Volunteer in Thailand with Plan My Gap Year, an award winning, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, meaningful, affordable projects overseas with a wide range of programmes in Thailand including Childcare and English Teaching.
“When I came across PMGY, the flexibility and variety of what they offered appealed to me, as well as the opportunity to travel with other people. Going on the Real Thailand Experience programmes was the best decision, the whole month exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I would recommend this trip to anyone, it was such a brilliant way to travel and to work at a traditional Thai school. I really feel like I experienced the country in a way that would have been much more challenging on my own and made the best friends along the way!” – KAT STEGGLES | UNITED KINGDOM
PMGY provide a sociable structured meaningful experience across need driven community projects in Africa, Asia and South America. Each year, we have thousands of volunteers working across a range of our projects from teaching and childcare to wildlife, medical and more. Our volunteer reviews are testament to the extensive pre-departure support and legacy our team provides to match the unbelievable in-country experience our volunteers engage in.
We are transparent and affordable with our fees, committed to long-term sustainable community development, all our local programmes are fully vetted and offer some great travelling and cultural opportunities to ensure that your time with us overseas is the best it can be.
A combination of all these reasons and more are why so many of our volunteers choose to come back to us and volunteer year after year with PMGY!
Book your flights as early as possible after confirming your place on the programme to ensure you get the lowest airfare possible.
You should book your flights to to Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. The airport code is BKK.
PMGY work with various partners in the aviation industry to offer our volunteers competitively priced flights. If you would like any assistance in booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during the online application or feel free to call us or drop us an email.
PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Travel Insurance really is a travel essential. It is mandatory for all of our participants to have adequate travel insurance in place across all their trip dates incase anything goes wrong when overseas.
PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional travel insurance policy specifically designed to insure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 75 and covers you for any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada).
Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
If you’d like to purchase Plan My Gap Year Travel Insurance, you can add this option on during your online application.
Before you begin your programme, we provide extensive pre-departure support on the build up to your volunteer project with us whether it is a month or a year away. This all begins from an online chat or a telephone call that develops into a regular email chain of next step communications to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip with us.
Further to this we provide a forty page plus Volunteer Handbook that provides all you need to know once you confirm your place on the programme with us; from visa guidance and how to get a background check to what to pack and more information on the culture and preparing for your project.
For all our destinations we have Facebook groups made up of our local teams, past, present and future volunteers that provides a great forum for volunteers to network and to also share project updates and community updates across the year.
We have also generated a range of informative and action packed videos to bring some tangibility on what volunteers can expect when travel volunteering with us. This can be accessed on our PMGY Vimeo channel.
Our pre-departure and programme preparation webinars are not to be missed either. They run on selected Tuesdays at 1pm (GMT) and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip. The first webinar covers all the essential pre-departure information you need to know and things you need to do before you go and the second webinar is more programme specific with advice and information for whilst you’re on your placement.
For those looking to go one step further, we introduced a 60 hour online TEFL course to really strengthen volunteers project preparation. This really is the perfect introductory course to teaching English abroad and enable you to acquire some key skills along the way as well as an internationally accredited certificate.
Our projects are based in Pathum Thani, just outside the bustling capital city of Bangkok. Patum Thani is a traditional university province and is famous for being home to the most universities in Thailand. It is an old province, heavily populated by the Mon people and filled with temples, parks, and areas to experience Mon culture. Volunteers are encouraged to explore these during their time in Thailand.
Bangkok itself is a city of contrasts. Modern and cultural, chaotic but refined, traditional and bizarre – you will never get bored in Bangkok! It’s also the perfect base to explore the rest of Thailand and South East Asia. Bangkok is a vast city but the BTS (inner city rail network) makes getting around the city affordable and simple. Some of the great cultural sites include Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Benjamabophit (Marble Temple).
The city has a great nightlife, whether you’re hitting the backpacker central of Koh San Road or catching some live music at one of the cool bars near Victory Monument.
Our programmes in Pathum Thani run from 2-12 weeks from June until September beginning on the first and third Saturday of each month. Our Mini Experience runs for 2 weeks that is solely travel based and has specific start dates across the year. Our Real Experience programme that combines volunteering and travelling runs for 4 weeks and starts on specific dates across the year.
PMGY’s programme in Thailand are ran by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams who have been fully vetted by our UK team.
Such a committed local staff network provide the structure for your stay with us when working on our Thailand project. The support structure includes providing accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support.
So whether you are interning in schools or teaching and working on the childcare programme with us, our local team will also allocate you to your project as well as providing a great framework for you to enjoy a unique cultural experience with us in Thailand.
Your orientation will begin on Sunday. Our local team will teach you about life in Thailand, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and the project work.
You will also have the chance to head to the main street later in the day and visit the local market, buy a local phone or SIM Card and go to the supermarket.
Volunteers will usually head to JJ Market during the orientation. Home to over 8,000 stalls, JJ Market is a shoppers paradise with bargains galore and is Bangkok’s famous weekend market! This is a great chance to pickup any bits you’ll need as well as practising your bartering skills. Our local team will be on hand to make sure you get the best deal possible!
