Volunteer in Bhutan
Bhutan is an incredible destination and you can be more than just a tourist by volunteering. Find programs with NGO's, international charities and local organisations helping to make a difference in Bhutan.
Volunteer Opportunities in Bhutan
A Guide to Volunteering in Bhutan
Imagine living and working in a country where the guiding principal of development is Gross National Happiness. Experience a culture like no other where you have the ability to make a true difference in the lives of local people who need it most. There are opportunities to apply to teach in Bhutan or join other programs on the ground where you can make a difference.
Bhutan is not the first country people consider when thinking about volunteering in Asia but you will get a life changing experience! If you are interested in exploring this incredible opportunity, find out more information and apply to live and work in Bhutan today!
Location of Projects
This country is famous for being isolated and undeveloped and a lot of volunteer projects can be in very rural locations - on one had this means you will get a really unique authentic experience unlike a lot of countries in Asia but on the other you might need to live without some home comforts. Popular places to volunteer in Bhutan include Thimphu in Western Bhutan. Location can really depend on the organisation you apply with. Another popular option is to apply to teach in Bhutan.
Types of Programs
Most projects have a focus on community development and education - most international participants volunteer in schools and with remove communities.
Organisations like the WWF are working hard to help protect the natural environment and wildlife in Bhutan, they run sustainable development projects and have also funded nature reserves for wildlife in spectacular regions of the country - you will be blown away by the beauty of the country. A lot are located in the West of the country which you might need to take a flight into Bhutan’s Paro airport where you will see from the air how stunning the scenery is.
Areas where conservation are needed include:
- Wangchuck Centennial Park
- Jigme Dorji National Park
- Black Mountain National Park
- Royal Manas National Park
- Thrumshingla National Park
- The Bomdeling and Sakteng are very important wildlife sanctuaries helping care for animals in the country.
International organisations have been operational in Bhutan for many years, most people who apply are aged 18+ and from a number of worldwide countries like the UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, USA just to name a few. Some projects are arranged in groups so you will be with other people making the experience easier. There are some family volunteering programs available in Bhutan - these are definitely for the adventurous as this country is not as advanced as others in the region.
What to Expect
Feedback we receive is positive for helping in Bhutan but its very important you research all placements as some can be in really rural areas and living conditions basic.
Local people might not speak English but will be very friendly and keen to talk to you, we recommend trying to speak to as many people as possible - you will be surprised to see many inviting you into their homes to meet their families or cook you food. This country is relatively cheap once inside, you can eat at local food vendors and the cuisine here is very tasty and inexpensive. There is internet available throughout the country.
How to Apply
If you are a member of a recognised organisation e.g. 'Health Volunteers Overseas' you will get a unique official visa making it easier to stay and work. Otherwise it can be tricky to stay in Bhutan, especially long term as you will need to enter on a tourist visa which requires you to spend USD$200 per day. Some international organisations can assist with your application though and make the process easier.
Bhutan is not the easiest country to volunteer in terms of available placements and you might like to view nearby destinations where there are more opportunities: