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Outdoor Work Volunteer Project in Thailand - Chiang Rai

Outdoor Work Volunteer Project in Thailand - Chiang Rai

Improve infrastructure for the local community
Start dates
Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
Choose from 2-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Huts in communal volunteer village
Program fees
From AU$830 for 2 weeks
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Fit and active volunteers who like physical work and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty doing a variety of different tasks.

Project details

Love Outdoor Work and want to volunteer in Thailand - Chiang Rai? International Volunteer HQ’s Outdoor Work project empowers volunteers to assist with a variety of activities including building and construction work, creating or maintaining rice terraces in disadvantaged areas, or helping with relief efforts in the wake of storms or other disasters. Volunteers gain experience in a wide range of tasks and get to spend their time outdoors, using their hands to contribute to making a tangible, meaningful difference for the local community.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

A lack of resources in communities outside the main centres means vital improvements and maintenance to local infrastructure are sometimes slow to get done. Volunteers can help speed this process up by providing extra help wherever it is needed.

As an Outdoor Work volunteer you’ll help with building and construction-related projects around Chiang Rai and get the chance to contribute in hill tribe communities every other week. The exact nature of your work will depend on what’s been prioritized in Thailand at the time of your trip, but generally involves either creating and maintaining terraced rice fields for people in low-income areas, assisting on maintenance projects in the community or helping with relief and clean-up efforts after storms or other crises (i.e. fire season).

Generally, in the second week of a volunteer program, all Outdoor Work volunteers are taken on a homestay experience, working on a construction (or similar) project and living within the local community.

Previous volunteers have been able to make tangible contributions as laborers, painters and general assistants on a range of projects, including:

  • Building bathrooms for elderly and disabled individuals, as well as for special needs students within a local school
  • Clearing farmland and gardens
  • Creating pathways between farmland and villages
  • Planting banana trees
  • Planting and harvesting rice
  • Building water tanks
  • Building drainage systems
  • Classroom building and renovations
  • Private home repairs
  • Assist the disaster team during fire season

Some work is regularly scheduled and other jobs will be assigned to volunteers as they arise. It is important to note that Thailand has hot, rainy, and cold seasons and sometimes outdoor work is not possible. In these times, you’ll help with related work that can be carried out under cover, such as planning and researching future projects.

Although the Outdoor Work project in Thailand is a very rewarding project, it does require a very large amount of physical work. As such, volunteers do need to have a medium level of fitness to take part.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

As job losses escalate as a result of Covid-19, it is estimated that nearly half of the global workforce is at risk of losing their livelihoods. We must improve access to jobs, decent work conditions and community services in order to achieve peace, sustainable economic growth and a better quality of life for all.

Why do Outdoor Volunteer Work volunteering in Chiang Rai with IVHQ?

When you volunteer to do Outdoor Work in Chiang Rai you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Building, maintaining and upgrading community infrastructure
  • Contributing to local initiatives
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining new skills and experience
  • Immersing yourself in Thai culture
  • Discovering Thailand’s hill tribes

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteer must have a medium level of fitness
  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Dan Mierendorf
07 Feb 2024

I was looking to step out of my comfort zone and volunteer in a country that I have never been to before, this definitely did that for me. It was safe and really a wonderful experience.

Conner Clark
06 Jul 2023

Amazing conversation information and support whenever needed from the local team. Working directly with locals and working in and around their villages helped to create an immediate sense of satisfaction and appreciation. Accommodation was great and everything I could have needed. Any concerns or questions I had were resolved or answered quickly. The meals were truly a highlight - every meal was deliciously authentic and ridiculously good. There was certainly no shortage of food for myself or other volunteers.

There were too many great examples to give only one favourite moment. The staff and local volunteers I worked alongside were amazing people who made me feel comfortable, safe and had a wealth of knowledge. So the people were my favourite highlight.

Margarita Velasco
27 Jun 2023

The local team and IVHQ are very accommodating and helpful in all aspects the program. They explain things very well, such as how the job is to be done and what's it's purpose and the benefits local community will get. They support you with everything you need as a volunteer and they make sure the safety and security, especially for me as a solo volunteer. I feel safe and secure during my volunteering.

