Thailand

Global Vision International (GVI)

I finally got to fulfil my dream job (although only a 2 week stint), it changed my life!

My time was spent in the small hill tribe village of Huay Pakoot, working in the Elephant Vet Outpost with an absolute genius and inspiration Dr Pak.
The project is lucky to have some of the most encouraging, happy and passionate volunteers that I aspire to be like. Everyone is there because they feel strongly about the project and because they want to be, which is in essence, the brilliance of the outpost.

Accommodation is basic, however the kind, hospitality received from your host family counteracts all of this. They treat you like ACTUAL family-making you feel welcome and safe and above all FULL. The food is unreal; it really is a treat every morning when they bring you breakfast and lunch. When it comes to dinner, trust me- anything will taste good, but these meals you spend you days waiting for. Home cooked cuisine, with plenty to choose from- even catering to your needs (vegetarians, vegans etc).

After being out in the jungle for hours on end, spending time and conducting paramount surveys and measurements in regards to your elephant’s safety and health, you come home for some relaxation and chill out time. The best down time is at base with the other volunteers, where you can relax on hammocks and look over the beautiful hillside. And don't worry, wherever you are there will be animals, no shortage in the village- I had a fairly friendly pig sleep next to my room most nights.

I recommend this project to anyone who wants to get their hands dirty and make a difference. It provided me with so many laughs, memories and a few friends I will definitely be keeping in touch with. There really is truth to the quote "be the change you want to see in the world". So...be it.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Apr 7, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

This was my first time volunteering abroad and I am so glad I chose IVHQ. My chosen destination was Thailand. I signed up for the outdoor program for 6 weeks and came back as an indoor volunteer for 2 weeks. We can all agree that there are quite a few preparations for a trip like this and IVHQ was nothing but FANTASTIC as far as helping me get ready.

Once I was accepted for the program I received a 70 page booklet filled with information about the country I was about to visit and pointers regarding flights, visas, travel insurance & much much more. Most of the questions are answered in there but if you have any other concerns you can contact the Thailand program coordinator Blanche at anytime and get a response very quickly. I was even in contact with Thellie from the NGO Mirror Foundation in Thailand as of day one, just to make things even better!

IVHQ kept contacting me even after I left for Thailand to check up on how I was doing and everything.They were even sending me good luck emails and congratulation emails when I was done :). It felt like I was their only volunteer (which is far from the truth). They surpassed my expectations :) and the prices are great!

My experience volunteering at Mirror Foundation was truly a blessing. I learned so much about both myself and life while I was there and am nothing but grateful! The staff and colleagues at Mirror were great as well. Orientation on day 2 was very helpful. There is even a little meeting with all volunteers held at the end of each week to discuss how things are going. I quickly felt at home there.

On each 2nd week they have a homestay where you get to go live in another village for 2-3 days and teach or do outdoor work (it varies from week to week) The indoor volunteers usually go on one(since they are teaching to other schools on the other weeks) and outdoor sometimes go on more (depending on the length of your stay and of what work needs to be done where). That for me had to be one of the most humbling moments. To have these villagers welcoming you in there home and happily share their culture with you is truly moving.

Later on I decided to take on the challenge of teaching and I am so glad I did! Getting to know the kids and put a smile on their face was really gratifying :). No need to stress, there is always someone there to guide you!

Mirror Foundation is doing a great job in doing their best on giving you a great experience of not only the volunteer work you're doing but of the country you're visiting! While I was there I got to go on an elephant ride, go sight seeing, participate in several thai traditions and more (I was in Thailand for 4 months in total)! I was there long enough and can say with confidence that they are always looking for ways to improve and grow, it's really wonderful.

If you're looking to volunteer IVHQ is the way to go. I'm actually already looking into a new destination with them for another volunteer experience :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Mar 17, 2011
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

Comments

Fantastic. Always great to hear of positive experiences and hope to have you volunteer again with us one day!

