Volunteer, work and travel in
Thailand

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Low cost travel

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Volunteer and work in Thailand - low cost travel abroad - Workaway!

Here at Workaway you will find 332 hosts and organizations for volunteer work in Thailand.
Low cost travel without having to pay expensive agency fees.

Volunteer needed for Rescue/social services organizatio...
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Help to teach English and share your skills at our scho...
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Dog lovers! Help For Dogs in Chiang Mai, Northern Thail...
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Help needed in our simple Thai Home with horses and res...
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Travel to regions in Thailand

Last minute volunteer opportunities

Here you will find 13 last minute opportunities for volunteering in Thailand from Hosts that have indicated that they require help immediately.

Last minute
Volunteer needed for growing food and permaculture, San...
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Last minute
Help out at a small guesthouse and discover Trang, Thai...
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Last minute
Help with our hostel and cat sanctuary, Thailand, Koh c...
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Last minute
Help with a community network in Southern Thailand.
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Workaway feedback slides

There are 2429 reviews for 236 Hosts and organizations in Thailand.
236 Hosts in Thailand were rated at least 4.8/5!

AMAZING PLACE!

This was my 5th workaway and I can say that's probably the best one. Nice farm with many different tasks to be done ( the whole cycle ...

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This was my first workaway experience and my first experience at volunteering at an animal shelter as well and I learned a lot within just two weeks! ...

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My first workaway really exceeded my expectations! I spent 7 wonderful days at If You want Hostel and I really felt like home from the very first mome...

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The time I spent in Sathanee was just great!
The island is small but with many things to do and places to visit, the other volunteers helped to have a...

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This was my first workaway stop and it was a good one! Angel is super chilled and makes the hostel have such a homely vibe! The location is also great...

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Popular Hosts and organizations in Thailand

Thailand

“Amazing Thailand” or “the land of smiles”, as it is affectionately known, has been a popular choice for backpackers and holiday makers since the 1960s. Workaway volunteers can look forward to pristine beaches, national parks, delicious food and a rich cultural heritage. Located in the heart of South East Asia, it is a great place to start your adventures as there is easy access to neighbouring Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and even Myanmar (Burma).

There is a high demand throughout Thailand for teaching English and helping out at hostels, but also many opportunities with sustainable farms, social welfare initiatives, eco retreats and animal sanctuaries amongst others. It is possible to combine volunteering with island hopping, visiting world class diving locations, beach parties, taking in the sights and sounds of cities, as well as exploring national parks and jungle.

The country has a wealth of native plants and animals in addition to diverse landscapes. As a result, Thailand has established 127 national parks and 22 marine parks that enable the conservation of the country's rich flora and fauna.


Thai Culture: Religion and Etiquette

Theravada Buddhism has remained central to Thai culture since 13th century and boasts over 40,000 “wats” or temples and countless Buddhas to greet you throughout your stay, as do the Thai national flags! As around 95% of the country consider themselves to be Theraveda Buddhists, and buddhist philosophy plays a huge role in day-to-day life, especially with regards to their conduct in public.

It is important to appear calm, relaxed, positive and friendly. Displays of emotion are viewed in a negative light, especially anger. Their easy-going and gentle manner of interracting, along with the importance of having a sense of humour and fun “sanuk”, makes it a very appealing destination.

However, it is necessary to be aware of the following to avoid offending the locals: Feet are considered to be unclean and so it is rude to use them to point with, to rest them on a chair or show the soles of the feet whilst sitting on the floor. Shoes should be taken off when entering a home.

Conversely the head is considered to be the most revered part of the body and it is very disrespectful to put your hand on someone’s head.

As with many Asian countries, you should use your right hand to give people objects or money, as the left hand is associated with toilet functions. It is important to return a smile, or a wai greeting.

It is polite to ask before you take photos of locals, especially monks, and be aware that you may not be able to take photographs at certain places such as temples, the red light district and military points. The royal family must always be shown the utmost respect.