It was the great feeling when you help people especially those who are in need. It feels great to share and give back even if you don't have much for yourself, but the small thing you do for other people gives you this feeling of fulfillment. The small thing you can do for others has a big impact to them and they would be more than glad to receive it - that feeling when you give back to people is incomparable.

Alice Wright
03 Apr 2023

Absolute amazing support from IVHQ while deciding my sabbatical.

When I was first accepted I was offering my time - I had no skills or experience but I honestly wanted something different, and I got it. I wrote a thread on Facebook to my lovely friends and loving family very often commenting on how lucky we are in NZ, this beautiful experience has made me grateful for what I have returned to. I loved every minute and hour of my journey.

Home stays was the absolute moment for me and I was blessed to be able to have 3 wonderful great experience. Will always be in my heart.

I can only say, this has changed my life for the good and forever. We work for a comfortable life yes, but the beautiful Thai people work to live, something I have never thought about.

For those still hesitant about volunteering abroad, I say give it a go! I am 61 and experienced my journey with a 69 and almost 72 year old. Prior to going I suffered from a knee injury, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid issues but knowing this I felt the drive and passion to do something different in my life, never wanted for anything but gave everything I had to give.

Nanette Fairley
22 Feb 2023

My Program Manager did a great job answering my questions. I had quite a few as was taking my two younger nephews with me for this volunteer assignment. Appreciated the detail on the website and in IVHQ's responses.

The local team was fabulous ensuring we both settled, saw something of the area and also were fed and practical needs taken care of. I was very grateful to the local team for checking in and briefing us ongoing. Made the placement easy to settle in. Couldn't have asked for better support. Our shift boss, cultural guide, homestay host and just an overall good guy, was a pleasure to work with. Encouraging and positive - we could not have done better.

Overall, I felt we did add some value in the community we worked in.

IVHQ have partnered with some awesome NGO's around the world and their screening process can be trusted. I will be doing another IVHQ volunteer assignment in another part of the the world soon!

Anwar Husain
10 Aug 2022

I loved building the rice farm. It was days of hard work in the hot sun but very fulfilling to know that it would provide ongoing food for a family in the future. Great experience with IVHQ in Thailand. Very well organized. It was life-changing!


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

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Volunteer Abroad in Thailand, Chiang Rai with IVHQ


Chiang Rai is a city in the northernmost province of Thailand renowned for its beautiful mountain scenery, historic sites and authentic Thai atmosphere. It’s a great spot for those wanting to get off the beaten path and experience Thailand in a more relaxed manner than you might do in the bustling capital city of Bangkok or the popular islands of the south.

While Thailand is considered a reasonably well-developed country with low rates of extreme poverty and unemployment, there is an enormous socio-economic disparity between the wealthy and the rest of the population. Volunteers provide valuable assistance with improving conditions for low-income communities and contribute to local initiatives that help Thailand continue to develop and reduce inequalities. Volunteer placements are located near the volunteer headquarters in Chiang Rai and in the hills with local hill tribes.

Arrival and orientation

The Thailand volunteer program begins on the first and third Monday of each month, and you need to arrive in Chiang Rai before 5pm on Monday.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation a short drive from Chiang Rai. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night of your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Thailand prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a meeting point in Chiang Rai at 11am on the Monday morning.

On Monday, you’ll spend the day resting, meeting other volunteers and the local team. Orientation is hosted by our local team at the office in Chiang Rai. Orientation begins on the Tuesday morning after your chosen start date and runs for the entire day. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Thailand – an introduction to Thailand, Thai customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Thailand, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays: ​A volunteer day is subject to change depending on your particular project and placement and the time of year that you are volunteering. ​A typical daily schedule​ might be as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation
8:30 AM Morning meeting for all volunteers
9:00 - 11:30 AM Volunteer work begins. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. Lunch breaks vary in time depending on the working schedule, but all volunteers get an hour to eat and relax
1:00 PM Volunteer work continues
5:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer accommodation
6:00 PM Volunteers have free time to spend as they wish; however, many volunteers use this time to plan lessons or do extra work for their projects

Weekends: As the working week runs from Tuesday to Saturday, Sunday​ ​and Monday are considered the weekend for volunteers on the​ ​Thailand program. During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to​ ​explore other parts of Chiang Rai and Thailand.

