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Chiang Mai Children's Home

Chiang Mai, Thailand
from £735 (2 weeks)

Ref: AV098

It would be difficult to find a better place to volunteer than at this inspiring children's home in Northern Thailand - with a chance to help 50 children, many of whom have been orphaned through illness or accidents, or who have been abused or abandoned, and for whom this house is home.  Volunteers can bring smiles to the faces of these children who will enjoy the activities that the volunteers prepare for them.  Enjoy their laughter as they play knowing that you are helping in some small way to reshape their futures. 

Who can join: 18 years age and over
Accommodation: Shared rooms in dedicated volunteer house
Transfer time:
Pick up Point: Chiang Mai Airport or Bus Station
Meals: Breakfast daily and lunch during the working week
Volunteer numbers: approx. 5 volunteers

Duration & Fees

2 weeks£735
3 weeks£855
4 weeks£995
5 weeks£1,095
6 weeks£1,245
8 weeks£1,445

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Start Dates

Project Start Dates are on the first and third Mondays of each month. Volunteers are requested to arrive the Friday before the start of their project for their two day orientation.

Start Dates for 2017:

9 Jan | 23 Jan | 6 Feb | 20 Feb | 6 Mar | 20 Mar

Project closed in April 2017

1 May | 15 May | 5 Jun | 19 Jun | 3 Jul | 17 Jul | 7 Aug | 21 Aug | 4 Sep | 18 Sep | 2 Oct | 16 Oct | 6 Nov | 20 Nov | 4 Dec | 20 Dec

Payment

£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Airport transfer on arrival (departure transfer can be arranged through project staff on the ground - approx 5 USD)
  • Accommodation in dedicated volunteer house in shared rooms
  • Breakfast everyday and lunch every working day
  • Assistance from onsite project co-ordinator
  • Two day orientation programme includng half-day city tour, cultural dinner and show 

 

What's not included

  • International flights to and from Thailand
  • Visas if required
  • Medical Insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Cost of CRB check
  • Transport to and from project site and accommodation (approx 2 USD per day)
  • Dinner each day and lunch at weekends
  • Any optional activities

Highlights

  • Volunteer in one of the largest children’s homes in the region.
  • Have a positive impact on the lives of these wonderful children who have not had a great start in life.
  • Make lasting friendships with the children, staff and other volunteers from all over the world.
  • Live and work in beautiful rural Thailand.
  • Spend weekends relaxing and exploring the vibrant City of Chiang Mai and surrounding area.

Thailand is a country with great appeal - with ancient capitals, forests, mountains and exciting festivals that are really captivating.  Chiang Mai, in the north of the country, is one of the most popular cities for tourists from all over the world who come to take cookery or massage courses, to trek to the mountains or to visit remote hill tribes.  Volunteers see a different side of Thailand, something that the average visitor misses altogether, and also have the satisfaction of knowing that they have changed lives in small but significant ways during their volunteer placement to this beautiful and exciting country. 

Volunteers to this project can make a real contribution to the lives and futures of the boys and girls and the families that look after them in the home. The administration at the home is done by just a few families who work long hours and there often are not enough of them to look after all the children in their care, who are aged between four and eighteen years of age. Many of the children are orphans - either through illness or accidents - or perhaps have been abused or abandoned.  Many come from ethnic minority villages that are at risk and others came following the problems in Myanmar. There is never enough money to employ the number of staff that are needed and the help given by the volunteers is always most welcome and so valuable to the children. 

The main task for the volunteers is to spend time with the children and offer them care, support and time but we do ask volunteers to also help with all the needs of this community including helping to maintain the house - perhaps doing some painting, gardening or mending appliances and toys.  By helping with these routine tasks the volunteers give the staff time to get on with their duties and spend one-to-one time with the children  - and perhaps take a badly needed day off!

Children who have been abused or abandoned often suffer with their emotional development.  They need to regain their confidence and the volunteers, by getting to know these young children and interacting with them in a positive way, play an essential and important role in helping with this.  The children need to learn that they are valued for themselves and that their past misfortunes do not have to get in the way of their future development.  Simply spending time with them - perhaps playing games, or just taking a walk in the grounds and talking to them,  goes a long way in improving their self image and boosting their confidence.  These children may have had to deal with death, abuse, abandonment or illness and just need extra love, care and friendship which will have a lasting effect on them.  Volunteers can help to generate good memories that will remain with the children for the rest of their lives. 

