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Volunteer in Thailand with International Volunteer HQ! IVHQ has a range of volunteer abroad projects available in the Chiang Rai province, including Teaching English and Outdoor Work.
Thai Baht (THB)
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 characterized 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.
About the Thailand program
LOCATION OF THAILAND VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM
The IVHQ Thailand volunteer program is based in Chiang Rai, the northernmost province of Thailand, which is renowned for its beautiful mountain scenery and historic sites. This is where orientation and general administration is carried out by our partner organization. Volunteer placements are located near the volunteer headquarters and in the hills with local hill tribes.
START AND DURATION OF THAILAND VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Volunteer programs start on the first and third Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. The Teaching English volunteer project has a minimum duration of 2 weeks.
THAILAND VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a national criminal background check to IVHQ's local team on arrival in Thailand.
FREE INTERACTIVE VOLUNTEER TRAINING
All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.
HOW MANY OTHER VOLUNTEERS WILL THERE BE?
Between 15 and 30 volunteers start on our volunteer programs in Thailand each month. What does this mean for you? More people to socialize with and travel with, more people to meet from different cultures, more people to volunteer with, more projects to work on, more staff support, better infrastructure for volunteers and lower fees!
Thailand volunteer reviews
Visit our Volunteer Abroad Reviews page to read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Thailand.
"I love projects that allow you to get your hands dirty whilst also allowing you to see tangible results for your efforts so it was great to work on reinforcing the road at the villiage as well as clear the foundation for the church in the village. I really enjoyed the genuine look of approval and gratitude we got from the village chief as we left the village. Such a humbling experience to give so little, and yet receive so much gratitude - only wishing we could do more." - Jacob Donatelle (Outdoor Work Volunteer in Thailand)
Thailand volunteer project descriptions
In northern areas of Thailand, local people have very limited access to formal education and there is a real need for volunteers to assist in teaching, not only young children, but also adults from surrounding hill tribes and local villages. Volunteers are needed on this project throughout the year and although local schools are closed for holidays from March to May and during October, our local staff run school camps and other activities for local hill tribe children. Volunteers can work alongside other volunteers and local teachers, or occassionally teach classes individually. Each volunteer is required to complete a lesson plan every morning or afternoon, prior to teaching a class. Please note, this project also involves childcare work and teaching monks, local people and staff. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ's local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training. Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
Volunteers who enjoy physical labour and the sense of achievement felt after completing a job will be well suited to our Outdoor Work project in Thailand. Previous volunteers on this project have completed a variety of jobs, including;
- Building water tanks
- Extending water pipe systems
- Building check dams
- Building school classrooms
- Painting school classrooms
- Developing an agricultural project
- Assisting with the maintenance of a vegetable garden
- Working on developing a plantation
- Repairing roads
- Repairing the homes of elderly villagers
- Building new homes or toilets for elderly villagers
- Building a new staff office
- Making bricks
- Washing dogs
Some work is scheduled and is expected to be carried out on a regular basis and other jobs will be assigned to volunteers as they arise. It is important to note that there are three distinct seasons in Thailand (hot, rainy, cold) and sometimes outdoor work is not possible. If this is the case, volunteers can get involved in related work that can be carried out protected from the elements, such as researching methods of agricultural production, which can be applied within the local community, and presenting planned projects to villagers.
VOLUNTEER ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
Volunteers are accommodated on-site at our partner organization’s headquarters in Chiang Rai. Volunteers live in a communal environment with other staff and volunteers in separate male and female lodgings. The accommodation is well integrated into surrounding the environment, as the buildings are made of wood and soil. The dormitories are cool in summer and warm in winter and they are also environmentally friendly with a design that minimizes tree logging. Mattresses are provided in the form of traditional Thai mattresses, which are much thinner than Western style. While bedding is provided, volunteers are required to also bring their own sleeping bag for their homestay experience and weekends away. Windows and doors are fitted with mosquito screens. The living conditions are basic and volunteers should be prepared to have cold running water and bucket showers. Generally in the second week, all Outdoor Work volunteers are taken on a homestay experience, working on a construction (or similar) project and living with a local family. Teaching English volunteers usually have a non-working homestay experience 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. During the weekends (Sunday to Monday), volunteers can stay at the headquarters, however many volunteers choose to travel and return on Monday evening in time for work on Tuesday.
Traditional Thai cuisine is based on appealing to the four fundamental taste senses with a balance of the following flavours: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter. Common ingredients in Thai cooking include fish sauce, shrimp paste, chilli paste, coconut milk and lime juice. Staple foods include rice, rice noodles, vegetables and herbs. Meals served at the volunteer accommodation during the weekdays are typically Thai, however Western style food is also served. During the weekends, food is not provided and volunteers purchase food at local shops and cook for themselves, or eat out 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.
Volunteers are picked up from the airport in Chiang Rai on the Monday of their program start date and spend the day resting, meeting other volunteers and staff. Volunteers also take part in a Thai cooking lesson and get involved in some light volunteer work, if they are up for the challenge. Orientation is taken by our Thailand 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 – Introduction to Thailand, Thai Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Thailand, 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 socializing.
First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays: A typical volunteer day would be as follows:
8.00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
8.30 AM Morning meeting for all volunteers.
9.00 AM - 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.
5.00 PM Work at the placement ends. 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. One volunteer is assigned to be the Entertainment Officer, so there is always plenty to do in the evenings.
As the volunteer working week runs from Tuesday to Saturday, Sunday to Monday is considered the weekend for volunteers on the IVHQ Thailand volunteer 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. Volunteers can book weekend treks through our partner organisation once in country. If volunteers wish to volunteer over the weekends, they can join local staff to visit local hill tribes, or learn weaving and Thai massage from local people.
Please note, volunteers working on the Teaching English project will work exclusively on this project. Volunteers on the Outdoor Work project will work with the hill tribes on the second and fourth weeks.
Thailand Volunteer Fees:
|Volunteer period||Program fee US$|
What do my fees pay for?
Registration Fee (refundable if you choose not to go*) – ongoing support from IVHQ staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, IVHQ Fund, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.
Program Fee – airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.
What additional costs will I have?
Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), criminal background check, vaccinations, travel to Chiang Rai once in Thailand (we will show you the different options you have depending on your budget), transfer from Chiang Rai at conclusion of program, in-country trips and tours, souvenirs, spending money (volunteers in Thailand generally find US$20 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses).
* - Terms and conditions do apply.