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Volunteer in Asia 2019

Volunteering in Asia: the best programs

Updated for 2019 volunteer trips

Volunteering in Asia is the ideal way to travel to and give back, without breaking the bank. You can volunteer in Asia any time of the year with International Volunteer HQ and our affordable Asia volunteer programs are available in 14 different destinations, including eight Southeast Asia volunteer programs. Volunteer programs are based in Bali, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

As a volunteer in Asia with IVHQ, your time abroad will be a worthwhile and rewarding experience for both you and the community that you will be immersed in. You will play a hands-on role in supporting community projects that are driven by the long-term goals of your host community. Volunteering in Asia also offers a unique insight into authentic cultural experiences, inspiring traditions and unmatched hospitality.

VOLUNTEER IN BALI - UBUD

White sand beaches, cascading rice paddies, lush scenery and a bounty of activities - what’s not to love about beautiful Bali!? If you want an action-packed volunteer experience, to volunteer in Asia short term during a semester break, as part of an Asia gap year or career break or to slow down and enjoy the pristine beaches - the IVHQ Bali - Ubud program will work a treat! If you are coming alone or bringing your entire family - Bali is a fit!

The project choices are plentiful - with Teaching, Construction and Renovation, Turtle Conservation, Environmental Education, Healthcare Education and Kindergarten placements on offer. The program is based in the cultural center of Ubud, except if you opt for the Turtle Conservation project, in which case you’ll be based on the island of Nusa Penida and have a stunning beach as your backyard.

Bali is one of IVHQ’s most popular programs and you’ll fast become friends with all other like-minded volunteers! In your spare time, you can easily island-hop over to the remarkable Gili Islands or knock off an unforgettable trip of a lifetime to the Komodo Islands!

Program Highlights:

  • The program is primarily based in Ubud in central Bali, with the Turtle Conservation project based on the island of Nusa Penida, which is a 45 minute boat ride east of the main island
  • Flexible program durations from 1 week to 12 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts every Monday
  • Affordable program fees from US$325 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to explore Ubud or wider Bali, check out rice paddies, yoga, surf beaches or cultural attractions. You can also read more about Bali travel and tours here.

Volunteering Asia: volunteering in Bali - Ubud with IVHQ

My time in Bali was truly an unforgettable experience! They have the most beautiful culture and are the sweetest, most welcoming people. The local team goes above and beyond to make you feel comfortable and like family. Madison Helms, IVHQ volunteer in Bali

VOLUNTEER IN BALI - LOVINA

If you want a truly unique Balinese experience and to get off the beaten track, then the Bali - Lovina program is for you. Located on the quieter northern coast, you’ll leave Lovina knowing you’ve experienced a rare insight into rural Balinese life and had an empowering impact on the people, community and environment you’ve come to know and love. Volunteers assist locals on the Kindergarten and Teaching projects or get stuck into the School and Community Renovation project, based around construction work.

The tranquil beachside setting and knowledgeable local team make it a volunteer program well suited to young travelers, as well as families or older adventurers who want to kick back and quickly become part of the local community.

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in Lovina, on the northern coast of Bali, around 2.5 hours from the main Ngurah Rai Airport
  • Flexible program durations from 1 week to 12 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Affordable program fees from US$350 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to explore Lovina or wider Bali, relax on the beach, go surfing, check out rice paddies, yoga or cultural attractions. You can also read more about Bali travel and tours here.

IVHQ Volunteer Programs In Asia 2019 Bali - Lovina

VOLUNTEER IN THAILAND

Want the real Thai cultural experience? Volunteers in Thailand experience nothing less. The program is based in the Hill Tribe region of Chiang Rai. This northernmost province of Thailand is renowned for its beautiful mountain scenery and historic sites.

Volunteers support Teaching English, Outdoor Work or Childcare projects within the community. Physical labor is the aim of the game on the Outdoor Work project, as volunteers work on a variety of different hands-on tasks including developing community gardens, making bricks and repairing roads throughout the Hill Tribe communities. Teaching and Childcare volunteers have the opportunity to develop the English language skills of local school children and adults.

During the weekends you’ll be spoilt for choice with activity options including the stunning ‘Wat Rong Khun’ aka the ‘White Temple’. The morning and night bazaar is a great place to get lost (and grab yourself a bargain!), while tackling a trek should top your bucket list with stunning scenery to explore in the mountainous terrain of northern Thailand!

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand
  • Flexible program durations from 1 week to 12 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Affordable program fees from US$320 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are from Sunday to Monday and provide ample opportunity to hike through the stunning mountainous hinterland around Chiang Rai. You can also read more about Thailand travel and tours here.