Volunteers are welcome to join this project for periods from two weeks and the longer the time period spent volunteering, the more both children and volunteers will gain from the project.  Volunteers will generally work Monday to Friday and have freetime at the weekends to explore the city and the surrounding areas. 

No qualifications are necessary to join this project, but volunteers should be passionate about working with children, caring and willing to get involved in many aspects of daily life.   A full two-day orientation programme is arranged for all volunteers and will include a half-day city tour, cultural dinner and show. 

Extra Information

Known as the Rose of the North, Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city, making it an incredible place to explore as it is the most cultural city in northern Thailand and dates back to the 13th century. There are over 200 Buddhist temples where the iconic saffron robed monks and ancient stupas, which are a symbol of Thailand, can be seen. There is a great welcoming atmosphere in Chiang Mai along with tasty food, great shopping, cultural opportunities and adventure activities.  It is a great base for exploring more of northern Thailand and a wonderful place for educational pursuits such as learning the Thai language, Thai massage, Thai cooking, Muay Thai and Thai Buddhist meditation. Volunteers who would like to learn more of the history of the area can visit the Chiang Mai National Museum where they can view exhibits relating to the people of Lanna, the Tribal Museum which looks into the life of the local hill tribes and the City Arts and Cultural Centre which looks at Chiang Mai to-day as well as in the past.  The Playhouse Complex is a new attraction in Chiang Mai where cultural performances can be enjoyed.

The people of Chiang Mai speak Thai, but they have their own dialect which is called Northern Thai, Phasa Nuea, or Kam Muang. Chiang Mai is a good place to learn the Thai language and most volunteers will pick up some words during their normal daily activities.  For anyone wishing to learn more of this fascinating language, there are lots of schools which run courses and project staff will be able to make recommendations to anyone interested and who has time to spare. Even learning just a few simple Thai phrases, and of course how and when to wai (bow) properly, is very much appreciated by the local Thai people.

Festivals in Chiang Mai offer a chance for visitors to learn more about the local culture and have some fun. The most important festivals are New Year, the Chaing Mai Flower Festival in February, Songkran Water Festival in April, the City Pillar Festival in May or June and Loy Krathong usuallly in November.

One of the problems volunteers may incur in Chiang Mai is deciding where to eat.. Every type of food can be found on sale in the city, and it is easy to eat well and very inexpensively.  There are many local dishes to try including Chiang Mai Sausage - spicy pork and served with sticky rice; Kau Ka Moo - pork knuckle with rice and hard boiled egg and pickled mustard greens or Khao Soi - an egg noodle dish usually with chicken and crispy noodles on top. Chiang Mai is the best place in Thailand to learn how to cook Thai food because there are so many great schools, including Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School and Siam Rice Thai Cookery School.

The most popular places to visit in Chiang Mai include:

  • Doi Suthep, a granite mountain that towers over Chiang Mai and offers some spectacular views of the city. There is a fourteenth century temple on top of the mountain – visitors can climb 309 steps up to the temple or cheat by getting the tram.
  • Chiang Mai Zoo which is the only zoo in the country where visitors can get to see giant pandas.
  • Wat Chiang Man which was built in the thirteenth century and acted as the first royal temple in the city or Wat Chedi Luang another important temples in the City.
  • Suan Buak Haad Park is good place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city or to go for a jog. There is a nice lake in the park and a few stalls selling food.  You can even feed the huge fish in the pond, relax on mats for rent, and even get a Thai massage.

Volunteers wishing to do something more active will have no problem finding things to do such as:

  • Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand, and is known to be the fiercest martial art in the world. Volunteers can get to learn this fighting style at a number of camps in Chiang Mai including: Chay Yai Muay Thai, Lanna Muay Thai, KC Muay Thai, and Muay Thai Sangha.
  • There is a good selection of gyms in Chiang Mai
  • Bamboo rafting can be enjoyed at the upper part of Mae Ping and Mae Tang rivers. Many of the hiking and elephant tours will also include bamboo rafting as part of the package.
  • Some of the best hiking areas in Thailand are in easy reach of Chiang Mai and there are many companies offering these tours.
  • Whitewater rafting/rapids rafting is available at the Tang River (Mae Tang).

