Volunteer in Thailand with International Volunteer HQ today. IVHQ’s local staff in Thailand require volunteers NOW! IVHQ has a range of volunteering projects available in the Chiang Rai province, working with local villages and hill tribes.
LOCATION OF THAILAND VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
IVHQ has volunteer programs located in Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand. Chiang Rai is a great place to volunteer as the weather is nice and the scenery beautiful with green jungles, rice fields, waterfalls, elephants and more. The Northern Thais (both the ethnic Thai and the various hill tribes) are some of the friendliest and most welcoming people in the world. It is very safe and good medical facilities are available. Furthermore, Chiang Rai is easily accessible by air, road and railroad links.
START AND DURATION OF THAILAND VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Programs start on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 3 months. The Teaching English project has a minimum duration of 2 weeks.
THAILAND VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the beginning of the program and have at least a high school education. All volunteers on the Thailand program must take out adequate travel insurance for their trip. All volunteers must provide a national criminal background check to IVHQ partner staff on arrival in Thailand.
HOW MANY OTHER VOLUNTEERS WILL THERE BE?
THAILAND VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIALS
THAILAND VOLUNTEER PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS
In the Northern areas of Thailand such as Chiang Rai many of the local people have not been fortunate enough to have access to any type of formal education. Therefore there is a real need for volunteers to assist in the education of not only young children but also adults from surrounding hill tribes and local villages. Volunteers are based at IVHQ's partner organization with other volunteers and staff, and will generally homestay in a local hill tribe village during their second week. Although schools are shut for holidays during March, April, May and October, teaching is all year round - when schools are not operating our local staff run school camps and other activities for local hilltribe children. This program does involve childcare work.
N.B. Volunteers DO NOT need to be a qualified or experienced teacher.
IVHQ PLACEMENT: Nam Rad School
Located on the outskirts of Chiang Rai, this school caters for over 300 Thai children from local villages ranging in age from 7 to 12 . (Please Note - This is just one of many schools on our program and not necessarily the one you will be teaching at).
The Outdoor Work placement is for those who are happy to get their hands dirty, who like physical labour, and the sense of achievement felt when a job is completed. Because there are three distinct seasons (hot, rainy, cold), sometimes outdoor work is not possible. This is overcome by researching into methods of agricultural production which could be applied in this area, project presentations to villagers, promotional work, and other work that can be carried out protected from the elements. Some examples of work previously completed by volunteers on the outdoor work project are building water tanks, extending water pipe systems, building check dams, building school classrooms, painting school classrooms, developing the local agricultural project, helping in local vegetable gardens, working on developing plantations, road repairs, repair and maintenance of homes of elderly Thai villagers, building new houses and toilets for elderly Thai villagers, building the new staff office, making bricks for building projects and cleaning. Some work will be scheduled, and as such, will be expected to be done on a regular basis – daily watering of vegetables, for instance. Other jobs will appear as and when they arrive. Often, work is carried out at short notice, so it is difficult to give volunteers an accurate itinerary of their stay.
New Outdoor Work Project
We have a new project ready to go for our outdoor team who will be helping to create rice terraces for the poorest of the villagers in this area. A rice terrace is a field cut into the hillside, rather than planting crops directly into the natural curve of the hill. It is effective in a number of ways:
- Water which would normally just run down the hill, can be retained and irrigated with more control.
- The number of crops per year can be increased from one to two, which naturally increases the income for the family.
- The terrace style helps to prevent landslides and soil erosion.
- The government is less likely to take the land away (most farmers do not have deeds to their land).
- Farm work, once the terrace is completed, is less arduous.
The conversion of fields to terraces has the added benefit of government approval, and although they cannot afford to subsidise the work, they are supportive of the change. As you can see from the photographs, terracing a hill for planting rice is much more effective than growing on a naturally sloping hillside.
THAILAND PROGRAM COSTS
One of the strengths of IVHQ is our extremely affordable fees. Click here to see the program cost to volunteer in Thailand and what you receive in exchange for your fees.
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
Volunteers are housed onsite at our partner organization’s headquarters in Chiang Rai. Volunteers live in a communal environment (males and females have separate lodgings) with other staff and volunteers. The accommodation is well integrated into the environment as the buildings are made of wood and soil. The main dorm houses short term volunteers in two dorms on the first floor, and longer term volunteers in three smaller, more private, rooms on the ground floor. You may find yourself sharing with quite a few people, depending on the period. The cob style dorms are for male volunteers, and made of soil, chaff and straw. A feature of the houses is that they are cool in summer and warm in winter. Also, they are environmentally friendly as the design minimizes tree logging. Bedding is provided in the form of traditional Thai mattresses, which are much thinner than western style. The living conditions are basic and volunteers should be prepared to have cold running water, and bucket showers. However, the accommodation is well set up and very practical. While bedding is provided, volunteers are required to also bring their own sleeping bag (some homestays have no bedding available). Windows and doors are fitted with mosquito screens. Generally, in the second week all Outdoor volunteers are taken on a homestay, working on a construction (or similar) project, living with a local family. Indoor volunteers usually have a non-working homestay over the first weekend. Both of these are subject to change, depending on circumstances.
