Volunteer Opportunities in Thailand
Are you searching for a meaningful and safe way to travel abroad? Do you have a passion for helping others? Volunteer in Thailand and serve those in need while you experience the ancient culture of this beautiful land.
Thailand is known as “the land of smiles,” due its welcoming people, and they need your help! Bustling cities, world-class shopping in Bangkok, and lovely beaches are all waiting for you when you visit Thailand. Home to some of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in the world, the country also features exquisite food, acclaimed night life, and easy and affordable travel within its borders.
Despite its beauty and attraction as a tourist destination, the people of Thailand are struggling. Slowing economic growth and inequality between urban and rural areas contributes to the problem of poverty. People in the northeastern region are less educated and therefore more impoverished than the rest of the country.
Today, Thailand needs volunteers more than ever.
You will experience the exotic luster of the country and warm hospitality of its people, while making a profound difference in the lives of those who struggle.
Do you want to create a lifetime of memories while helping those less fortunate? Request information about volunteering in Thailand and choose a program that speaks to you!
Volunteer Opportunities in Thailand: Available Projects
In Thailand, our volunteer programs take place in Surin (North East Thailand, 6-hour drive from Bangkok) and Ayutthaya (a city near Bangkok)
No matter your interests or background, one of IFRE’s large variety of volunteer projects, tours and adventure programs will be just what you’re looking for. Keep reading to explore our exciting and meaningful volunteer and travel opportunities.
Thailand is a very popular travel destination due to its magnificent beaches, leafy boulevards and stunning monuments. However, it is also infamous for its poverty-stricken towns and communities with unforgiving conditions of everyday life. While the rich can afford all of the modern-day luxuries, the poor are struggling to take care of their children and provide basic care for them. As a result, there is a high demand for volunteers in many childcare projects.
As a childcare volunteer in Thailand with IFRE, you will spend your days helping to look after children from disadvantaged backgrounds in a local child care center, allowing their parents to go to work knowing their children are well cared for. You will assist local staff in taking care of children by helping them learn and develop various skills.
With the booming tourism industry English is now a very important part of education in Thailand. Unfortunately, good English education in private English schools is expensive and out of reach for children of low-income families.
To fill this gap, many Buddhist monasteries in Thailand run schools to teach children of low-income families. When you join this program, you will be teaching English in local schools run by Buddhist monasteries. As a volunteer, you will inspire disadvantaged Thai children to improve their English skills and bring about positive change in their lives as well as gain valuable teaching experience.
In addition to the projects listed above, IFRE offers group programs for high school and college students, alternative spring breaks, family volunteering, and many other unique programs. Contact us for further information.
Volunteer Opportunities in Thailand: Program Dates
IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year. Please note that our programs in Surin have set start dates on specific Mondays, so you need to be sure that you can arrive prior to the set start date.
Ayutthaya Start Dates
Ayutthaya Volunteer Programs start every Monday of each month.
Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.
We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured, we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor ex
For Surin,The program fee needs to be paid in GBP to directly to the country coordinator before the project start date.
Volunteer Program Fee
Program Fees Cover:
- Accommodation (host family)
- Food (local food 3 times a day)
- Program Orientation
- In-country support
- Personalized project
- Pre-departure information
- Certificate of completion
- Fundraising ideas and letters
- Discount for returning volunteers
Program Fees Exclude:
- Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
- Daily transportation
- Airport return transfer
The Thailand volunteer experience program fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day
Volunteer Opportunities in Thailand: Room/Food/Supervision
Planning a volunteer trip all on your own would be a monumental task, and without having been there ahead of time, you wouldn’t know for certain about the safety, security, and validity of all the choices you were making. Teaming up with IFRE, you have nothing to worry about at all. We have nearly 15 years of experience and trusted local partners we work with to ensure everything about your volunteer trip goes smoothly.
When you join volunteer work in Thailand, IFRE makes sure you will have comfortable, clean, and safe housing, and supervision and support from a dedicated and experienced in-country staff.
In Surin and Ayutthaya, volunteers live in volunteer houses. Our volunteer houses are safe, clean, sparsely furnished homes that will meet all your needs. The houses have multiple shared rooms, electricity, electric fans, comfortable beds, western style toilets and all basic facilities needed for comfortable living. We try to create a feeling of “home away from home” for our volunteers and it’s a perfect way to live safely and comfortably while making many new friends and experiences.
