Thailand Summer Volunteer Program 2015The ‘Summer Special’ is the ultimate way for the first time traveler and experienced adventurers alike to explore Thailand responsibly. Join us for a bustling weekend in Bangkok where you will see the best sights, experience the fun night life and help support the city’s poorest communities. Then watch the countryside roll by as you journey to the Elephant Capital, Surin. Here you will discover the importance of Surin’s beautiful Silk trade and then get some amazing ‘face to trunk’ time, living amongst Elephants as part of one of Thailand’s friendliest communities.
Next it’s time to support the Surin community, working at a local project to help the community. Before heading back to Bangkok, it’s time to challenge yourself by trekking through one of Thailand’s most beautiful National Parks in true Indiana Jones fashion. We’re then off back to Bangkok as it’s now time to bid a sad farewell – or is it? If you’re not ready to leave just yet, why not join us for a 7 day party on the beautiful beaches of Koh Pangnan!
All the elements for a very special summer, indeed.
- Location Surin
- Arrival airport Bangkok (BKK)
- Currency Thai Baht
- Population 50000
- Language Thai
- Time Zone UTC + 07:00
What our Volunteers say
I absolutely loved my trip, was easily the best trip I have ever experienced. I wish I could do it again but I wanna go to a different country with Volunteering Solutions.
Chun Hoe Ho (Canada)
I just wanted to thank you for everything and this three week ThaiIand program was beyond amazing! I had the time of my life! It was so much fun and the coordinators were incredible
Devon Adlawan (USA)
I absolutely loved my program placement and it was really a nice experience and I believe I'll go to other countries with Volunteer Solution again.
Mengli (Liana) He (China)
I very much enjoyed my program placement and everything I did is a highlight for me. I will surely recommend this program to anyone who is interested in going to Thailand.
Keenan Romain (USA)
Thailand Summer Volunteer Program Schedule
- Duration: 3 weeks
- Start dates: 26 June, 10 July, 24 July, 7 August 2015
- Working hours: 4-5 hours, 5 days (Monday to Friday)
- Weekends: Travel/Sightseeing included in Cost
- Friday - First Day of Program - Orientation Session- Welcome to Thailand, introduction to the program in Bangkok, safety issues, basic culture and history about Thailand. Also learn about your program schedule and tour program to follow.
- Minimum Age requirement: 17 Years
- Tour of the highlights of Bangkok.
- Shop for amazing bargains at the South East Asia’s biggest outdoor market, Chattuchak
- Live and work amongst Elephants in a traditional Thai village.
- Volunteer alongside a real Thai community on projects that matter to them.
- Jungle Trek through the beautiful National Park of Khao Yai
- Optional 7 day extension on the stunning, party island capital of Thailand, Koh Pangnan
- Fully guided (except optional beach extension) and supported by the friendliest team in Thailand
Summer Program Itinerary
Arrival: Let us take the hassle away from you by arranging a private pick up from the airport direct to your hotel. Relax for the evening or venture out onto Khao San Road on your own for a taste of what’s to come. You can tell us all about it tomorrow morning!
After breakfast your Guide will discuss your itinerary with you. Expect to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Bangkok on your first full day in this bustling city. We will go into detail on every aspect of your trip, from cultural faux pas and essential phrases, to the day to day logistics of getting from ‘A to B’. For the 'Grand Bangkok Tour'. You will be guided through the busy city streets, and experience canal life, to arrive at the most sacred temple in Thailand, The Grand Palace (Wat Phra Kaew). Also on the tour are the incredible Wat Pho and Wat Arun which are both must-see attractions – don’t forget your camera. Allow your personal 'font of knowledge' guide inform you of their historical significance and any other questions you might have. In the evening we’ll have a ‘welcome meal’ introducing you to one of the highlight of Thailand – the food!
Ready to shop for souvenirs? Chattuchak or JJ is the largest open air market in South East Asia where everything from fish to statues, t-shirts to paintings, DVDs to ‘antiques’ can be haggled for. Spend a day exploring this glorious market of everything and anything. You’re sure to find a bargain or three and the food-stalls are awesome.