Living conditions in the villages are even more basic, and squat toilets and cold bucket showers are the norm. The homestays are generally one of the highlights of the program as it is a great way to see the work being appreciated immediately, get a firsthand experience of hilltribe life, and gain an understanding of the issues in the villages. During the weekends (Sunday –Monday) volunteers can stay at the headquarters however many choose to travel, but must return on Monday evening in time for work on Tuesday.
Volunteers are picked up from Chiang Rai airport or their accommodation in Chiang Rai (if they arrive over the weekend) on the Monday.The orientation will then take place on the Tuesday and volunteer work will begin on the Wednesday. Orientation will be conducted by the local staff, and covers everything you need to know for your volunteering placement. Orientation will involve an introduction to the program set-up and your role as a volunteer. Because you will live on site, staff and other current volunteers will be at your side 24 hours to help you with any problems you may encounter. Volunteers on the one week programs will have a more compressed schedule to allow volunteers to particpate more in the first week.
First Day: On the first day of the volunteering placement, the volunteers will be introduced to the project staff by project coordinator .
Weekdays (Tuesday - Saturday): While our programs are flexible and can be fitted to your requirements, an example of what some volunteers might experience is outlined below.
- 8.00AM Breakfast
- 8.30AM Morning meeting for all staff and volunteers, followed by volunteer meeting setting out the roster for the day. Attendance is required for both meetings.
- 9.30AM-12.00PM Work on your designated task, or prepare for your next task. e.g. If you are teaching in the afternoon, you will spend the morning preparing the lesson with your co-volunteers.
- 12.00PM-1.00PM Lunch
- 1.00PM-5.00PM Work on your designated task, or prepare for your next task. e.g. If you are teaching the following morning, you will spend the afternoon preparing the lesson with your co-volunteers
- 5.00PM Dinner
Weekends: During the weekend, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Chiang Rai and Thailand. At least one of your weekends will be taken up with a 2-night homestay trek, sleeping at a Lahu and an Akha hilltribe village. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield and engage in tourist activities such as trekking, jungle safaris and visits to temples.
WHAT PAST VOLUNTEERS SAY ABOUT THIS PROGRAM
We get tremendous feedback from our volunteers on our Thailand program. Here are just a few small snippets of what volunteer's are saying about our programs.
"Everything is going great here in Thailand, I love it. Everyone is extremely nice and welcoming" - John Clements, 22, Americus, United States
"I think the organisation's goals and work are great, and absolutely everybody there was incredible" - Gary Schumaker, 38, San Francisco, United States
"Everything is going great here in Chiang Rai. It has taken me a little while to adjust to the dramatic lifestyle change but other than that I have been enjoying the many experiences on offer. As part of my volunteer work we have stayed in two different hilltribe villages already and tasted many different foods. The last week has been very busy and it feels as if i have been in Thailand for months. Thankyou for everything" - Kirstie Ward, 20, Western Australia
Thailand Volunteer Fees
|Volunteer Period||Program Fee US$|
|1 Month (4 weeks)||500|
|2 Months (8 weeks)||880|
|3 Months (12 weeks)||1320|
NB On the Thailand program, 1 month is equivalent to 4 weeks, 2 months is equivalent to 8 weeks and 3 months is equivalent to 12 weeks. The program starts on a Monday and your accommodation is paid for until the Sunday (one full week).
|To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
Please note: All programs attract a Registration Fee of $249 USD on top of the Program Fee.
What do my fees pay for?
Registration Fee (Refundable if you choose not to go*) – 24/7 support from IVHQ staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.
Program Fee – Pick up from the airport in Chiang Rai, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer placement period, In-country 24/7 volunteer support and In-country administration costs.
What additional costs will I have?
Visa, flights,travel insurance (mandatory), travel to Chiang Rai once in Thailand (we will show you the different options you have depending on your budget), vaccinations, souvenirs, trips or tours you do while in the country, transfer from Chiang Rai at the conclusion of the program, spending money (volunteers in Thailand generally find US$20 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses).