Photo: chrissy575
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city, but the pace here is decidedly more laid-back. One of the best ways to experience the unique culture and sights in and around Chiang Mai is by lending a helping hand.

Chiang Mai is a centre for groups and organisations working with a variety of humanitarian projects. Special skills aren’t required and all help is appreciated.

Friends For Asia

Friends For Asia works to benefit local communities through short and long term volunteer programs. Unafilliated with any government or religion, Friends For Asia offers a wide selection of volunteer projects to choose from, including building, gardening, caregiving, helping in orphanages, and working at elephant camps.

If interested in volunteering, contact Friends For Asia via their online form.

Viengping Children’s Home

Viengping Children’s Home is an orphanage establishment situated just north of Chiang Mai’s city centre.

Always looking for new and eager volunteers, the children’s home allow visitors to spend time connecting with children, playing, teaching English, helping staff, and taking part in numerous activities.

Clothing, food and educational materials are appreciated donations and the children are enthusiastic to see visitors. Situated along the Chiang Mai – Mae Rim Road, around ten kilometres from the heart of Chiang Mai, the children’s home is happy to accept walk in visitors during reasonable hours.

Alternatively, you can contact the orphanage by email directly at vpch@cmnet.co.th or have a look at their website.

Helping Hands

Helping Hands is a distinguished organisation that focuses on refugees and the hill tribe people who are struggling to stay alive within the mountainous regions along the border of Myanmar/Burma and Thailand. Basic living necessities, education, medical care and many other services are provided by the organisation.

“One of the best ways to experience the unique culture and sights in and around Chiang Mai is by lending a helping hand.”

Anyone passionate about helping displaced people is happily welcomed into the Helping Hands team. This unique experience offers volunteers a chance to help Thailand’s ethnic minorities.

For more information, visit the Helping Hands website or send an email to trekeagl@cm.ksc.co.th

Photo: ruben i
The Elephant Nature Park

If animals are your calling, Chiang Mai is home to a large and important elephant conversation centre, The Elephant Nature Park. The park accepts volunteers regularly and allows volunteers to experience the beautiful creatures that are native to the region.

Volunteers can choose between helping with medical care, bathing the elephants, or travelling to various hill tribe areas to lend a hand with injured elephants. Volunteers of all ages are welcomes.

Visit their website for more information.

Teaching English

One of the most common volunteering options available in Chiang Mai is to teach English at various institutes. Depending on your preference or skill, volunteers can teach at schools, organisations, and summer programmes. Orphanages welcome applicants and if there is a volunteer position available, enthusiastic and interested parties are sure to be selected.

Volunteers will find a wide range of options for volunteering in Chiang Mai. If you are looking to be placed in volunteer positions, several companies charge a fee to organise and place foreigners who wish to help out in a specific area of interest. A personal favourite is the School for Life organisation. School for Life applicants must participate in an interview and selection process and specific requirements must be met by prospective volunteers.

Doing your own research and contacting the relevant organisations in Chiang Mai is another way to secure volunteering and does not require money. If you find it more convenient to use a middleman, by all means do so.

The important thing is giving a great experience to whichever volunteer option you choose.

Community Connection:

All of Matador’s articles and resources related to Thailand can be accessed easily in one place, our Thailand Focus Page.