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I spent 3 weeks in Jan & Feb 2011 teaching English for IVHQ's partner in Thailand,the Mirror Foundation.It was,quite frankly one of the most moving experiences of my life.I had never taught English in my 23 year work career so i was terrified at the start.I needn't have been.The support from Mirror was superb.After spending the first day settling in we had the orientation on the second day when we were briefed in depth on what we were to do as volunteer English teachers.
All the way through my time there there was someone on hand to advise us on lesson plans,materials etc.There was also a Mirror foundation database showing what had been taught in previous lessons to prevent duplicating lessons for students.
The accomodation was basic but adequate i felt.On the whole the food was good although the quality of the meat was dubious at times (2 of my fellow volunteers went 'veggie' for the duration of there stay).
It is located in an idylic setting around 25 km away from the provincial capital of Chiang-Rai.
Whilst we spent the first & third weeks teaching the second week was divided between 2 homestays.We spent 3 nights in a 'retreat' for ex-addicts (half were Thai half western).The place was beautiful,with a swimming pool & hot showers (neither of which we had at Mirror Foundation !).It is the aim of the retreat (called 'New Life') to go self sufficent,so to help out we helped build a couple of pig-pens for the residents.As well as this there was meditation at 5pm every day and i took part in a drama therapy workshop.
The second part of our homestay was in a hilltribe village populated by the Lahu people.We stayed with a Mirror foundation employee and his family and staying in this village gave us an insight in to there culture we would never had have otherwise.
Basically if you are thinking about going on an IVHQ volunteer trip to Thailand my advice would be-just do it :).

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Mar 12, 2011
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

Friends for Asia

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!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Mar 7, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

My time spent in the small hill tribe village of Huay Pakoot was among the most memorable experiences I have had up to date. Not only did the GVI staff offer help and guidance, but they also all exhibit the same passion and motivation that I aspire to emulate.

I cannot emphasise enough how important the Thai Elephant project and the Elephant Vet Aid Outpost (EVAO) are in the fight for saving the critically endangered Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) from the brink of extinction.

The accommodation in Huay Pakoot is basic at best, BUT it is equalised by the hospitality provided by your home stay families, who cook and cater three meals a day for each volunteer. I am a vegetarian and had no drama's in having my home stay meet my dietary requirements. In saying that, the food that the locals cook is AMAZING! All produce is grown and harvested in the local area, so if you like fresh food, Huay Pakoot is the place to be.

Experiences with the elephants can be close to say the least. As a part of the studies being performed, it is the volunteers job to measure the elephants in various places in order to calculate the weight of the elephant. Also, you may be lucky enough to go and bathe with the baby elephants as training to help acclimatise young elephants to human contact.

Overall, GVI has provided some much needed help to an area of conservation that is in dire need. I cannot wait to volunteer again in the near future.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Feb 14, 2011
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

I participated in the GVI Thailand Elephant project for a week in Jan 2011 with my Mum and had one of the best and most memorable travel experiences ever. We lived in Huay Pakoot, a remote Karen hilltribe village set in stunning mountains 5 hours out of Chiang Mai.

GVI was extremely professional and the project is so well run. We had ...so much hands on time in the field with the elephants, following them on long treks through mountainous terrain, feeding, observing, collecting data and even measuring them! The elephants are such beautiful animals and its wonderful to see the difference the project is making to their quality of life and that of their fabulous mahouts too. Witnessing the bonds the mahouts have with their elephants was something really special and the baby elephants are adorable and very cheeky!

Living with the hilltribe just enhanced our whole experience and they were so generous and cooked us amazing meals. It was great fun trying to communicate with them without sharing a language! It was basic but very comfortable accommodation with our own rooms and mosquito nets provided. No running water for showers and squat toilet facilities but in well built toilet blocks and they were kept very clean.

We were lucky to have a great group of fellow volunteers and got along really well, and our GVI leaders were fantastic. They had so much knowledge and were very compassionate and caring.

We were really so sad to leave and I definitely recommend staying longer than just one week on the project as it wasn't long enough! It was wonderful to be taken out of our comfort zones and really challenge ourselves and it was so rewarding to be able to contribute, even in a small way, to such a worthy project.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Feb 14, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Travel to Teach

It's not true taht the owner ( I ) am taking all teh profits from this company. Firstly there is no profit to take, since three years back our costs exceed our income but fortunately we have a reserv to use.

Secondly we do support some of then places, schools etc where we work, but not all. We have concentrated us to a few that really needs money to survive. This may make the apperance that we don't donate since only the volunteers that work in those places will see what we are doing.

