Travel to two amazing South Asian countries and discover the magic that draws people to this region of the world throughout the year. Join a team of like-minded international volunteers and contribute to long-term sustainable healthcare initiatives in the beautiful towns of Phang Nga and Pokhara.
In Thailand, you will be surrounded by stunning picturesque beaches while you volunteer with within the local community. You will be working with children that are physically or mentally disabled, suffering from other ailments or are injured by assisting with rehabilitative activities and exercises designed to stimulate their bodies and minds. You may also find yourself travelling to local schools, care centres and community centres to assist our local partners with health and hygiene education workshops.
Following the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, our projects adjusted focus to provide disaster relief to those in need. In conjunction with our partners, trucks of supplies and family care packages were taken to some of the most affected areas. Now our projects are focused on initiatives within our local communities, who have needs around education and improving educational facilities.
While surrounded by three of the world’s highest mountains in Nepal, you will be volunteering your time on a variety of health-based initiatives. Volunteers will be providing health support for people with special needs and assisting in the training of teachers, health care workers and families in order to help the community provide the medical assistance to those that need it the most.
No previous training is required. However, if you have prior experience in the health sector or in working with disabled people, please let us know so we can utilise your skills.
Please note travel between Nepal, India and Laos is not included, but please speak to your Country Expert who will be able to advise you on your options and costs involved.
Experience two fascinating regions, cultures and traditions; meet volunteers from across the world; live and work in the world’s tallest mountain range; experience a way of life most tourists miss out on; discover two regions known for their natural beauty and wonders; make a genuine difference to the local communities and make an immediate impact on the overall health of people lacking sufficient medical support.
"It’s hard not to ramble on about every single experience on offer in Pokhara and Phang Nga. I guess the most effective way to communicate it is to say GO (!!), see it and experience it for yourself, it’s absolutely unreal!"
These updates cover all programs in this location
While living in the picturesque town of Phang Nga, you will spend your time volunteering from Monday to Friday at a social centre for disabled children leading simple games, exercises, play or art therapy and learning activities. At other times, you might find yourself teaching and leading health and hygiene education and sports programmes at the nearby school and care centre.
After a day’s work, you will return to base, where you can relax with your fellow volunteers and prepare for the next day’s activities. Accommodation will be basic dormitory style with electricity and cold running water. The area where you will be based is extremely diverse and has access to a great number of various activities and amenities.
On weekends, you are free to explore the nearby area, relax on the pristine beaches or venture further out. Explore Khao Sok National Park; Phuket Island; kayak around Cheow Larn; visit the amazing limestone rock formations or take part in the other numerous side trips that the region offers!
From Monday to Friday you will volunteering in an integrated special needs school. Due to the nature of the project, no two days are the same and there are a number of ways to contribute while on the project. Daily tasks can possibly include leading rehabilitative exercises, teaching life skills, running one to one activities with children or teaching basic first aid. You may also assist teachers on health and hygiene education, training the local community in exercises and activities they can do with their disabled family members. While the work can be emotionally and physically challenging it is also hugely rewarding.
Accommodation will be shared bedrooms and bathrooms in a local family home near to your volunteer placement, giving you the unique opportunity to truly experience life inside a Nepalese community.
On weekends, you are encouraged to explore the area and take part in one of the various optional side trips the location has to offer such as trekking through some of the best hiking trails in the world, water-water rafting, or bungee jumping. If it is adventure you are looking for – Nepal is the perfect place to get your adrenaline fix!
If you would prefer to stay in private accommodation while on this project, both locations do offer upgrades. Contact us for more information, or mention to your Country Expert who will be able to assist you.
What's Not Included
In Thailand, you will be working in a social centre for disabled children leading simple games, exercises, play or art therapy and learning activities with children based there. At other times you will be teaching and leading health and hygiene education and sports programs at the local school and care centre. Other opportunities for teaching and support in other sectors of the community may be available during your stay and is subject to demand from the community and our local partners.