Food is ONLY included in Ayutthaya (3 local Thai meals a day) and is NOT included in Surin. Volunteers in Surin can either cook their own food in the kitchen or eat out during their volunteering project in Thailand. Local food is of high quality, inexpensive, easily available and a great way for volunteers to engage with the local culture.
Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either through face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. IFRE's offices in Thailand and our in-country coordinator serve as points of contact for our volunteers. You can contact us anytime when you feel you want to discuss something.
We know exploring Thailand is a major motivating factor in your volunteering abroad trip, so we’ve designed our programs to give you plenty of time to do just that. You’ll have every evening and weekend free!
Your free time will give you the incredible opportunity to explore the nuances of Thai culture at your own pace. While IFRE does not arrange activities during this time off, our local staff members and coordinators can provide priceless assistance in making appropriate arrangements for travel in Thailand.
There is a Tourist Office in Ayutthaya, which offers information and recommendations. You can take excursions to major tourist areas, such as Bangkok, while volunteering in Thailand.
In Ayutthaya city you will find old-world charm and an authentic “Thai” experience. You can see the Grand Palace, many temples and monasteries. This area grants easy access to Bangkok from the nearby local bus (tuk tuk) station, which is only 2 km away and is easily accessible by walking.
This tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) runs to many areas. Useful amenities within 5 km of the IFRE home base are Internet cafes, restaurants and supermarkets. The local police station is also located within approximately 5 kilometres from the IFRE home base.
The area of Surin is known for elephants, silk and ruins of the Khmer empire. Silk weaving is a traditional skill of the province, while several Khmer monuments provide the historical attractions.
Volunteers in Thailand can visit Ban Ta Klang, Phraya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Chang Wang, Prasat Muang Thi, Ban Khao Sinarin, Ban Buthum, Prasat Sikhoraphum , Phanom Swai Park, Prasat Hin Ban Pluang, and Prasat Phumipone while volunteering in Surin. Our IFRE local coordinators/staff are available to give you free advice, travel tips and help to book your travel.
Sangkhlaburi is a sleepy town of 15,000 people on the Burmese border, and another unique destination. There are people of many different ethnic backgrounds in Sangkhlabur, such as the Karen, the Mon, Thais, Chinese, Lao and even Arakanese and Bangladeshis. This ethnic diversity makes Sangkhlaburi district unique in Thailand. You will love to wander through the local markets, take a ride to Three Pagodas Pass or make a trek to remote villages outside the district town
Sanglkhlaburi is also known for its 400m long wooden bridge that spans across the Vajiralongkorn Lake to connect the Mon village "Wang Kha" with the Thai and Karen parts of the town. Other attractions volunteers in Thailand will enjoy includes the lake, the surrounding pristine natural areas, and the submerged temples.
Safety and In-country Support
Your safety is IFRE’s number one priority at all times, and you can have peace of mind knowing we will do everything possible to ensure you have a safe and secure experience volunteering in Thailand. We offer pre-trip support, reliable and comprehensive travel insurance, airport pick-up, and availability guidance and support by an experienced in-country staff that is right there on the ground to help you every step of the way.
As soon as you arrive in Thailand, you will have the support of an experienced team of in-country field staff. The team is comprised of mature, educated, socially respected individuals who are dedicated humanitarians highly experienced in working with international volunteers.
Your main point of contact will be your in-country coordinator. They will select your Thailand volunteering project placement, make all the arrangements for your airport transfer, accommodations, and food, give you an orientation which covers culture, safety, and your service work, introduce you to your host family and project staff, and make periodic visits and calls to check up on your progress. You can reach out to the coordinator at any time with any questions, issues, or to ask for advice and they will be happy to assist you.
Volunteer Opportunities in Thailand: FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions
Deciding to leave your home country and travel abroad to make the world a better place is a big deal, and there is a lot to consider. You probably have a lot of questions, and we have answers for you! Refer to this convenient list of questions and answers to help guide you on your path.
Which airport do I need to fly to?
