Friends for Asia

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7.3 / 10 after 5 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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Fantastic program! I have volunteered twice with Friends For Asia and have been totally impressed with their professionalism, thoroughness and attention to every detail. Staff responded to all my email questions, met me at the airport, provided a very complete orientation, introduced me to the staff at the site where I volunteered (first at the elephant camp, then at the teaching monks at the university), provided me with on-going support during my stay, then debriefed me on my experience before I left. I have volunteered with many organizations over the years, and have to say that Friends For Asia gets an A ++++++++ in my book. Outstanding, dedicated staff who truly go the extra mile to make one's volunteer experience in Thailand a memorial and productive experience. I plan on going back again very soon!

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Posted: March 7, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: timbuctu
Age:
New User

Fantastic program .... I'd repeat my stay in a hear beat! The program is worth every baht I paid. The elephant camp is truly saving the Asian elephants which are diminishing at astounding rates. I spent a month with these magnificent creatures and continue to be in awe of them. I still have memories of these huge creatures, walking by me in the early morning, with no other sound than the birds .... and the elephant's eyes .... looking deeply into my very soul. On a daily basis, I rode elephants to the river for their bath, I cleaned up after them, I rode them into the dense jungle, helped the staff cut corn or grass to feed them..... When I was not working with the elephants, I taught English at the public school. The students were so happy to see me and so filled with enthusiasm to learn! My normal one hour lesson often turned into two hours, with other classes asking if they could participate. The staff at the elephant camp was terrific. The kitchen staff had coffee ready for me each morning ... along with a freshly prepared breakfast of my choosing. In fact... every meal was made to order. I lived like a king! And I stay in a tree house that hung out over the river.... so each morning I'd awake to the sounds of the river below and the birds in the jungle on the opposite side of the mountain from my house in the sky. The mahout were a kick. It just took my leaving my comfort zone to get to know them and before long .... different mahout were asking me if I'd want to work with their elephant. ELI worked closely with me for months before I made my decision to volunteer at the elephant camp. Very helpful. Friends for Asia is by far one of the best organizations one could ask for to volunteer with. The staff is dedicated, sincere, and very willing to assist in all facets of volunteer life. Their orientation was outstanding, and the follow-up support they provided was great. I loved every minute of my stay at the elephant camp .... a month was just not enough for me .... and if I could go back and spend a year.... I would. In fact... I just might!

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Posted: February 27, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

I booked volunteer travel with ELI Abroad, which apparently subcontracts with Friends for Asia for their Thailand programs. The people at both ELI and Friends for Asia seemed nice enough, and were generally helpful, but I DO NOT RECOMMEND volunteering at the elephant sanctuary. It is NOT a sanctuary, but a working camp where the elephants are chained constantly when they're not working. It was beyond depressing to expect to do something good and wind up giving money to something so horrible. Also, the 'volunteering' was a joke. The people at the camp were nice enough, but they do not have a proper volunteer program. There was no real work to do. (I asked for a refund from ELI, by the way, and received no response.) Be sure to ask very specific questions about the volunteer work you will do, because I heard from volunteers at the other Chiang Mai programs (all housed together. decent accomotions) that the 'volunteering' at the orphanage was also not well organized.

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Posted: December 3, 2009
Overall:
2
Support:
2
Value:
2
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

There was airport pickup and a volunteer house to stay at in Chiang Mai. Again, the staff were nice enough, but the 'volunteering' was a joke, and the elephant sanctuary was a working camp. It was beyond sad to be there. If you'd like to volunteer with elephants, I recommend Elephant Nature Park instead, which does amazing work. http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/ I don't have contact information for the other volunteers I met, who worked with orphans in Chiang Mai. I recommend that you get very specific information in writing about the work you'll be doing before signing on and paying.
Could u tell me more about the organization... what about accommodation, food, airport pickup..did u have other volunteers' feedback..cuz i would love 2 go 2 thailand..can u tell me more about it @ saintilvs@hotmail.com Thanks!

I was a volunteer in Chaing Mai, where I worked with Buddhist monks. Before my experience, I was very unfamiliar with Thailand and Buddhism completely, and this experience taught me a lot. It was a little scary flying to a far away place I'd never been before, not knowing the language or customs. However, Friends for Asia, and the coordinator, Todd, were very helpful and supportive, and I had a wonderful time. I learned so much about Thailand and the Thai people that it astonished me. I wish I could have stayed longer, and I would recommend this adventure to anyone!

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Posted: April 19, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

Amy, I'm considering Freinds for Asia in Thailand in Jan 2010. Can you give me any insight regarding the program via e-mail (mjb1357@live.com)? reviews are scarce. thank you, MB