While assisting local communities in Nepal, you will be providing immediate support to those who do not often receive sufficient attention. You will be getting involved in leading rehabilitative exercises, teaching basic First Aid, assisting in learning activities and taking health and hygiene workshops, so will be providing welcome support to a variety of individuals in a variety of ways.
How this project makes a difference
In Thailand the infrastructure, support and resources for the disabled is extremely limited. The added support to the families of these individuals helps reduce their burden and provide them with tools they can use at home. Leading simple health related exercises in local schools and communities can be used for exercise, relaxation and focusing the mind as well as providing basic stimulation. Basic health and hygiene education and support will make the difference in the overall quality of the community’s lives.
You will be involved in one to one special needs education and training the wider community of Nepal in basic health care. This means that the work you do has both immediate and long-term benefits, and goes a long way in addressing the problems caused by the shortage of resources and skilled labour in the Nepalese health care system.
What's Not Included
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate in programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on the programme.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Thailand and Nepal!
Optional Side Trips
Explore the amazing Khao Sok National Park, including the stunning Cheow Larn Lake and 740km² of rainforest and which is home to elephants, leopards, tigers, deer, monkeys, lizards, birds, and the Rafflesia – the largest flowers in the world, 90cm across with a unique aroma… of rotting flesh! Take a day trip for a quick sample of the park’s delights or stay overnight and discover even more – perhaps in one of the jungle tree houses, or even on a bungalow that floats on the lake. Trek through the jungle, kayak around Cheow Larn lake visiting spectacular limestone caves, swim in idyllic waterfalls or just relax and see what you can spot!
Phuket Island, about 90mins south of Khao Lak and renowned for its colourful nightlife is also a great stop-off for divers and snorkelers, but if you’re not the diving type you can explore Phang Nga Bay by speedboat or sea kayak, stopping off at James Bond Island, made famous by the 1974 film ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ before visiting the floating Sea Gypsy village. Phuket is also very popular with surfers, playing host to annual surfing competitions, though there is a great ‘secret spot’ near Khao Lak… if you’re interested GVI staff will show you the way!
Neighbouring Krabi Province is a treasure trove for intrepid travellers; from the crystal clear Emerald Pond to the epic 1,237-step climb up to the Buddha image and stunning views at the Tiger Temple Cave to the enchanted scenery and pools of Than Bok Khoranee National Park to the shopping and late night bars of Ao Nang to the chilled out beaches of Koh Lanta Island to the parties of Phi, where ‘The Beach’ was filmed – the options are truly endless!
In Nepal, you are in a true adventure region. Don’t worry if you forget to pack your adrenaline, with these options, there are ample opportunities to top it up!
From a two day rafting or kayaking trip on the white-water of the Trisuli or Seti Rivers, to Paragliding over the incredible scenery to mountain biking, canyoning and bungee jumping, you could spend weeks here and still not do everything.
But if the adventure side of things becomes too much, Nepal will continue to provide and surprise you. Besides sightseeing in Kathmandu and Pokhara, you could try a three-day/two-night elephant safari in the Chitwan National Park staying at the Royal Park Hotel, chancing upon tigers and rhinos out on drives. Also, if throwing yourself off of high places attached to a kite is not your thing, Nepal boasts some of the best hiking trails in the world. Embark on a four-day trek in the Annapurna Mountains, where you will immerse with the villages and communities of the High Himal.
Further Travelling Opportunities
Thailand is a country with a whole range of fantastic places that you could visit. If you have the time and budget, you could consider going to see the following; the waterfalls of the picturesque Khao Yai National Park, the mountain town of Chiang Mai, the local tribes of Nam Province, the beaches of Ko Tao and Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park, the golden kingdom of Ayuthaya, the temples and nightlife of Bangkok and many more…
There is a wealth of opportunities in Nepal for further travel and exploration of the rest of the country. This can include the foothills of the Himalayas in Langtang National Park, the ancient temples and villages of Tansen, Newari architecture in Bandipur, the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, Everest Base Camp, the ancient Hindu centre of Janakpur, and so many other options that will leave you wondering why you didn’t give yourself more time…
Meet Binita, one of our lovely field staff members working on our childcare projects in Pokhara, Nepal. Before joining GVI, this Nepalese music lover helped struggling students in Kathmandu with their studies and decided that she wanted to help more.