Today you’ll put a little bit back into Bangkok by volunteering at a local temple school. Get your creative juices flowing to put together fun English activities for local children all dying to get to practice their speaking with you. Lots of fun and a great opportunity to see the ‘local’s’ Bangkok.
Today it’s time to leave Bangkok for now and head to Surin. The journey takes around 6-7 hours and takes you through Bangkok’s suburbs, through the edges of a National Park and eventually into a seemingly never ending view of rice fields, palm trees and villages. This IS Thailand! Once you arrive in the town we’ll get you checked into your hotel and then it’s time for a local orientation and a little bit of relaxtion.
Day 6 - 9
As a volunteer on this project you will instantly become a part of the community. During this time period, volunteers will work with elephants and accommodation will be provided with host family. You will be expected to help out with the daily chores which include preparing and cooking three meals each day, helping out with small community-based projects and more. In addition, you will help to care for the elephants on a daily basis.
The elephants are a never ending source of work - they need feeding, washing and heaps of love and care. You may then need to take them on a walk through the surrounding area and to the river for a swim. Whilst at the river you could be asked to help catch fish for lunch or even head off for a kayak trip. Each evening the elephants need preparing for sleep. They need another wash, more f
In the evening of Day 9, give your taste buds a real adventure by exploring Surin’s night market. With a huge array of food – ranging from Thai classics to something for only the most adventurous – get ready for some serious spice and incredible food.
Today you are free to explore Surin on your own or simply relax. Our guides can help recommend various activities for you to do.
Day 11 - 15
5 days volunteering at a local temple childcare centre. Learn about and help at this Day Care centre for young children and play a part in the on-going development of the centre.With a combination of working with the children (activities / basic language / arts and craft) and renovation / development this is a great opportunity to give something back to the local Surin community.
Day 16 / 17
You’ve had a hard few days on the volunteer project so enjoy a weekend of rest and relaxation back in Surin. Your guide and the full-time Surin team will be able to suggestions of places to visit and things to do and Surin town itself has lots of places to explore and enjoy the ‘heart’ of Thailand.
Check out of your hotel and travel with us to the beautiful National park of Khao Yai. Spend time relaxing at your hotel before your Jungle adventure tomorrow.
Spend the day trekking through the Jungle with our expert guides. This will be an adventure!. Visit some beautiful waterfalls and stunning scenic view from Pha Daew Dai lookout. Khao Yai is a natural choice for a Wild Watch adventure so bring your camera along as you might glimpse some of the world’s most amazing animals in their natural habitats. No, we don’t mean the staff!
Take the train or coach back to the Big Mango for one last party where it all started. It’s been a memorable journey so far, and tonight is an opportunity for you to celebrate everything you’ve achieved and bid farewell to our team and your new friends.
Our team will help you with everything you need to prepare for your journey back home. However if you’re not ready to head home just yet – grab the overnight coach with us to Koh Pangnan for another week of partying and relaxing on the beach. Cost for Beach Week Extension is $295 / £207 / €245
BEACH WEEK EXTENSION (OPTIONAL)If you’re choosing the beach extension option (and why not – the beaches of Thailand are rightly famous not only for their beauty but also some of the best parties around) your itinerary will be as follows (NOTE: The beach extension week is unguided but all travel tickets and accommodation are provided and your guide will give you all the information you need BEFORE you head off!)
In the evening you’ll board a coach and head off to the South of Thailand.
Early in the morning you’ll transfer to the ferry to Koh Phangan – arriving at the pier of this stunning island around mid-morning. Your accommodation will send a local taxi (like a pick up truck with seats in the back) to meet you and get your checked in and to start your beach experience.
Days 23 - 28
Spend the next 6 days relaxing, snorkelling, exploring or partying – it really is up to you. There are lots of tours and excursion easily booked through the local accommodation or just grab a bottle of water and head off to explore.
Sorry – it’s time to check out and leave this paradise. Onwards tickets are not included – you may decide that beach life is for you and hang out a little more, explore Thailand further or, unfortunately be heading home. Whatever you choose, your accommodation will be able to advise you on the best way to travel.