You need to fly to the Suvarnabhumi International Airport for your volunteering opportunities in Thailand.
Do you organize airport pick-up services?
Yes, we arrange airport pick-up services for our volunteers. As soon as you arrive at the airport, you will meet with our local representative, who will accompany you to your accommodations. You will need to provide your flight details to your in-country coordinator ahead of time to ensure a timely pick-up.
What happens if I miss my flight or arrive late?
If you miss your flight or arrive late, you have to immediately notify our in-country coordinator, so that he/she can rearrange the airport pick-up schedule. You will be provided the contact information prior to your departure. If you missed or delayed your flight you make arrive to hotel which is written in your placement
Who will come to pick me up? How do I recognize this person at the airport?
Once you have completed all the custom formalities, you have to head towards the airport terminal to meet up with our local representative who will be there waiting for you. Recognizing our local representative is very easy – you just need to look for a person with a white sign that has your name on it.
If my assignment begins on Monday, when should I arrive? If I want to arrive earlier than the starting date of my assignment, where do I stay and who will organize the accommodations? Will it cost me extra?
You should always try to come early for your volunteering project in Ayutthaya Thailand to rest and do some sightseeing before the start of your project. At the very least, you should try to come to Thailand on Sunday if your placement begins on Monday. You might be jetlagged and need some time to relax. Keep in mind you will be responsible for the additional costs such as food and accommodations during this time period. Be sure to let our in-country coordinator know your plans ahead of time.
For Surin you should arrive on designated date, please read your placement details very carefully. Keep in mind the our Surin starts dates are fixed and there is no flexibility
Who will take me to the airport for my departure?
IFRE does not provide airport drop-off services. However, the in-country coordinator and the local staff can help you find a taxi or a bus to take you to the airport. You will be responsible for paying for this, so be sure to budget accordingly.
What do I need to prepare before leaving my home country?
You need to make sure that you have packed all of your official documents, such as passport (least six months valid) and travel insurance. You will need to research your visa requirements and take the necessary actions prior to your departure. You should also bring medicines prescribed by your doctor, as you might not be able to get them in Thailand, as well as getting vaccinated. Things like clothes, shoes, books, laptop, mobile phone, chargers, adapter and first-aid kit are also quite important for you to make sure you bring along. Research the customs and culture of your host country prior to departure.
Where are the projects located?
The specific location of your placement will depend on which Thailand volunteer work project you select, and whether you will be in Surin or Ayutthaya. Surin is a quiet lovely town located in the northwest of Thailand. It is famous for its rich culture, aromatic jasmine rice, beautiful silk and, most importantly, elephants. On the other hand, Ayutthaya is a bustling Thai city where you may find many exotic goods and items. You will also learn a lot about Thai culture and history while volunteering in Ayutthaya.
Is there any minimum and maximum length of stay?
Yes, you can volunteer for a minimum of 1 week. If you are interested in volunteering for a longer time, you can extend it for up to 12 weeks. We accept a maximum 4 weeks for the Elephant project.
Can I extend my stay if I choose to?
Yes, you can extend your stay. According to the immigration laws of Thailand, an extension of stay for the tourist visa exemption stamp is 30 days. Those who wish to extend their stay may file for an application for a 30-day extension at any immigration office in Thailand. The cost of extending your Thai tourist visa is 1,900 THB, which is equal to 58$ USD.
Will I have enough time to travel after work and on weekends during my volunteer work in Thailand?
Yes, you will have enough time to travel after work and on weekends at your IFRE project. Thailand is a beautiful country, popular among travelers from around the world, and you should take advantage of your free time to explore and see what this unique place in the world has to offer.
Who will guide and support me in the project?
Our in-country coordinator will guide and support you throughout the entire duration of your time in Thailand. Feel free to reach out to them for any guidance or assistance that you may need.
Can I change my project in case I do not like the one I have initially chosen?
Yes, you are allowed to change your project if you are unsatisfied with your first choice. However, 99% of our volunteers are completely happy and fulfilled in the projects they are placed in, and this is a rare occurrence. Should you find yourself in this position, you simply need to get in contact with our in-country coordinator and let them know about your issues with the initial project and they will assist you in finding another placement which is available and will suit you.