Binita is passionate about her job at GVI and how she has been able to make a difference in the lives of others. She is enthusiastic about motivating the local local staff and helping them to learn new ideas. “My main highlight would be meeting the volunteers from around the world and sharing my country with them.” She loves welcoming new volunteers and appreciates all the fresh ideas that they bring to the project.
Her most memorable travel experience was when she travelled to Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini, Nepal, to visit the different temples and to learn more about her religion. Binita’s proudest accomplishment since working with GVI was seeing the children become more confident in their English and achieving higher grades. She is not all work and no play; she can make 15 momos (steamed dumplings) in a minute!
Assistant Director of Programs
Meet Jill, our Assistant Director of Programs and line manager for Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Australia and Kenya programs. ‘Manow’ (lime), as she’s locally known in Thailand where she's based, taught English, environmental education and art in the USA and Thailand before joining us to set up a TEFL and Community Development Expedition. “I haven’t looked back since!”
When Jill isn’t working, she likes reading or doing just about anything energetic. “I devour books, love cooking and enjoy finding some time to get some exercise – yoga, dancing and aerobics are some of my faves.”
What does Jill like most about her job? “It’s great to see volunteers rising above the cultural and language barriers between themselves and the communities. That, and every day is completely different, which is the way I like it- it keeps me from getting bored.” Being ‘allergic’ to being bored has led to Manow doing some pretty amazing things. “I once ended up spending a week living in a cave with some Buddhist monks while I helped them build a small adobe monk hut.”
Lok Bahadur Gurung
Meet Lok, our Community Liason in Pokhara. Lok is bona fide Nepalese and worked as a kayaking instructor prior to joining GVI.
Being the Community Liason, Lok is involved in all projects we have based in Pokhara. His favourite aspect of his job? Working with the volunteers. “I get to meet amazing people from around the world and I love getting to know them. I feel that not only the volunteers, but myself as well gain a great cultural exchange.”
How do the volunteers assist Lok in his work on the projects? “They’re great at helping the kids gain the confidence to speak English and thereby improve their chances at a better future. Thanks to the volunteers, over 400 children now have access to a healthier learning environment!”
Meet Cheryl, our Base Manager in Nepal. A former teacher, headmaster and special needs educator, she was the first volunteer on our ‘Grade R’ project in Cape Town, and was exactly who we needed.
Cheryl’s main highlight since being involved with GVI? “When we first started 'book-time' at the educare centre, the children didn’t really appreciate books and stories. We were pretty persistent and the children now easily sit and enjoy a book for almost an hour, even the toddlers! It’s led to such a great improvement in their language skills, attention span and ability to learn. I’m also really proud of the work we have done concerning protecting children’s rights, especially in social media. We’ve set a really good standard.”
What does Cheryl think volunteers bring to the project? “The volunteers never cease to amaze me with their skills and talents! It’s so important to use these talents as best we can. These things have made a difference to the teacher’s ability to provide a program, and therefore, to the children’s ability to learn.
Meet Ruth, our Project Manager in Nepal. Although she’s a qualified skipper and dreams of joining the Honour Fiji journey, she says there’s nothing quite like Nepal. “Waking up to the magical Himalayan Mountains is absolutely breath-taking!”
Apart from discovering that drinking turmeric in hot water cures a cold (!), Ruth has also seen the impact that the volunteers have had in the time that she’s been there by the changes in the local children’s English and learning abilities, and the trust that’s been built with the local community.
What does Ruth think about what the volunteers bring to the table? ‘Volunteers have assisted me with work that we couldn’t do without the extra pairs of hands. If we didn’t have volunteers, it would be simply impossible to help so many worthwhile projects in Pokhara.”