IVHQ Volunteer in Thailand

My homestay had a breathtakingly beautiful view, it was like heaven. This program works well and is well designed and supported for volunteers. Thanks for all the good work! Fangqin Chen, IVHQ volunteer in Thailand

VOLUNTEER IN THAILAND - HUA HIN

The city of Hua Hin offers an authentic experience for those wanting to volunteer in Thailand. Based just south of the capital Bangkok, Hua Hin is known as a favorite getaway spot for locals, and is less of a tourist location. However, it does still have plenty of sights and activities for travelers to enjoy, and by giving back on the Thailand - Hua Hin program, volunteers are able to enjoy a slice of genuine Thai life.

Volunteers can contribute to Teaching English and Hill Tribe Support projects, assisting locals on a range of community initiatives.

In your spare time, there are a range of authentic Thai markets to explore, beaches to laze on and water parks for those who want to be more active.

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in Hua Hin, around two hours south of the Thai capital, Bangkok
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 12 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts every Monday
  • Affordable program fees from US$280 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to spend time on the beach or checking out local markets. Hua Hin is known for its array of high quality golf courses, while the Phraya Nakhon Cave features a remarkable pagoda, spotlit by the sun. For more information, read all about Thailand - Hua Hin travel and tours here.

IVHQ Volunteer in Thailand - Hua Hin

VOLUNTEER IN CAMBODIA

Right in the heart and heat of Asia, you’ll find a country with some of the friendliest communities you’ve ever come across! Be prepared to be swept up by the Khmer charm while experiencing Cambodia.

Volunteers on the IVHQ Cambodia program can be placed in the intriguing cities of Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, or the provinces of Pursat and Kampong Speu. With so many project options to choose from it’s the perfect destination for everyone. You can opt for Teaching English, Special Needs Care, Childcare, Computer Support, Medical, Animal Care, Sustainable Community Development and Working with NGOs.

Cambodia is known as the ‘land of smiles’ and you won’t be short of a smile when you discover how far your dollar will go here. It’s a very affordable place to enjoy yourself in your spare time, whether you’re sampling the Khmer cuisine, exploring the local markets or tuk-tuking around the city center.

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in various locations in Cambodia, including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampot and Battambang
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 24 weeks. All projects have a minimum duration of two weeks apart from Sustainable Community Development, which has a minimum of one week
  • The program is available year-round and starts on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Affordable program fees from US$360 for two weeks. The Sustainable Community Development project is available from $375 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to explore local towns and cities or other areas of Cambodia including Angkor Wat temples, National Parks or beautiful beaches in the southern regions. You can also read more about Cambodia travel and tours here.

Volunteer in Cambodia with IVHQ

My five weeks in Cambodia were the best weeks of my life. The other volunteers became my family while I was there. The kids I worked with had the biggest hearts and changed my life more than I ever expected. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Isabelle Pace, IVHQ volunteer in Cambodia

VOLUNTEER IN CHINA

IVHQers are based in the ancient Chinese city of Xi’an - one of the four great ancient capital cities (along with Rome, Athens and Cairo). That alone is enough reason to visit! With a history of over 3,100 years, there is no shortage of things to see and do. Not to mention the city is home to the world famous Terracotta Warriors. It’s definitely a must visit!

Volunteers on the IVHQ China program can work on the Teaching English, Summer Outreach Teaching or Special Needs Care projects. China is a vast country so once you’ve traversed the sights of Xi’an there is plenty to see further afield. Also have we mentioned dumplings and noodles? The cuisine is mouth watering and something we are sure you’ll happily overindulge in!

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in Xi’an in inland China
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 24 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Affordable program fees from US$310 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to explore the Terracotta Warriors in their natural home, nearby attractions in Xi’an or further afield in Shanghai, Beijing or the Great Wall of China. You can also read more about China travel and tours here.

Become a volunteer in China with IVHQ

My volunteer experience in China was the best eight weeks of my life. I completely fell in love with the kids at our Special Needs Centre in Xi’an (Jing Jie Niao). With only a small group of eight children most of the time, I really had the opportunity to understand each of the kids and their likes and dislikes - which formulated a bond I can’t put into words! Alicia Crossley, IVHQ volunteer in China

VOLUNTEER IN INDIA - KERALA

The latest program in IVHQ’s offerings in India, the IVHQ India - Kerala program has six diverse volunteer projects to choose from. Based in a popular tourist spot, the Kerala region is famous for small boutiques, colonial buildings, excellent regional cuisine and its unique Chinese fishing nets! Volunteers live in the Indian port city of Kochi, found on the south-west coast of India.