Cost for Beach Week Extension is $295 / £207 / €245
Start / Arrival Dates
Summer Special Thailand 2015
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Thailand Summer Special Program Cost
Volunteering Solutions strives hard to keep costs low and offers one of the most affordable volunteer abroad programs. Compare our prices and services to other organizations and you would be surprised to see the difference.
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Thailand Summer Special 2015 Cost
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Thailand Summer Special 2015 Cost
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Thailand Summer Special 2015 Cost
what are you Paying For?
- Airport pick up
- All accommodation (hotel, volunteer house and home stay combo)
- Local guide
- All project costs
- All activities and local transportation
- Food while on elephant project
- 24hr support from Local staff
- Pre departure Info pack before departure
- Travel and Medical Insurance ( available at extra cost)
What's NOT Included?
- Visa Fee
- Return Trip to Airport
Living and Other Arrangements
As a VolSol volunteer you are provided with best of living standards available in Thailand. Our dedicated coordinator and staff will assist you with your airport pick up, stay, meals and even weekend sightseeing and travel. Arrive in peace and have the best time of your life.
Airport Receive/ TransferVolunteers are picked up from the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok by the local coordinator or representative on your program start date between 6am - 10pm.
OrientationAll volunteers are provided with an orientation and brief about your trip during the summer. The Orientation session covers areas like, local Thai culture, greetings, locations, transportation etc. Volunteers are also given a city Tour of Bangkok.
Volunteers are provided accommodation in a Guesthouse/ hotel for two nights in Bangkok on arrival (Friday and Saturday). In Surin, lodging will be in one of our three volunteer houses where accommodation is shared with other volunteers. The houses are centrally located and close to shopping, ATM’s, restaurants and more.
Local TransportationDaily transportation to and from the project placement to the volunteer house is provided to the volunteers.
During your Free TimeIn Surin there are many local bars, shops and restaurants in the town plus a night food market. The city is an extremely safe place to stay. Surin province once belonged to the Khmer empire (now Cambodia) so you’ll find scattered ancient temples from the same period as the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. The land border crossing in to Cambodia is located just an hour from Surin and is easily accessible from the town’s bus station. This accessibility allow volunteers to travel to Cambodia during weekends.
Frequently asked questions
Application and Program Details
VolSol recommends all its international volunteers to apply well in advance. Our major booking seasons are between January to July and September to December. To avoid losing your spot in the volunteer placement, book in advance.
Are there any necessary requirements to participate in the Surin-based volunteer programs?
- Minimum age requirement to participate in any of the programs in Surin is 18 years and above. The minimum age requirement for taking part in the Summer Special Volunteer Program is 17 years.
The other requirements are as follows :-
- Criminal background check for children project
- The medical / health programme is most appropriate for people who either are qualified medical / healthcare professionals or studying towards a medical / healthcare qualification.
However, the programme can also accept those who are seriously considering a healthcare career. In this case however you are only going to be able to observe and learn rather than become directly involved in hands on work with patients. For those who are qualified healthcare professional we do need to see a copy of your certification / credentials.
Can I volunteer as part of a Group?
The number of volunteers in Surin at any given time depends on the time of year and the programme. The busiest months are May – August when you may need to book early as places do fill up very quickly and there can be as many as 35-40 volunteers working on different projects but all living in the volunteer houses. At other times of year there are usually other volunteers on projects in Surin but this can’t be guaranteed until all bookings have been taken! However, please note that the team in Surin are excellent at involving you not only at the project but also in the evening and free time. Even if you travel as an individual (and most of our participants do) you will soon find yourself becoming part of the volunteer community in Surin – a mixture of our local team and other participants in the programmes.
Volunteering Solutions encourages its participants to volunteer in a group. Especially in at the elephant program, where you would enjoy taking care of elephants as a team.
We welcome high school groups, college and university groups as well as Corporate groups in the Surin, Thailand Programs.
When do I need to arrive in Surin for my program? What will happen once I arrive here?