Please note that transport to and from JJ Market is not included and volunteers should budget around £5 for this.
Please make sure you arrive into Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok (BKK) on Saturday.
Day 1 (Saturday) – Arrival
Welcome to Thailand! You will be met at Bangkok airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to Pathum Thani will take around 1 hour, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and get familiar with your new environment.
Day 2 (Sunday) – Orientation
After a good first night rest in Thailand, its now time to begin your induction into life in Thailand. The orientation will be a mix of theory, culture and visits to local points of interest.
Day 3-7 (Monday-Friday) – Volunteering Begins
You will start your volunteer work on Monday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see our coordinator throughout the day at the Volunteer House and they are always happy to help. On the evenings volunteers will tend to relax around the dinner table, play games, head to the market or watch a movie.
Day 8-9 (Saturday-Sunday) – Weekend
Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities, or a more cultural experience – Thailand has it all. Why not check out our weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time!
The following weeks
Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.
Last day (Saturday)
Saturday is your last day with PMGY. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Programme Fee.
If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect and many volunteers (and their loved ones) are concerned for their safety and security.
Although we can never fully guarantee your safety, we do everything in our power to ensure your volunteering programme is as careful, safe and secure as possible. Every programme that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a Director of Plan My Gap Year. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation, worked on the projects and built strong trusting relationships with our local staff.
In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support that they can go through (and people who will help them in the case of an accident).
1. In-Country Project Coordinators & Support Staff
2. Project Staff
3. PMGY UK Team
Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences and we are continually improving our placements and projects through this feedback. Security and safety of our programmes is constantly being reviewed and if you have any concerns we encourage you to discuss these with the local staff at your orientation. During orientation, project staff will also provide guidance in the area of safety and security.
Listed below are some general safety tips.
• Be modest with the amount of jewellery you wear in public.
• Do not drink tap water.
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents of theft often occur when there are crowds and confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public.
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night.
• Use reputable taxi firms only. Our local staff will recommend some specific companies during orientation. If you are unsure – ask local staff who to use.
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets. If possible use transport from door to door after dark.
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high risk areas for pickpockets and thieves.
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town.
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road.
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers.
Like the rest of South East Asia, Thailand has a tropical climate. Generally speaking, it is hot all year round. The best time of year to visit Bangkok is in January and February, when it is dry and cool. The hottest months are April and May where the temperature rarely drops below 30 ºC.
The rainy season is between May to October – with June, September and October being historically the wettest months. However, like all tropical climates, the rain comes in short sharp bursts so despite it being the rainy season there are usually large dry spells throughout the day.
Despite the heat, most restaurants and bars are airconditioned – including the classrooms, so you will be easily able to escape the heat during the peak hours!
During your time with PMGY in Thailand you will live in our Volunteer House located in the town of Pathum Thani, a safe and quiet suburb of Bangkok and around one hours drive from the main tourist areas such as Koh San Road. Much like London and other big cities around the world, Bangkok has an inner-city rail system (known as the BTS), which makes getting around the city cheap, convenient and fast. There are regular buses and vans which provide a quick and affordable route into the centre of the city.
The house is a local property within an extremely safe and quiet neighbourhood. It is around a 30 minute walk from the main street where you will find local restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs.
All volunteers stay together in the Volunteer House. The accommodation is basic but comfortable with free WiFi (intermittent). Our local team also live on site adjacent to the volunteer accommodation so you will have daily interaction with our team.
There are fans available in the accommodation and the bathrooms are of western standard. Rooms are shared, up to 10 per room (all bedding and mosquito net is provided).
We encourage you to bring some small padlocks for your suitcase and/or store any valuables with our local team in their private area. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled.
The local coordinators live next to the dedicated volunteer living quarters and are on-call 24/7 should you need anything.
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
You will be provided with breakfast and dinner everyday at the Volunteer House. Most meals are traditional Thai dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Thai cuisine consists of a lot of rice, noodles and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.
Breakfast is traditionally done on a self service method where volunteers will help themselves each morning before heading to project. Dinner is either provided at the house or volunteers will head to the main street for the evening meal. This may involve a trip to the local restaurant or taking in some traditional Thai street food.
All meals are freshly prepared each day. If you fancy some western comforts, you are best to head into Bangkok where you will find plenty of restaurants serving western meals.
You are required to purchase your own lunch and there is plenty of options during the lunch break at the project on the main street of Pathum Thani around a 25 minute walk from the project. This includes traditional Thai street food options as well as a 7/11 supermarket where volunteers can get western lunch options such as ham and cheese toasties, spaghetti carbonara and sausage sandwiches.
Here is an example of the meals you can expect:
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.
The project is located around a 20 minute walk from the volunteer accommodation.
PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the programme is 18 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does NOT need to be your first language. You do not need to speak Thai, although learning a few words in your days with us in Thailand will go a long way!
We require a clean background check from all our participants in advance of volunteering with us abroad.
In general no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation.
Registration Fees must be paid within 7 days of the application being successful to confirm your place and Programme Fees are due at least 60 days before the programme start date.