Some of the most exciting things to do in Chiang Mai would include:

  • A chance to learn meditation and there are a number of temples offering instruction and retreats
  • The Night Market is one of the most popular tourist attractions and it is a great place to go to buy souvenirs or cheap clothing.
  • Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport – there is over five floors of shopping here as well as a giant Major Cineplex Cinema.
  • Zip line tours, and this is an exciting way to explore the jungle canopy.
  • Great nightlife in Chiang Mai with the most popular bars found around the Night Bizarre and Tha Phae Gate.
  • Dreamlake Fishing Adventure is a fishing resort 
  • The Chiang Mai Night Safari - the third largest nocturnal zoo in the world. There are three zones in the park including Predator Prowl Zone, Jaguar Trail
  • Zone, and Savanna Safari Zone – there are also resorts in the park for those who want to really feel like they are on safari.
  • Tiger Kingdom - a chance to get right up close to tigers – none of the tigers here are drugged but visitors are allowed to get up close with them if they like.
  • Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders


Getting around Chiang Mai is easy.  The city has the famous Rot Daeng which cannot be found anywhere else in Thailand. This covered pick-up truck can be the cheapest, most convenient, and safest way to get around the city. Motorbikes can be rented for quite inexpensively and this is probably the best way to get around the city and cope with the traffic congestionl.  However it must be remembered that Chiang Mai is not a safe place to learn how to use a motorbike for the first time. There is a metered taxi service.  It is easy to walk or cycle around Chiang Mai but it can get hot!  Most volunteers will want to try one journey by tuk-tuk but this can be an expensive way to get around.  A Mae Ping River Cruise is a good way to explore the city from the water – the average tour lasts about two hours and includes a Thai meal.

There are plenty of local travel agents where weekend trips and activities can be booked and project staff can help volunteer arrange any activities. 

Getting There

Volunteers should fly to Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, and then either make their way to Chiang Mai in the north via train, bus or by air.. Either mode of transport runs regularly between Bangkok and Chiang Mai and is relatively cheap.  Arrival days are the Friday before the Monday project start date and volunteers will be  picked up from Chiang Mai ready to join their two day orientation.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and can make any flights arrangements required.  Please contact Amanzi Travel for details.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Chiang Mai, Thailand, Chiang Mai Childrens HomeChiang Mai, Thailand, Chiang Mai Childrens HomeChiang Mai, Thailand, Chiang Mai Childrens HomeChiang Mai, Thailand, Chiang Mai Childrens HomeChiang Mai, Thailand, Chiang Mai Childrens HomeAccommodation is provided in dedicated volunteer houses near the centre of Chiang Mai where up to thirty-five volunteers can be accommodated in air-conditioned, shared bedrooms.  The built in bathrooms have hot water and a western style toilet and there are lounges with access to computers,  free wifi and the chance to watch English films. 

The volunteer co-ordinators are friendly and knowledgeable and work from the project office which is just a short walk from the volunteer houses.  They are on hand at all times to make sure the volunteer projects run smoothly and help the volunteers in any way they can.  .

Volunteers will be provided with a breakfast each day at the volunteer accommodation.  This will include toast, cereals, eggs, oatmeal, yoghurt, fresh fruit and fantastic aromatic Red Cliff Coffee from the highlands of northern Thailand.   Lunch will be provided during working days but dinner is not included. Inexpensive and delicious Thai food restaurants along with many international eating places are only minutes for the volunteer house and provide a great way to socilalise and get to know your fellow volunteers.   Some volunteers take the chance to enrol on one of the many Thai cookery courses available in the city and then show off their culinary skills in the kitchen to their fellow volunteers. 

Click here to view the full interactive mapThailand

Thailand overview

At the centre of Indochina, is the Kingdom of Thailand – as it officially known. Thailand nestles between Burma, Laos and Cambodia above and Malaysia below, with the Gulf of Thailand to the south and the Andaman Sea to the west.