You have to arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok on the given arrival day which is a Friday. One of our team members will meet you at the airport and take you to the initial accommodation in Bangkok. However, please note that we can only offer this service between 06:00 am and 10:00pm. Those volunteers who are already in Bangkok can come directly to the hotel accommodation in Bangkok on the arrival day and meet the team there. The accommodation is on Khao San Road (the hub of all things ‘traveller’ in Bangkok and is easy to get to. On the Saturday your coordinator will take you to the tour of Bangkok and on the Sunday you will transfer to Surin (by train or coach) and then settle into your project accommodation . So, for 2 nights accommodation is provided by VolSol in Bangkok for the volunteers.
How do I get to the program location?
Our local team accompany you to Surin and then your project co-ordinator and team will take you to your project location, and back to your accommodation, each day.
Flights and Visa
Most people participating in a short term volunteer travel experience in Thailand enter the country on a 30 day tourist visa which is available to most nationalities on arrival at the airport. It’s also possible to obtain a 60 day tourist visa prior to arrival in Thailand.
We can also help you obtain a 90 day visa for volunteering – this takes much longer to apply for and requires a fair amount of paperwork so please contact us for further information.
Please do note that if you leave Thailand during you time volunteering (for example to spend a weekend in Cambodia) it is your responsibility to ensure that you will be able to re-enter Thailand and can get the relevant visa at the border and note that the maximum duration of visa at the local Surin / Cambodia border is 15 days.
What are the recommended inexpensive airline options to fly to Bangkok with?
All major airlines fly through Bangkok and it is one of the busiest hubs in Asia. The cost of flights – and best airlines to use – depend on where you are flying from but please do ensure that you land at BKK airport. Some low cost local airlines land at Don Muang (DMK) which is the old Bangkok airport and we’re not able to manage volunteer pick ups from this airport. Volunteers are provided pickup from Suvarnabhumi International Airport only.
Health & Safety
Surin is one of the friendliest parts of Thailand and somewhere where you can still experience traditional South East Asian smiles and hospitality. Crime rates are very low (although of course it is always sensible to take care late at night and not have items of high value with you) and you’ll find that people are keen to help visitors. Safety is of prime importance to us and our local team live very close to the volunteer accommodation and are always contactable.
Bangkok is of course a much bigger city and whilst there is more crime, with simple precautions it is a very safe place to be. The main precautions are to keep your money in a front pocket (not a wallet in your back pocket) and not to party too hard – almost all incidents with travellers in Bangkok are a result of ‘partying’ and being out very late at night.
What immunizations/vaccinations will I need?
Surin, as with much of Thailand, is a very healthy place to visit. You can expect the odd upset stomach as you get used to different food but other than that most visitors feel positively healthy and refreshed after spending time here. However, please do take precautions to cover up from early evening to avoid mosquito bites (Surin town doesn’t have a high malaria risk but bites can be annoying). Please visit your local doctor / travel clinic who may recommend vaccinations prior to travel to Thailand.
Accommodation and Living
Clothing very much depends on which project you are taking part in. For Medical / Health, Teaching and Childcare you should make sure you pack some smart / casual clothes for whilst you are at the project – ie trousers, polo shirt, skirt – as a ‘smart’ appearance is important in Thailand (don’t worry – you don’t need formal office wear!).
At the elephant project you need old clothes – jeans / t-shirts / shorts – that you don’t mind getting dirty / torn and an old pair of trainers / sneakers.
For out of project time for all projects we recommend plenty of t-shirts, lightweight ‘trousers’, jeans and shorts. Please note that Thailand is a conservative country and shorts mustn’t be ‘too short’ and tops should ideally cover shoulders and not be too low cut.
Don’t forget ‘flip flops’ / sandals – much cooler on your feet in the evenings
For those travelling between November and February please note that the evenings can get quite cool so a sweater / light jacket will come in very handy.
I want to know more about accommodation and food arrangements?
