Volunteering in Thailand

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Volunteering in Thailand can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are dozens of worthwhile charities that really do need your help. But there are unfortunately just as many shady and illegitimate 3rd-party companies vying for your money.

There has been a lot of debate lately as to whether or not we, as travelers, should volunteer.

For me, volunteering in Thailand was one of the most rewarding parts of my visit. It also helped me to stay safe while traveling.

But finding free or low-cost volunteer programs can be difficult. If you pay to volunteer, how can you be sure your money is really going towards helping people?

When it comes to volunteering in Thailand, don’t get sucked into paying ridiculous fees to a third-party to volunteer.

The following companies are all free volunteer options in Thailand, or they’re low-cost, and the money really does go to the organization.

From agriculture and farming work to teaching English and helping endangered animals, here is a list of volunteer options in Thailand.

Also be sure to check out our article on How To Find a Volunteer Program that Fits You. 

Volunteering in Thailand: Free or Low Cost Options

** We have been in communication with all of these organizations and have visited many in person. They are not paying us to be listed. Download our Thailand Guidebook for Women for more volunteer options. ** 

volunteering in thailand

1) Elephant Nature Park        

Cost: Varies
Location: Chiang Mai

Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai is one of the largest and most popular non-profits for volunteers in Thailand. The elephant sanctuary is the only of its kind in Thailand and advocates for the ethical and humane treatment of elephants.

You will not be riding elephants here, but you’ll probably be feeding them and bathing them. Volunteer options vary from day-long to several days. Check out their website for information about visiting and volunteering.

2) Care for Dogs

Cost: Free
Location: Chiang Mai
A non-profit in Chiang Mai that rescues and cares for sick dogs, organizes spaying and medical care and runs an adoption sanctuary.

They rely on volunteers to help them with all aspects of caring for the dogs, including walking, bathing and de-ticking. They ask for a minimum 3-day commitment.

3) Ban Nai Soi Learning Center

Cost: Free, plus free room + board + food
Location: Northern Thailand
Provides high-school education to refugee and migrant children from Burma.

They are looking for volunteers who have experience with ESL and/or teaching English. They ask for a one-month commitment from volunteers.

4) Thai Society for Conservation of Wild Animals Thailand

Cost: Free
Location: Northern Thailand

A non-governmental organization that protects natural habitats and wildlife.

They are looking for volunteers with a background in veterinary medicine or knowledge of wildlife.

Projects include black-bear rehabilitation, wild animal quarantine, and stray dog support. They are also aiming to reach zoologists and biologists.

5) The Development and Education Program for Daughters and Community Centers

Cost: Free
Location: Northern Thailand
A non-profit that works to prevent sex trafficking and child labor in Northern Thailand.

The DEPDC is looking for volunteers who want to gain experience in anti-trafficking work. There is no cost to volunteer, and they accept volunteers typically a year out.

What you end up doing in working for them depends on your strengths and what you’re hoping to learn. Check out their volunteer page for more on how to apply.

6) Noistar Thai Animal Rescue Foundation

Cost: Free
Location: Koh Tao

Noistar Thai Animal Rescue Foundation helps animals on the island of Koh Tao in need. They are looking for veterinarians or graduates of vet school to help them care for their animals. You will need at least 2 years experience to qualify for. Read this page for more info on volunteering.

7) Soi Dog Foundation

Cost: Free
Location: Phuket

Soi Dog Foundation is a non-profit that aims to end suffering of Thailand’s street animals through adoption programs, vaccination and sterilizations. They are looking for volunteers who can help them at their shelter in Phuket for a month or longer, and also volunteers who can help fly animals to their new adopted homes.

If you’re interested in being a flight volunteer, email flightvolunteer@soidog.org. If you’d like info on volunteering in Thailand at their shelter, email volunteering@soidog.org

8) Child’s Dream Foundation                        

Cost: Free
Location: Chiang Mai

Child’s Dream Foundation works to help children in need in the Mekong sub-region.

They are looking for volunteers who can help in their office and commit to a minimum of six months or longer.

9) Phuket has Been Good To Us Foundation

Cost: Free
Location: Phuket, Thailand

Established after the tsunami in 2004, Phuket Has Been Good To Us works to help improve economic opportunities of young people living in Phuket. They run free English programs as well as an afterschool program called the Coconut Club. Their openings vary, check this page for more info.

10) Foundation to Encourage Potential of Disabled Persons

Cost: Free
Location: Chiang Mai

This organization builds custom wheelchairs, produces self-help books on disabilities in Thai, and operates a care facility for children with Cerebral Palsy. Located in northern Thailand, they don’t often advertise that they accept volunteers, but reach out if you have applicable skills.

By: momo

11) Warm Heart Worldwide

Cost: Free
Location: Northern Thailand

A grassroots non-profit that empowers rural Thai villagers to have equal access in education and economic development. They run several projects including farming and agriculture, English lessons, and public health initiatives.
They’re looking for volunteers who can donate at least three months of their time to 40-hour workweeks. Find out more here.

12) Good Earth Agriculture             

Cost: $50/ week including 3 meals + accommodation
Location: North-East Thailand

Good Earth Agriculture (Sustainable Vision) practices sustainable agriculture in North-East Thailand. If you are interested in aquaponics, hydroponics and aqua culture, as well as getting to know a part of Thailand most travelers don’t see, reach out to them via their site.

Have you considered volunteering in Thailand? What are your best recommendations?

ARTICLE LAST UPDATED 8/31/18

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About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Best International Volunteering Articles

  2. Thanks for this information! I’m planning on being in Chiang Mai, Thailand in the fall to start my PhD. Let me know if you have any tips! 🙂

  3. Hey Girls!

    Hope this finds you well. I was recently contacted by a young woman wanting to volunteer with my organization Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation (with whom I am a full time volunteer). Firstly, thanks so much for having us on your site – its totally awesome and glad I have been put onto it! Secondly, I see that it says you have been in contact with the listed organizations – not sure whom you were in contact with initially but if there is an opportunity to update or add to the listing it would be most appreciated (I handle this sort of thing now). My organization is highly dependent upon volunteers so we can use all the traffic possible really. Additionally, if there is any opportunity for their to be a spotlight on the Foundation in your upcoming Go! Girl Guides Thailand it would be most appreciated. Please let me know if questions, look forward to hearing from you and thanks for making this site!

    Very best,
    Arati

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