Volunteers are kept busy contributing to meaningful volunteer projects including Teaching, Dentistry, Medical, Women’s Education, Specials Needs Care and Kindergarten projects. Kochi boasts plenty of activities for volunteers to fill an IVHQ weekend including a visit to the hillside tea region of Munnar, a cruise on the backwaters or stay in surf and yoga retreats along the coast.

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in the city of Kochi on the south-west coast of India in the state of Kerala
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 8 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts every Monday
  • Affordable program fees from US$360 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to explore the many stunning beaches around India’s coastline, check out the beautiful Munnar Tea Plantations or immerse yourself in the Indian culture

Volunteer in India - Kerala with IVHQ

VOLUNTEER IN INDIA - DELHI

India has captured the heart of many an explorer. It has a depth of history, culture, architecture and delicious food to boot! The IVHQ India - Delhi program has four projects: you can help children without access to education on the Slum Teaching project, you can give back in the classroom on the Teaching English project or provide assistance to local staff at one of our Childcare placements. If you’re a university student seeking medical or nursing experience, you can volunteer on our Health project. While the IVHQ India - Delhi program is located in Delhi, the majority of placements are located in the nearby city of Faridabad.

An optional orientation week gives first-time travelers to India the chance to learn more about the Indian culture, take language lessons, watch a Bollywood movie in a local theater and visit the ever-famous Taj Mahal! Delhi is an extensive city where something is always happening. Once you are in India you can live on the cheap, meaning you can make your hard-earned money go further! Your weekends in India will never be dull with trips to Rajasthan, trekking journeys and visits to nearby temples and waterfalls all popular with fellow volunteers.

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in Delhi, India’s largest northern city
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 24 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Affordable program fees from US$250 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support. It also enables you to get a discount on some local tours and activities.
  • Weekends are free to immerse yourself in the Indian culture. As one of the biggest cities in India, Delhi has plenty to offer. India’s must-see tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal, is around four hours away by car. You can also read more about India - Delhi travel and tours here.

Volunteer in India - Delhi with IVHQ

I made so many like-minded friends that I’m sure will last a lifetime and my experience in my placement in a slum school in outer Delhi I cannot even begin to describe; it was profound and undeniably changed my outlook on life. Isabella Maher, IVHQ volunteer in India

VOLUNTEER IN LAOS

While neighboring countries Thailand and Vietnam have long been on the travel radar, Laos is on the up! The IVHQ Laos program is based in Honkau Village just outside of the capital city, Vientiane. The comprehensive five-day volunteer orientation immerses you in the local culture and customs, plus it’s a great way to meet fellow volunteers and potential travel buddies!

During your time in Laos, you can volunteer on Teaching English, Childcare and Construction and Renovation projects. If you’re short on time you can just dip your feet and get a small taste of volunteering in Laos on a special one week program. Laos is a brilliant place to set off from after you volunteer so you get more travel under your belt and tick off places like Myanmar and Cambodia!

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in Honkau Village just outside of the capital city Vientiane
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 12 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts every Monday
  • Affordable program fees from US$260 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to explore Vientiane and the stunning scenery of wider Laos. Outdoor activities abound with biking, kayaking, climbing, caving, trekking and rafting all nearby. You can also read more about Laos travel and tours here.

IVHQ volunteering in Laos

The IVHQ volunteer program and Laos itself made the trip so much more than just another trip. To be able to give back to the world with amazing volunteers/friends was just an unforgettable journey and an extraordinary experience. Byrant Cheng, IVHQ volunteer in Laos

VOLUNTEER IN NEPAL

Nepal has it all - and with a peaceful outlook. Volunteers are placed in four main areas within Nepal. You can barrel through the busy streets of Kathmandu, experience life on the fertile plains of Chitwan, breathe in the crisp mountain air in Chitlang or encounter the hustle of the popular tourist destination of Pokhara.

The IVHQ Nepal program has nine different volunteer abroad projects including Teaching English, Childcare, NGO Support, Sustainable Agriculture, Women’s Education, Special Needs Care, Construction and Renovation and Medical Elective.

Obviously, you’ll also have to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails. You don’t have to be fit enough to climb Mt Everest - you can find trekking trips to cater for all fitness levels, time spans and budgets. If you’re short on time you can also experience a taste of volunteering on a special one-week program.

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in Kathmandu, Chitwan, Pokhara and Chitlang
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 12 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Affordable program fees from US$250 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to relax around your local town, but most volunteers like to go trekking in the mountains. There’s any number of stunning walks on your doorstep regardless of where in Nepal you are. You can also read more about Nepal travel and tours here.