VolSol provides accommodation for volunteers in volunteer houses. The houses have shared bedrooms – 3-5 people per room – which are fan cooled. They have shared bathrooms, a basic kitchen area and a small communal living area. All are kept clean by a local housekeeper who also offers to wash clothes for a small fee. Please note that toilets whilst ‘Western’ style do require that you pour water into the toilet bowl (from a bucket) rather than have an automatic flush. This is very common in Thailand and saves a huge amount of water.
The houses are in a great location with numerous food options within less than 5 minutes walk. Our local team will show you around on arrival.
Wi-fi connections are not great in Surin. The system usually works well but please don’t expect to be able to be online 24/7.
For those at the elephant project, you will stay in a homestay in the elephant village Monday – Wednesday evening. The accommodation in the village is simple but gives you the great experience of real rural life. Shared rooms with fans and simple bedding (mattresses on the floor), basic cold water showers and no wi-fi at all. However, you’ll soon find that the experience of staying in the village far outweighs any lack of creature comforts.
Meals are not included in the programmes other than whilst you are at the elephant village where simple but delicious food is provided. However, half the fun of time in Thailand is experiencing the huge range of different food on offer and Surin is a great place to do this. From simple meat dishes with rice to complex curries and even fried insects – tuck in and enjoy ‘real’ Thai food.
Is Phone and internet available on projects?
We find that pretty much every participant on our programmes arrives with a mobile phone and for most phones it’s easy to pick up a local SIM card to use whilst you are in Thailand. If your handset is ‘locked’, don’t worry – a simple handset for SMS and calls can be bought for less and $25.
Internet connections can be patchy in Thailand and whilst the houses do have wi-fi this service is never fast and often seems to stop working – part of the fun of living in rural Thailand. Please don’t expect to have 24/7 online service!
When you are at your project you won’t have access to the internet unless you use a data roaming package from home (very expensive) or buy a local package.
Can vegetarians be accommodated?
Yes – although please ensure that you tell the local team and they can help ensure you are able to order the best food!
Would I have free time during my program? Can I do sightseeing during my program?
Yes, you will get ample time to do so and this is half of the experience! Projects in Surin run from Monday – Thursday giving you Friday – Sunday each week to relax and / or explore. Whilst many volunteers enjoy relaxing in Surin and enjoying the town, others enjoy weekend trips to Khao Yao (a stunning National Park with great trekking around 3 hours away), even longer trips to Koh Samet – an island off the East coast – or even a weekend in Cambodia.
Are there more expenses once I arrive in Surin?
Your program fee covers you for accommodation, airport pick up, Orientation, Pre departure information and in country staff support. You will need to cover yourself for your personal expenses, such as traveling, telephone, internet, shopping, sightseeing etc. However you should carry around $100 per week for your basic personal expenses, such as food, water, local transport, phone etc.
What hours will I volunteer every day?
VolSol volunteers usually work for 5 to 6 hours a day depending on the program type. Medical / Health, Teaching and Childcare all usually run from around 08:00am to 2:30 / 3:00pm Monday – Thursday although local festivals etc can change these timings. For those on the elephant programme, you spend 3.5 days a week in the village so the experience is 24X7.
Where can I change my money in Surin? Are there ATMs in Surin?
There are ATM machines in the arrival area of Bangkok airport and it’s a good idea to change some money as soon as you arrive. Most overseas bank cards work at ATM’s machines in Thailand although please do note that there is a 150THB charge for using an ATM card from overseas.
Throughout Thailand there a ATM machines all over and it’s easy to withdraw money from your bank account at home. However, please note that at if you are going to the elephant village you need to take cash with you for snacks, evening drinks etc.
We recommend that when you travel to Thailand you bring a small amount of initial cash – to change on arrival – and then use your ATM card from home. Travellers cheques can take a long time to change (and you need to go to a bank during office hours, not easy when you are at your project).
Volunteer in Thailand - Surin
Thailand - STAFF PROFILE
Nam has been working with international volunteers in Thailand since 2009. She has the experience of working with over 1000 volunteers from around the world in Thailand. Nam manages the operations in Surin along with 6 other support staff who work under her.