Can I work in more than one volunteer work in Thailand at a time?
Yes, our volunteers can work for more than one project at a time if they want to. However, you have to understand you will have to work for at least 4 to 5 hours a day at each individual project, so if you add another project to that daily routine, it can become exhausting. An alternate choice is to split your available time between two projects, going to one first and then another.
How old should I be to take part?
Most of the time, volunteers who participate need to be 18 years old or older in regular program but you must be 21 for the Elephant project if you want to volunteer independently. If you are under 18, you will need to provide us with proof of parental consent and, in some cases, we can make an exception. Minors can also volunteer alongside their parents.
Who manages IFRE’s projects?
An experienced in-country coordinator manages all of our volunteer projects and is there to provide you with timely support. He/she will visit you frequently during your time in Thailand to check up on you. You can ask him/her for advice or suggestions and depend fully on the in-country coordinator to ensure the success of your volunteer experience abroad.
Will I receive training before the start of my volunteer placement? Will I receive any training before the start of the volunteer project in Thailand?
Yes, you will receive proper training and guidelines for the successful completion of your Thailand volunteering project. After your arrival in Thailand, our in-country coordinator will give you an orientation, during which you will learn about safety measures and your daily schedule, as well as the customs and culture of Thailand.
Is there a dress code in the project?
No, there is no dress code for our volunteers. However, you will need to wear modest and decent apparel, and we suggest doing some research on what is considered acceptable clothing to wear according to Thai culture before packing for your trip.
Why should I pay to volunteer abroad?
Paying to volunteer abroad might seem a bit strange if you have never done it before, but the organizations you are traveling all this way to help depend on the funds raised by international volunteers like yourself. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so the application fees paid by our volunteers are essential for us to cover the salaries of our staff, advertisement, utility, and rent bills. Your program fees cover your housing, food, and a project donation, and since they are paid directly to your projects and host families, you can feel good knowing your money is going where it is needed most.
Why are IFRE’s fees so much more affordable than other volunteer organizations?
As mentioned earlier, IFRE serves as a non-profit volunteer organization, whose only aim is to provide affordable and meaningful volunteer opportunities in Thailand and other countries around the world. We work with devoted partners and institutions to create affordable and rewarding volunteering projects. Profitability is not something IFRE focuses on while running its programs in Thailand, as we only strive to offer an inspiring volunteer abroad experience. The fees of our projects are just enough to sustain and run the projects without any additional profits, so IFRE can manage to charge less than other similar organizations.
Can I get a tax deduction?
Yes, you can get a tax deduction for any of our volunteer programs, as we are an American non-profit 501©3 volunteer organization that collaborates with many local orphanages, schools, hospitals and NGOs all across the globe.
Can I get help to raise funds?
Yes, IFRE can provide help with fundraising for your volunteer work in Thailand. You can get in touch with our office staff members and ask them for help regarding this issue.
Is it safe to travel to Thailand?
You should know that the safety of our volunteers has always been of paramount importance for us, and that Thailand is considered a very safe travel destination. We advise and request all the participating volunteers to find all safety information and necessary details about Thailand in their home countries. Travel opinions and advice always help in making your trip safe and comfortable.
You may check these links for more information about this matter:
What safety measures should I take?
The orientation session for your volunteer experience in Thailand will provide all the necessary information about your placement situation and safety details. You should take ordinary precautions such as not carrying large amounts of cash on your person, always telling someone where you are going if you are venturing out alone, never walking alone at night, avoiding dangerous areas, etc.
What will happen if I get sick while in Thailand?
Our in-country field staff will help you in every way possible to make you feel better. We will also make sure that you get proper treatment in a hospital or a clinic. When visiting a physician, be sure to bring along your passport and proof of your insurance policy.
Why must I get travel insurance before beginning my volunteer program in Thailand?
It is compulsory for you to purchase travel insurance prior to departing for your trip in order to cover you in the event of illness, injury, or emergency. IFRE can assist you with in obtaining a policy if you need help with this, and we offer reliable, affordable, and comprehensive coverage.
What vaccinations do I need to get?