Thailand’s second largest city of Chiang Mai is known as the Rose of the North and visitors can experience homestays in local villages, rural jungle treks and 13th century Buddhist temples. The islands on Thailand’s east coast consist of Koh Phangan, Koh Toa and Koh Samui, which are famous for Full Moon parties, diving and tourism respectively and of course white sandy beaches and coral reefs. While Koh Phi Phi was hit by the 2004 Tsunami, it is also the home of ‘The Beach’ and iconic limestone cliffs. Other synonymous activities with Thailand are Muay Thai boxing, Thai cooking courses, mountain climbing, elephant riding, river rafting, canopy walking, learning to dive and holistic retreats.

The capital city Bangkok is the country’s political, commercial and cultural hub, as well as being the gateway to Thailand for most travellers arriving by air. The city is a mixture of old and new, with high rise skyscrapers, old temples, the Royal palace, wide dominating motorways and little shops on street corners. The city is used as a hub to travel around the rest of the country and its many islands, as well as the surrounding countries. Thai people are, as throughout Asia, extremely warm and welcoming and cannot help but wear that huge Asian smile.

Highlights of country

  • Includes jungles, mountains, islands and beaches
  • Warm and friendly Thai people
  • Learn to dive in Koh Tao
  • Legendry Full Moon parties on Koh Phangan
  • Easy access to other Asian countries for further travel

Climate

SeasonsMaxMin
Summer 38 °C 230 °C
Winter 28 °C 22 °C

Thailand has a tropical climate almost all year round. Southern Thailand has two seasons; the wet season and the dry season, which are the different on the east and west coasts. The east coast has rain between September and December, while the west has heavy storms from April through until October. The south of Thailand receives the most rain, with around 2,400 mm falling each year, which is 1,000 mm more than central and northern Thailand.

Northern Thailand’s seasons are more defined. Between November and May the weather is mostly dry, except for expected rain between February and March. From November to March, there are cooling breezes in northern Thailand while the temperatures rise between March and May.

Key Facts

Population – 66.80 million
Capital - Bangkok
Currency – Thai Baht (THB)
Official languages – Thai
Time difference – GMT + 6
Telephone - +66

Chiang Mai Children's Home

There was always a baby or toddler who needed some special attention and the cuddles were a delight. The longer you volunteer there the more responsibility you can take in caring for the children.

Jo, New Zealand (Chiang Mai Children's Home)

Chiang Mai Children's Home

I found that volunteering at the Children’s Home project challenged me (in an emotional sense) but it was also hugely gratifying. I learned a lot about the children and about myself, for example, I learned that despite coming from a very different background from the children, I could teach them about my culture, and through that connection we shared fun and laughter every day. I felt a genuine friendship with them (as a group and on an individual basis) for the time that I was volunteering. My time at the Children’s Home gave me a unique experience whereby I could show love, friendship and companionship. In this way, my role in Thailand was markedly different than my previous work experience with children from the USA and UK.

Jacqueline, Scotland (Chiang Mai Children's Home)

Chiang Mai Children's Home

I chose to volunteer at this project, because I wanted to give my time and attention to children and enjoy a cultural experience. I really love children and I believe they are our future.

Throughout my two weeks on the project, I learnt patience and observed the way children naturally are drawn to you, to play and receive affection. It was such a cultural experience, I learnt a lot from the house mother Yupee. I enjoyed watching and learning how she cooked and took care of the children. I enjoyed seeing how respectful and responsible the kids were throughout meal times. I loved playing with the children and teaching them new games, such as hopscotch.

It was great working alongside volunteers and discussing with volunteers on this and other projects, how their day was and the experiences they had, had. Listening and sharing stories was inspiring and I made great friendships.

The staff were so helpful and always there to help and care for us. Thank you very much! You made my experience a smooth and enjoyable one.

In conclusion I discovered a new passion or vocation for my future. I hope to continue to volunteer and possibly work for a volunteer organisation. I really loved Thailand, I enjoyed discovering the landscape, people and food. I hope to come back many times.

Carine, France (Chiang Mai Children's Home)

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