IVHQ Volunteer in Nepal

I believe that our interactions with the children were a testament to the value of the project. I feel like I have really grown after volunteering, especially since I was traveling alone for the first time in my life. Celeste Tan, IVHQ Volunteer in Nepal

VOLUNTEER IN THE PHILIPPINES

Want a volunteer destination where you have more than 7,000 islands at your doorstep? The Philippines is a hidden gem waiting to be explored! When volunteering in the Philippines with IVHQ, you will be based in the Aborlan District on the island of Palawan - considered by many to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

Volunteers can contribute on Kindergarten, Teaching, Construction and Renovation or Environmental projects.

If you are wanting to get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in a unique culture then the Philippines project is perfect for you! On the island of Palawan, you can treat yourself to swimming, snorkeling, diving or chill under a waterfall - and that is just on one island! Imagine the wonders waiting for you, and you can do it without needing to spend up large! Budget airlines make island-hopping within the Philippines, or to nearby countries, cheap and easy.

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based on the island of Palawan, an hour’s flight from the capital, Manila
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 24 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts every Monday
  • Affordable program fees from US$260 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to relax around the island, which is surrounded by beaches and water activities. There are also many tours and excursions around nearby islands available. You can also read more about Philippines travel and tours here.

IVHQ Volunteer in the Philippines

This experience really opened my eyes and my heart, made me appreciate and tolerate different people, cultures, and way of living. I will definitely come back to the Philippines one day! Greta Puodziunaite, IVHQ Volunteer in Philippines

VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka is the ultimate volunteer destination. With an abundance of wildlife, national parks, beaches, historical sites and tourism activities there is always something to keep you busy. The people are friendly, traveling around is easy, the food is tasty and it’s incredibly affordable, making it an all-round destination and great for solo travelers. You’ll quickly feel right at home and like you never want to leave.

Volunteers on the IVHQ Sri Lanka program are either located in the sacred city of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Dambana or in the Wasgamuwa National Park. Volunteers can choose from Teaching, Special Needs Care, Rural Community Development, Childcare, Medical, Elderly Care, Temple Renovation, Cultural Immersion and Wild Elephant Conservation.

With an affordable and accessible rail network, weekend trips are easily arranged and volunteers may choose to participate in a mountain hike, go whale watching or explore a local tea plantation.

Program Highlights:

  • The program is primarily based in Kandy. Projects are based in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Dambana or Wasgamuwa, which are all around three hours drive away
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 12 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts every Monday
  • Affordable program fees from US$315 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to embrace the rugged landscapes on treks or walks, explore the city in Kandy or check out some of the unique wildlife. You can also read more about Sri Lanka travel and tours here.

Volunteer in Sri Lanka with IVHQ

Every experience in life helps you develop as a person, and this is no exception! I think that traveling, in general, widens a person’s perspective and worldview, but volunteering while traveling does so much more! It puts into perspective what is really important in this world, and helps ground you as a person. Renne Ashton, IVHQ Volunteer in Sri Lanka

VOLUNTEER IN VIETNAM - HO CHI MINH

Ancient pagodas and towering skyscrapers, ramshackle markets and urban malls - Ho Chi Minh is a captivating city of contrasts. As an IVHQ volunteer in Vietnam, you will have the chance to experience the culture, history, incredible food and characteristic scenery of Vietnam. With all that and the chance to contribute to local communities, you’ll be sure to make marvelous memories!

Enthusiasm and a caring nature will be well rewarded on the Teaching English, Kindergarten, Special Needs, Medical or Food Outreach projects. You’ll be accommodated in a dormitory with fellow volunteers so there are plenty of opportunities to make lasting friendships and find travel buddies.

This is the ideal destination for volunteers looking to join a program with a good mix of work and play. From a visit to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a Mekong Delta boat ride, a weekend to the world-renowned beaches on Phu Quoc island, it’s a country that has a lot to offer volunteers!

Program Highlights:

  • The program is based in Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh
  • Flexible program durations from 1 to 24 weeks
  • The program is available year-round and starts every Monday
  • Affordable program fees from US$275 for one week
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Weekends are free to enjoy the unique local cuisine, markets and culture, or go further afield to the Mekong Delta, trekking or temple tours. You can also read more about Vietnam travel and tours here.

Volunteer in Vietnam with IVHQ

I absolutely loved that I was able to go to all the volunteer areas on offer. IVHQ weekends were amazing! And the local staff were the best!! Shelley Hume, IVHQ Volunteer in Vietnam

Still stuck on where to volunteer abroad in Asia? Take the Where Should You Volunteer In Asia? quiz for some inspiration!

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