Thailand and Food

Thailand is famous for its delicious colourful dishes with exotic ingredients, coconut milk and fresh aromatic herbs and spices. Rice is the staple ingredient in most meals and there are thousands of varieties, accompanied by a selections of flavorsome, and often spicy, side dishes, relishes and dips. In fact the mixing of flavors and textures of different dishes with the rice is central to Thai dining and is known as “khluk”.

The food is flavoured with garlic, galangal, coriander, shallots, lemon grass, lime, tamarind, shrimp paste and fish sauce. There are many vegetable based soups and dishes for vegetarians as well as fish, seafood, pork, chicken, duck, beef and even water buffalo specialities. The evolution of these dishes has depended upon the local regional produce as well as being influenced by the cuisines of countries closeby.

Some favourite dishes on the menu are Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup), Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad), Pad Thai (Thai-style fried Noodles), Tom Kha Kai (Chicken in Coconut Soup), Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry) and Khao Pad (Fried Rice).

Popular with travellers are the tropical fruit smoothies, the banana pancakes and the wide selection of on-the-go street foods including spring rolls, noodle soup and sticky rice with fresh mangoes.


Budget Travel and Safety

Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that has never been colonized by a European country. In Thai language it is referred to as “Prathet Thai” which means “land of the free.” In fact, compared to many of its neighbours it certainly has a very open, friendly and tolerant feel to it. However, don’t be misled into thinking that the response to criminal activity will be more lenient. The drug laws are strict, the penalties are stricter and there are no special allowances made for foreigners.

Violent crimes against travellers is very rare and it is generally safe for women to travel alone here. However, as always, it is a good idea to be careful with your kit and wary of possible credit card scams, especially in big cities such as Bangkok or Pattaya or in some of the popular resorts in the South.

The good news is that Thailand offers the visitor a truly exotic experience, but at a price to cater for all budgets.It is possible to live and travel very cheaply, but the cost can vary greatly depending on how you want to travel and what you want to do.

The people of Thailand are kind, warm, and welcoming to foreigners, and volunteering with some of Workaway’s many hosts found all over Thailand will bring down costs associated with accommodation and food. As Workaway volunteers you will meet the locals and be invited into the heart of Thai homes, giving you the chance to learn the language, explore the culture and enjoy the country’s wonderful cuisine.

Between volunteering stints you can use some of the tips shared in this post by a couple that hitchhiked around Southeast Asia to help keep costs down. You may also be interested in reading this blog post by a Workawayer to find out how travelling on a budget can actually improve your experience of travelling. Read on for more Thailand-specific help and hints.


Climate in Thailand

Thailand enjoys a year-round tropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 28°C and a high humidity factor. However, this country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and the geography of each particular region. In general, the year can be split into three seasons: the hot season from March to May, the rainy season from June to October and the cool season from November to February.

In Central Thailand humidity remains pretty consistent, but with temperatures ranging from 30°C in winter to 36°C in the summer months. In the Northeast region the weather is generally dry, however its many rivers can overflow during the rainy season, temperatures range from to 35°- 45°C. The East region can get even hotter, but the “cool season” can be a very comfortable time to visit with temperatures between 30 – 35 °C. However, down south there are only two seasons to factor in: the dry season from November to May and the wet season, with monsoon rain from April to October (about 2,400 millimetres yearly). The temperature here fluctuates less and stays around 30°.

Research the weather in the area you plan to visit, and plan your packing well. Visit our blog to get packing hacks for Workawaying out of a backpack in Southeast Asia and other advice and tips from seasoned Workawayers, and read on for more specific tips on where to go in Thailand.


Thailand – Regional Highlights

Thailand is separated into four distinct regions. Despite the overarching strength and unity of Thai culture, each region has its own unique cultural and geographic features and is also influenced by the countries on its borders.