In Chiang Rai alone you can visit Wat Rong Khun, the breathtakingly ornate White Temple; see Wat Phra Kaew, the original home of the famous Emerald Buddha which now resides in Bangkok; or do some shopping and sample the fabulous food at the daily Night Bazaar or at the Walking Street Market during the weekend where a whole street closes to traffic to accommodate stalls and stands. It’s also a great place to go cycling, take a hike or learn about the region’s long and rich history and diverse culture. Other parts of Thailand offer spectacular scenery and wildlife, phenomenal beaches and an amazing selection of adventure and relaxation activities.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers are accommodated on-site at our local team’s headquarters in Chiang Rai. Volunteers live in a communal environment with other staff and volunteers in separate male and female lodgings. The living conditions are basic and volunteers should be prepared to have cold running water and bucket showers. Windows and doors are fitted with mosquito screens; however, there is no control over nature coming inside due to the location of the accommodation.

Mattresses are provided in the form of traditional Thai mattresses which are usually placed on the floor. These are much thinner than Western style mattresses and do take a bit of getting used to. You may find that you will need a sleeping bag or duvet (you can always purchase these in country) to provide some cushioning if you find them uncomfortable. Basic bedding is provided in the form of a sheet and pillow. Volunteers are required to also bring their own sleeping bag for their homestay experience and weekends away. These can be purchased once you arrive in Thailand or there are some available to hire from the foundation (subject to availability).

Generally, in the second week of a volunteer program, all Outdoor Work volunteers are taken on a homestay experience, living within the local community. This is subject to change, depending on circumstances. Living conditions in the villages are more basic and squat toilets and cold bucket showers are the norm. During the weekends (Sunday to Monday), volunteers can stay at the local team’s headquarters, however, many volunteers choose to travel and return on Monday evening in time for work on Tuesday.


Traditional Thai cuisine is designed to appeal to the four fundamental taste senses with a balance of sour, sweet, salty, and bitter flavors. Common ingredients in Thai cooking include fish sauce, shrimp paste, chili paste, coconut milk, and lime juice. Staple foods include rice, rice noodles, vegetables, and herbs. Food served at the volunteer accommodation during the weekdays are typically hill tribe and Thai style meals; however, Western style food is also served occasionally.

During the weekends, food is not provided and volunteers purchase food at local shops and cook for themselves, or eat in town. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately AU$520) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
2 weeks $525 Equivalent to $38/day
3 weeks $625 Equivalent to $30/day
4 weeks $755 Equivalent to $27/day
5 weeks $875 Equivalent to $25/day
6 weeks $985 Equivalent to $23/day
8 weeks $1,215 Equivalent to $22/day
10 weeks $1,475 Equivalent to $21/day
12 weeks $1,735 Equivalent to $21/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$520) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Thailand generally find US$30-50 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
  • Some meals - please see the 'Meals' section of the project page to understand what meals are included
  • Airport pick-up
  • Return to the airport or bus terminal when your program finishes, if you are departing between 1PM and 4PM
  • Return to the bus terminal when your program finishes, if you are departing after 4PM
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Some meals - please see the 'Meals' section of the project page to understand what meals are excluded
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes, if you are departing prior to 1PM
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Check what's required to visit Thailand

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Bangkok
Population 69 million
Languages Thai
Currency Thai Baht (THB)
Time zone UTC+07:00

Weather and climate: The climate in Thailand varies between the north and south regions, however, the temperature is relatively hot year-round throughout the country. The southern coastal region is characterised by a monsoon climate, which brings heavy rainfall from April to October in the South West and from September to December in the South East. In central and northern inland parts of Thailand, the climate is tropical with the rainy season lasting from May to November, bringing hot and humid weather. During the dry season, temperatures are cool from November to February and are hot from March to May. In Chiang Rai, the hottest average temperature is 36°C (96.8°F) in April and the coolest average temperature is 15°C (59°F) in December. Please see Weather Spark for more details on the climate and weather forecast.

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