Thirdly I don't like to travel and only do so when nessecary for the work i'm doing.

And last but not least, don't believe anything that anyone says but try to use some judgment. We are still one of the most affordable programs in this area and it seems everyone who has written here was happy with the program so why let some unfounded rumors spoil it?

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Feb 9, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Original Volunteers

denis & suvanna are fake. You are left to your own devices, no support, no advice and no contact. The children make up for the volunteer company, but their not here for us, we are here for them. Unfortunatly lack of support can make beneficial lesson plans a challenge. cowboys

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Sep 12, 2010
Overall:
5
Support:
0
Value:
5

Projects Abroad

I just recently volunteered with the Project Abroad program in the conservation project in Thailand. I have been to Thailand before so I had a picture in my mind of what to expect, not so fancy, low hygiene, small amounts of food, but boy was a wrong. When I got to the airport I was greeted by a projects staff where she took me to my new temporary home.
I started to get nervous because I happened to be the first two weeker to arrive and most of the other voluteers were out scuba diving on the boat. I was also the youngest in the project at the time so I wasn't quite sure whether or not I would fit in with the crowd. And again, boy was I wrong.
Once all the voluteers arrived back at the guesthouse it was dinner time. I was served delicious rice and chicken (like most days) and pad thai for lunch that day. During dinner many of the voluteers came up to me and greeted themselves making me feel very welcome, and I started to forget peoples' names there were so many, around 27!
As the days went on my group and I (the high school specials) goto introduced to Thailand with presentation from the staff and had our assignments in order to prep us for our upcoming scuba diving lessons in a local pool. It was such an overwhelming rush because the staff wanted us to learn as quick as possible so we could experience as much of the open water as we could.
Once we got into the water ready and trained it was amazing. As someone who has never scuba dived before my trip I can say that this is something that everyone should be able to have the chance to do at least once in their lives. Not only were we helping the environment but we got to experience a new world under water.
On the days that we weren't scuba diving we were helping local fisheries, and getting the local school children to help us with planting and cleaning mangroves. Those were our hardest days, but it was still nice to know that once you left the locals will still carry the information and example to keep you world a better place with them.
The rooms were very nice and clean with air conditioning included (which was needed, a nice bathroom with a shower with water pressure and a working toilet. The guesthouse was near town, about a 30 minuet walk or a 5 minuet tok -tok ride. There were many activities to do during the nights there so there was no time during my stay where I was not doing anything. The trip was luxurious! Much better then I expected.
My roommate and I got very close during this trip, and I made new friends all around the world that I will never forget.
Overall I think this trip was worthwhile and I would recommend it to everyone. Im hoping to continue my scuba diving experiences around the world and keep close to my new friends.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Aug 31, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
7
Value:
8

Comments

I am looking to go to Krabi, Thailand for 3 months. Is there any advice you can give me before I leave from England. Also is living with a host family adequate?

Real Gap

I went on the Thailand experience trip in 2009 and it turned out to be quite a mixed bag.. First thing I would say is we found out over there that Real Gap is actually not involved in the programme whatsoever and simply act as the go between for the company based in Thailand. Due to this there were a number of wrong descriptions that Real Gap claimed to be the case.
Overall due to some bad luck, the location we were staying in got flooded out, up until this point everything had been fine but here things started to fall apart. With all belongings wet/missing, we tried to contact real gaps emergency helpline since the staff in Thailand weren't doing anything. (actually a 24 hour hotline for an array of companies so that was extremely useless.) Someone also cut their leg open after slipping and we found out that no one had any first aid experience, had to be taxi'd to hospital without any support.
All in all.. I would say that had that not happened then the whole thing would have gone smoothly enough (if a little questionable with some 'descriptions' being inaccurate by real gap). All I can say is that when things went wrong it really showed the lack of support available.
Overall the whole trip was decent and enjoyable, if not exceptional or what's quite expected, i'd recommend going with another company if you can - do lots of research to find a good one.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Thailand
Posted: Jul 11, 2010
Overall:
6
Support:
3
Value:
5

Comments

Do you know the name of the company that Real Gap go through at all?

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Thailand