfalls, viewpoints and treks. Not only that the National Park is home to some amazing wildlife including monkeys, bears, dears, ottos and a whole range of exotic birds. You can also see the Haew Suwat Waterfall which is widely recognized for the film “The Beach” which is always simultaneously mentioned when travelling to Thailand.
9. Jungle Trek
Getting up close and personal with the jungles of Khao Yai National Park is one of the highlights of the trip. Try to spot a monkey, bird or even giant squirrel. The guide will give you loads of information about the wildlife, plants and location of the park. This trek definitely gives you that sense of adventure.
10. Making a difference
The best part of any volunteering programme is seeing the actual difference you have made to a person or place. With this programme, you can actually see this from the smiles on the faces of the children and the tangible finished outcome of the building work in the local school. Although this can be hard work or emotional the feeling that you have contributed something to a community will stay will stay with you forever.
By Debra Thomas
If you would be keen to book a trip like this contact Volunteering Solutions today.