Central Thailand

It is the political, economic and cultural centre of the country and that is predominant, its fertile plains produces the majority of Thailand’s rice. Central Thailand is also the area that has the greatest population density, and the highest concentration of the ethnic Thai majority. At its heart is the vibrant capital “the City of Angels” or…

  • Bangkok is a city that never sleeps, combining modernity and tradition. The Golden Mount, Rama 8 Bridge and Democracy Monument are huge engineering feats, contrasting with the quirky tuktuk taxis and floating markets. The home of the backpacker is in “Khao San Road” in the heart of the old town, offering any services or shops a traveller could possibly want. Close by you have the Grand Palace, Chinatown and the birthplace of Thai massage, Wat Pho with its giant reclining Buddha. Anyone interested in Thai culture should visit the temples, especially the first grade royal ones, such as Wat Suthat, Wat Arun or Wat Ben.
  • Visit the country’s largest National Park, Kaeng Krachan, 190km southwest of Bangkok. It consists mainly of rainforest area and has a variety of tropical vegetation and wildlife.
  • Khao Yai National Park is 120km north west of Bangkok and was Thailand’s first national park and it is the second-largest park in the country and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Haew Suwat Waterfall was made famous in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film ‘The Beach’ and is particularly worth seeing.

Northern Thailand

This region is of great natural beauty blending dense forest, river valleys and rugged mountains and hot springs - it is not surprising that North Thailand is home to 34 national parks, with a further 25 in the pipeline, the majority of which are found north of Phetchabun province.

  • Visit Thailand’s most famous park- Doi Inthanon National Park, home of the highest peak in Thailand. Workawayers would enjoy the challenge and wow factor of climbing up the mountain, past impressive waterfalls and taking in the infinite jungle below.
  • Explore hill tribe villages each with its own language, tradition and handicrafts. The optimum way of understanding their way of life is to live within their communities as a volunteer and take part in their celebrations and ceremonies, something normally inaccessible to tourists
  • Stay in Chiang Mai considered by many to be the cultural heart of Thailand. Its friendliness, great food and affordable prices make it a hub for digital nomads and fellow Workawayers. The city is surrounded by national parkland and elephant camps. Check out these heart warming hosting story at an elephant sanctuary.
  • Pay a visit to the ancient city of Chai Rai and its province where Laos, Burma and Thailand meet creating the infamous “Golden Triangle”- originally used for opium production, but nowadays the main focus is tourism and tea plantations.
  • Popular with the alternative crowd is the town of Pai- There are volunteering opportunities for permaculture, natural construction and helping out at small traveller’s lodges. If you like vegetarian and locally grown organic food and the chance to take part in yoga retreats and natural therapy workshops, this could be a great Workaway destination for you.
  • Finally, heading closer towards the Burmese border is Mae Hong Son. There are volunteering possibilities to help out at hostels or become involved in Burmese refugee programmes.

Northeastern Thailand

Also known as Isan, is largely separated from the rest of Thailand by a large mountain range. It is populated by a Lao-speaking majority, with its main focus being agricultural. Isan's culture is predominantly Lao, and has much in common with that of the neighbouring country of Laos. This affinity is shown in the region's cuisine, dress, temple architecture, festivals and arts.

  • In Ubon Ratchathani there are Workaway hosts with offering opportunities to collaborate on sustainable farms or with social and educational programmes. Being so close to the border of Cambodia there are many spectacular ruins and relics of the great Khymer empire to explore, the best known temples being Phimai and Phanom Rung.

Southern Thailand and the Islands

Southern Thailand and the Islands is popular because of its pristine beaches and island resorts. There are hosts dotted across Southern Thailand and the hundreds of islands located both in the Andaman Sea and on the western and eastern seaboards of the Gulf of Thailand, perhaps you’ll even feel motivated to take a PADI course. It is easy to identify an island location because its name in Thai is preceded by ko/koh/go/goh.