Vaccinations are always an important aspect for any kind of travel, as you might encounter various health hazards not present in your home country. We advise you to use the health recommendations for traveling of the Center for Disease Control . The main recommended vaccinations by CDC for Thailand are Tetanus and Diphtheria,. Typhoid and Hepatitis A and B. Meet with your doctor to discuss your vaccination needs prior to travel.
What are the principle health risks in Thailand?
Our Thailand volunteers need to be careful about the water they are drinking, as most of the tap water in Thailand is not safe for consumption. You need to be very vigilant and eat only at clean and sanitary places. You should avoid buying or using illegal drugs in Thailand, as the country has very strict rules for drug smugglers and users. Also, you have to stay away from street dogs, as they can have rabies and might infect you if they bite. To avoid other potential dangers, you should always stay aware of your environment and use common sense to stay safe and healthy while traveling abroad.
Do I need a visa?
Yes, you will need to obtain a tourist visa.
How do I apply for a visa?
You can apply for a Thai tourist visa by visiting the Royal Thai Embassy located at your home country. In addition, citizens of some countries can apply for their visas upon arrival at the airport. But this service is limited to only 55 countries, and most of the western and European countries are not included in this list. Do your research ahead of time online to learn what the requirements are for your home country.
Can I extend my visa? Can you help with this?
Can I extend my visa while I am in the country? Can you help me with this?
Can I extend my visa while I am in the country? Can you help me with this?
Yes, you can extend your tourist visa for the continuation of your volunteer work in Thailand after arriving to the country. If you arrived on Thailand through an international airport, you will be stamped a 30 or 60-day permission of stay depending whether your country made a bilateral agreement on visa exemption with Thailand.
If you enter Thailand via land border, you will be stamped a 15-day permission of stay as a tourist in the immigration post, after which you will have to exit the country again on or before the expiration of your permission of stay. However, the tourist visa can also be extended if you wish or need to stay longer in Thailand. You will have to file an application for an extension of stay at the Office of Immigration Bureau located at Soi Suan Plu, off South Sathorn Road, Bangkok 10120 , Tel (662) 287-3101-10. Bear in mind that the success for an extension of stay is solely at the discretion of the immigration officer attending on your application.
How do I contact IFRE’s local coordinator while I am in Thailand?
We provide full contact details of our local coordinator, including their phone numbers and email address, to all of our volunteers, so getting in touch will be as simple as a phone call or email. The local in-country coordinator will be glad to help you if you need any assistance or advice.
How can I communicate with my family from Thailand?
There are various ways to stay in touch with your family and friends back home during your volunteering program in Thailand. The easiest way is via the Internet. You can go online and video chat with your loved ones and let them know you are doing well. You can also call them via phone, but that can be expensive if done frequently. Also, you can send them an email or a message.
Can I use my mobile phone?
Yes, you can use your mobile phone during your time at your volunteer abroad project. However, reach out to your current provider before departure to ensure your phone will work while traveling abroad.
Can I buy a SIM card in Thailand?
Yes, you can buy a local SIM Card in Thailand, and this will make keeping in touch with your family and coordinator much easier and cheaper for you. Again, check with your provider before travel to ensure your phone is unlocked and will function with the foreign SIM.
How can I get/purchase Internet services?
To access the internet while volunteering in Thailand, you can buy a local SIM Card (dtac, AIS and TrueMove) and purchase an Internet data package suitable for your needs.
Are Internet facilities available everywhere?
Yes, Internet services are available everywhere. Even in the areas with no free Wi-Fi, you can easily access the web with a mobile phone that has a local SIM Card.
What do I need to bring with me for my volunteer project in Thailand?
Slip-on shoes, water bottle, bug spray, sunscreen, rain gear (jacket, rain fly, dry sacs), sweater or sweatshirt, warm weather clothes, bathing suit, sturdy daypack, quick dry towel, hiking shoes, passport, visa, first-aid medical kit, toiletries, camera, phone and chargers (for all your electric devices) are among the essential items that you should be sure to bring along with you to Thailand. IFRE provides bedding, but if you feel a sleeping bed will make you more comfortable you are welcome to bring it along.
We hope we have answered all of your questions, and you are feeling prepared to travel abroad and do your part to make the world a better place. Contact IFRE today to learn more about volunteering in Thailand!
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