Would you like to volunteer in Thailand but also have the opportunity to see a little more of the country?
Perhaps you only have a couple of weeks to spare but would like to feel you are contributing something meaningful to the people of the country you visit as well as having time to relax and enjoy your holiday...
If so... this trip may be for you.
Settle into your Thailand adventure by spending a couple of days in Bangkok and then heading Khao Sok National Park where you will be able to relax and enjoy this stunning area of jungle, lakes and abundant wildlfe.
Then head to a small town on the Andaman coast where you will volunteer at a local nursery (see More about the Project below). Note: other volunteering options may also be available from time to time.
If you can manage to tear yourself away from the volunteering project, spend the last few nights of your adventure enjoying a well-earned break and relaxing on a palm-fringed tropical beach.
More about the Project
The project aims to develop skills and improve the quality of life for Thai and Burmese families, especially focusing on children, youth and women’s groups in the local area. Between 30 and 40 children usually attend the local nursery and interacting with these children is a valuable way to make a positive impact in their lives. You will be a vital asset to help communicate to these children in English and through songs and games.
The nursery provides the children with a caring and stimulating environment to help them realize their potential in life. The local Youth Centre teaches English and Thai to Burmese children of immigrant factory workers and fishermen to help them assimilate better to Thai life, these young boys and girls are often taken out of education early to help provide income for the family. The nursery is a great place for volunteers who would like to teach English and interact with children in Southern Thailand.
The project is desperately trying to teach the children enough Thai and English through the use of games, songs and flashcards, in the hope that they can access Thai schools and receive a better and equal education.
How you can help to make a difference
Participate in this rewarding and challenging experience and you will quickly see the difference it can bring to the children who attend the nursery. These children are often not provided with the basic rights of mainstream education and your presence, participation and energy can help enrich their lives.
Your contribution will help to give the children a safe, happy and supportive environment in which to live, grow and learn.
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Whilst we have supported various volunteering projects in the Andaman area over the years, this itinerary was initially developed to provide assistance in the aftermath of the Asian Tsuanmi in 2004, and in October 2006 was nominated by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of their Top 50 Trips of a Lifetime...
Why not come along and find out why for yourself?
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Day 1: Arrival in Bangkok
Arrival in Bangkok and make your way to your hotel in central Bangkok. We regularly use a comfortable, 3 star hotel with its own swimming pool, centrally located very close to the (in)famous Khao San Road - an ideal location if you only have limited time available and want to get a feel for the wonderful chaos that is Bangkok whilst also having a clean, safe, efficiently run base to which you can escape!
Chill out and relax or head out to get your first taste of this crazy, noisy, bustling, fascinating city.
Day 2: Exploring Bangkok
Today is free for you to explore on your own or we can book you an organised tour/guide if you prefer. Don't miss the Grand Palace and maybe take a long-tail boat ride to explore the backwaters (klongs) of the Chao Phraya river.
Day 3: Bangkok to Phuket - Khao Sok National Park
Head to the airport and catch a short (one hour) flight to Phuket where you will be met and escorted to a tiny resort deep in the heart of the jungle. The journey takes about two hours but the scenery, especially once you enter the park itself, is quite breathtaking.
Upon arrival, settle into your little jungle house and start to acclimatise to the sights and sounds of the jungle – if it's your first time in an area of such abundant wildlife, you may be quite surprised at how noisy it is, especially at night, but you quickly get used to it!
Start to relax into jungle life… sit on your balcony and enjoy the sounds, watch the river gliding by or, if you feel like a mini-adventure, for a small extra charge, grab an inner tube and enjoy an hour floating downstream – trust us, it's great fun and an ideal way to pass the late afternoon hours before dinner... otherwise, why not just chill out over a cold beer and soak up the atmosphere...
Day 4: Khao Sok - Elephant Trek - Canoe Trip
Enjoy an early breakfast before setting off at 08.00 for a two-hour elephant trek through the jungle. Return for lunch and time to relax before taking a canoe trip down the river at 15.00. Your guide will point out some of the birds and wildlife you see along the way but this is just a taste of what's to come tomorrow…
Day 5: Full Day Lake Adventure
Set off on a full day lake trip adventure. Khao Soke National Park is one of South East Asia's best-preserved habitats for tropical flora and fauna. The park covers an area of about 645 km, with evergreen virgin jungle, waterfalls, massive limestone cliffs and crystal clear rivers and streams. Many species of protected wildlife live in the park including elephants, gibbons, monkeys, tapir, birds of prey and wild gaur. Strikingly beautiful Chio Larn Lake features spectacular limestone karst rising out of the sparkling waters, it's a part of the park that you won't want to miss.
Days 6 - 11: Volunteering at local nursery school
Enjoy your last breakfast in the jungle before your taxi driver arrives to take you to Kuraburi, Phang Nga. (Journey time about 90 minutes.) Here you will meet with our local support staff for a briefing before heading to meet the children at the nursery.
The Nursery is located around 5 kilometres from our local office. You will be collected (by the school bus) each morning at around 7.00 am. The Nursery also teaches groups of older children that do not attend school and the classes end at around 3pm.
The environment at the nursery is differs from most nurseries in Thailand as the children are taught in one large room. The children are divided over three groups and there are two teachers who help with various subjects and games.
Once a week, you will also go to teach at the Youth centre where you will assist the staff in visiting the local pier area to deliver classes to children who are working in the local industries and unfortunately cannot attend any kind of scheduled classes.
You will stay in simple, local apartment accommodation in the small town of Kuraburi. The rooms are basic but spacious and fan-cooled, with cool water showers (which most people don't usually find is a problem in the sticky heat of Thailand!)
Lunch is provided at the nursery (Monday to Friday) but you will need to buy other meals locally. (Local support staff can guide you on this and food is generally very inexpensive.)
Days 12 - 14: Head to the beach...
If you can bear to tear yourself away, bid farewell to your new friends and drive back to Phuket, where you will check in to a charming little beach resort in one of the quieter areas of the city. Relax on the beach or if you prefer something more lively, there are plenty of shops, restaurants and even night clubs within easy travelling distance.
Note: there are many different beach options in the Phuket area, from buzzing resorts offering a wide range of watersports and other activities, and thriving night life right on the doorstep; to much more peaceful locations where you can simply spend the days chilling out on a palm-fringed beach... We know everyone has their own preferences, so if you let us know yours, we'll be happy to come up with some suitable suggestions.
Day 15: Return Bangkok
Enjoy your last breakfast in Thailand before taking a taxi to the airport in order to catch your flight back to Bangkok
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Prices start from around GBP 1100 per person based on 2 adults travelling together.
Price includes accommodation, transfers, most meals and activities.
We can arrange this itinerary at ANY time of year, subject to availability.
This itinerary can be tailor-made to suit your particular interests.