  • Stay with a Workaway host in Khao Sok which is home to the Khao Sok National Park, consisting of the largest area of virgin forest in Southern Thailand and believed to be older and more diverse than the Amazon.
  • Find paradise in the Andaman Sea. Head for Phuket, the largest Thai Island, with access to the diving havens of Phang Nga Bay, Koh Phi Phi along with the Similan and Surin islands. Discover the charms of craggy Krabi, with mountains, jungle and beaches. Head further south to the peaceful Koh Lanta or continue even further to Ko Lipe, part of the Tarutao National Marine Park.
  • Cross over to the western seaboard of the Gulf of Thailand. Although the beaches along this coast are not so spectacular, you can catch a ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Pha Ngan for a full moon party event, or to the palm-fringed Koh Samui and then on to the diving mecca of Koh Tao.
  • Explore the eastern seaboard islands of the Ko Chang archipelago, located close to the Cambodian border reached by ferry from Trat. There are forty islands to choosed from: Ko Chang, Ko Mak and Koh Kood are being popular destinations.

Volunteering in Thailand

Workaway is the world’s leading community for volunteering and cultural exchange. Lone travellers backpacking through Thailand will find plenty of opportunities to meet and connect with the locals, but Workaway also offers many opportunities for couples, friends, families and groups. Workaway’s many hosts offer volunteers free accommodation and meals in exchange for a few hours of work a day, normally five days a week. This is the perfect way to make travelling affordable in Thailand, or to extend your stay. Whether you want to visit Thailand’s mountainous regions in the north or Southern coastal paradises, the cities and farms of the interior, or get right off the beaten track and immerse yourself in wild nature and local life, the perfect host is waiting to welcome you. It doesn’t matter whether you are exploring during your summer holidays, or seeking a gap year adventure, the volunteering opportunities are almost unlimited and will guarantee you have the time of your life.

Volunteer abroad: find the perfect host in Thailand

As a member of the Workaway community you can use the many thousands of reviews and feedback provided to find your perfect match among our hosts. Share your culture, skills and language with the communities, projects and families that offer a wide range of volunteer programmes, volunteer projects and volunteer jobs. If you want to take a backpacking trip through more remote areas of Thailand, use our regional filter to check out the many offers further away from the usual tourist spots. Combining these more off-the-beaten-track opportunities with a stay with some of the many host families and organizations in Thailand’s towns, cities and beach resorts is the ideal way to enjoy the country’s diversity.

Travel and make a difference

Who doesn’t enjoy going on holiday and relaxing in a tourist hotspot? However, travellers who want to connect more deeply with the host country and make a real difference will find perfect opportunities to do this by joining Workaway. Do you want to find out more about the culture of Thailand? Volunteering is the perfect vehicle for cultural exchange, providing the traveller with a truly memorable experience while doing something useful, like collaborating with an eco-project, helping with household tasks, or caring for children or animals. Working and travelling in Thailand is the perfect opportunity to get to know this unique country, the regions that form it, its nature and its people.

Working and healthcare in Thailand

If you are planning to visit Thailand as a volunteer and not as a tourist, you must have the correct visa. To find out about the latest requirements, you need to contact the embassy in your home country before travelling. And please don’t forget to take out appropriate insurance to make sure you qualify for healthcare! So, whether you want to wander deep into the heart of the rainforest in search of tigers, climb to the top of Doi Inthanon, go island hopping, scuba dive the reefs of Koh Tao, tour the Golden triangle or visit the hill tribes, Thailand is waiting for you to do some exploring.

If you’re still not sure whether volunteering is for you, check out this inspiring blog post on how Alex celebrated his 30th birthday in a very ethical way at a self-sustainable Project in Koh Phangan,watch Matt´s vlog documenting his time Workawaying in Thailand or, if you are a Spanish-speaker, click to see the Workaway tv vlog on “Workaway Impressions in Thailand”. So, why wait any longer? Join up to Workaway and get planning a trip of a lifetime!