Travel to the exquisite and idyllic Andaman region and experience white sand beaches and tropical jungle as you become immersed in the local culture. Contribute to helping the communities improve their future opportunities while living and working in a side of Thailand that so many tourists miss out on.
You will be teaching English in local schools so that children can develop their language skills in order to work towards better future education and work opportunities, while we aim to help the community overall to improve their quality of life through education and maintain their unique culture.
You will have the opportunity to experience a culture and a way of life that most tourists miss on the normal tourist trail. Visit local natural highlights such as limestone rock formations, amazing caves and white sandy beaches with crystal emerald waters. Learn how to cook Thai food, speak basic Thai, and immerse yourself in this vibrant and welcoming culture.
"Life on base was something that worried me before I arrived. Sharing a bedroom with 11 others, living out of a backpack and no hot water? How was I going to cope? I can honestly say that life on base is great. Everyone works hard to keep the camp clean and tidy and it really does feel like home. It's nice to get back from a hard day at school and just chill out with everyone and share stories. I have made friends from all over the world and have never laughed so much in my life."
What's Not Included
Monday to Friday
The majority of your time, Monday through Friday, will be spent teaching English classes and assisting local teachers, playing games and leading educational activities that will improve the eager children’s conservational English.
Although rewarding, your days can be long and tiring as you keep up with the children’s energy and enthusiasm, but both the children and their families are extremely appreciative of all your hard work as you see the difference you can make first hand.
Our base is small but comfortable with shared facilities, with enough space for people to relax together. The GVI base has access to cold running water, electricity and internet connection. While on project you will also receive simple yet delicious Thai meals cooked locally.
Also, if you would prefer to stay in private accommodation while on this project, this location does 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 the community where you will be teaching your presence is invaluable. Classrooms are often overcrowded and teachers need enthusiastic volunteers like you to ease their workload, give the children some extra attention and more exposure to spoken English. You may be teaching with fellow volunteers, assisting local Thai teachers or occasionally teaching your own classes.
You will also be required to practise English with the wider community, providing them with the language skills to be able to take advantage of the increase in tourism in the area.
Our goal is to help our local partner communities develop by providing the children with the necessary skills for improving their future opportunities, all while highlighting the importance in preserving and appreciating the fascinating culture.
How this project makes a difference:
GVI works directly with local schools to provide hardworking English teachers for the Thai children. Because of the growth of tourism in the area, English teachers are in great demand. Most good jobs are in the tourism industry and require conversational English skills and by providing these kids with English education, they will have the opportunity to improve their futures and break the cycle of poverty.
What's Not Included
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on 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. Below is some information on trips and travel options in Thailand.
Optional Side Trips
Take advantage of the amazing sites and scenery the Andaman region of Thailand has to offer. There are endless opportunities to visit islands, beaches, parks and caves and many can be done on weekends. While on the ground, we are here to help so make sure to ask our field staff to assist you with planning 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!
Khao Lak is a very popular tourist spot close by, with beautiful, seemingly endless beaches, so many dining options you’ll be spoilt for choice and hundreds of spas offering massages and treatments at reasonable rates. With a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to hostels, Khao Lak offers you the chance to spoil yourself for a few days, whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge a little.
The Similan and Surin Island groups, both under the protection of their Marine National Park status, are home to some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the region. You can take a day trip, stay on a live aboard boat or even stay overnight on the islands themselves.
Phuket Island, about 90mins south of Khao Lak and renowned for its colourful night life 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 speed-boat 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 Phi, where ‘The Beach’ was filmed - the options are truly endless!
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…
Meet Molly, our hard working country director for both Thailand and Laos. Over seeing operations in two countries is no easy task but Molly is more than capable.
She started volunteering and travelling at a young age, working in soup kitchens, with AmeriCorps, at animal shelters, as a Big Sister with Big Brother Big Sisters of America and as a Guardian ad Litem. She studied family development and psychology and loves to dance.
Her goal is to visit one country for every year she is alive. The most unusual place she has travelled to is Uzbekistan, on a trip beginning in Europe and ending in Southeast Asia. This is where she fell in love with Laos which began her journey with GVI. She started working for GVI back in 2012 and she is now based in Thailand. GVI has hubs all around the world and she has been lucky enough to visit the hubs in Nepal, Thailand, Laos and the office in South Africa.
Conservation project coordinator
Meet Katie, our brilliant conservation project coordinator in Phang Nga, Thailand. She is experienced in environmental education, working within zoos and outreach programmes in the UK, teaching a huge range, from pre-school children through to university students.
From a young age she travelled to many unique and culturally diverse places with her family.
During her short term internship with GVI, at Jalova Biological Research Station, she developed and advanced her surveying, research and project development skills whilst working in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.
Her must bring travel item is her trusty camera; "There is not a day that goes by where I don't encounter a moment that I want to capture, especially when exploring the worlds natural beauty."
Meet Dora, our insightful base manager in Phang Nga, Thailand. She has spent much of her life traveling, studying and volunteering all over the world. She grew up in China but felt the need to explore the world. She's lived in many different countries such as Egypt, Japan and the Phillippines,saying that she's not one to stay in one place for very long. She's also explored most of Europe an the west of the USA.
She has a BA in international relations focusing on the continents of Africa and Asia. She's also a certified, open water NAU diver.
Her favourite thing about working for GVI is how every day is different and how meeting so many new people has taught her so much about herself. She's a real life traveller and we're lucky to have her on board.
Meet Karissa, our vibrant country expert for our Cape Town and Thailand, Phang Nga, hubs. She loves travelling and has had her fair share of travelling too. Her first solo travel was to New Zealand to work as an Au Pair, followed by Fiji for over a year. She then travelled to Thailand, where she met her South African partner and worked as an English Teacher at a public High School.
Karissa is TEFL qualified and has first-hand experience of working abroad. What first attracted her to join GVI? “The amazing volunteer projects and stunning locations across the world.”
She moved to Cape Town in November 2015 from her home country, the USA, and is loving every minute of being able to call South Africa her new home!
Caroline Van Der Does De Willebois
Service Learning Manager Thailand
A conservationist and adventurer at heart with a passion for sustainable development and marine conservation. Caroline has a Master's degree in International Development and past experience working with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, educational marine conservation with the Marine Megafauna Foundation in Mozambique, and dive instructing in Thailand.
Caroline believes that GVI's combination of conservation and community development projects helps us to reach a true and sustainable impact in the field.
Her travels have taken her all over the world, but she is grateful to have returned to Thailand to join the GVI family and support and train others to have the best possible Service Learning experience!
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.”