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Chiang Mai Rural Schools Volunteer

Chiang Mai, Thailand
from £745 (2 weeks)

Ref: AV096

Teaching English in rural schools in Thailand is an area in which volunteers can make a real impact. Traditional values still prevail in rural communities and volunteer English teachers can make a real contribution to one of the most important pillars of Thai society - the school. These volunteers can live in the school during the week and spend their weekends in rest and relaxation in the exciting city of Chiang Mai where there are many places to visit and activities to join. A fantastic opportunity to make a real difference in rural Thailand.

Who can join: 18 years of age and over
Accommodation: At the school site or dedicated volunteer house
Transfer time:
Pick up Point: Chiang Mai Airport or Bus Station
Meals: Breakfast daily and lunch on school days
Volunteer numbers: approx 5.

Duration & Fees

2 weeks£745
3 weeks£865
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 2018

3 Sep | 5 Nov | 19 Nov | 3 Dec | 17 Dec

Start Dates for 2019

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

Note: This project is closed for Thailand Summer Break and Mid-Thailand School Break

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 during orientation and for the duration of the project
  • Breakfast daily and Lunch during the working week
  • Two day orientation including half-day city tour, cultural dinner and show
  • Support from onsite co-ordinator
  • 24 hour emergency assistance

What's not included

  • Flights 
  • Visas if required
  • Insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Police background check 
  • Lunch at weekends and dinner daily
  • Activities during the weekend in surrounding area
  • Transport to and from project on working days (approx 2 USD each day) unless you choose to stay on site. 

Highlights

  • Teach in schools in rural communities and take the opportunity to become immersed in the vibrant thai local life
  • Experience the rural Thailand that tourists seldom encounter
  • Take part in local community events such as temple fairs and other cultural activities
  • Meet and make friends with 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 truly 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 maountains 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. 

The day starts early in rural Thailand - with the daily procession of the local monks on their daily rounds.  The shops all open and the children - all in uniform - set out for school.  The school is one of the three main pillars of life in Thailand, along with the home and the temple and this is clearly evident in rural Thailand where local values prevail.  Rural schools uphold traditional values and offer a real insight into one of the most important aspects of Thai life.  Volunteers on this project have the rare opportunity to be part of this unique culture and really immerse themselves in the rural community.

Volunteers are paired with a Thai teacher who support them during their time on their placement and help in planning lessons. There are a variety of schools involved in the project, some are very small with only 70 students while others have up to 1,500 students. Volunteers will be able to request which age they prefer to teach, from kindergarten right up to grade 12 and should expect to spend around 15 – 20 hours per week in classroom teaching each week. 

Volunteers make a huge impact teaching English in Thailand, as children will learn English from native speakers. Teaching outside of the city is more beneficial to both the students and the volunteers. City volunteers are more likely to work in private schools and learning centres with children from a more privileged background. In the countryside surrounding Chiang Mai government schools have little chance of attracting international teachers and so by choosing to work in rural areas, volunteers will be helping children from far less fortunate backgrounds who would not normally meet native speaking English teachers.  Volunteers have the opportunity to really have an impact on these wonderful children and will also experience a more traditional Thai school and community. 

Volunteers should want to experience something off the beaten track that is not on offer to tourists and volunteers in bigger cities. The programme is available from a minimum of two weeks and is closed during Thai school holidays from March - mid-May and during October for the mid-year break.

Volunteers should be flexible, patient, have a strong sense of independence as well as a passion for working with children. 

It is great if volunteers have teaching experience however no formal teaching qualifications are required just enthusiasm and a desire to help as well as fluent written and spoken English skills.  

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’ capital of 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 we will arrange to have you picked up from Chiang Mai airport ready to join your 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.  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. 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.

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The volunteer co-ordinators are friendly and knowledgeable and work from the project office which is just a short walk from the volunteer house.  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 breakfast everyday at both accommodation options. Lunch will be provided during working days, Monday to Friday, but dinner is not included. Volunteers will be able to eat very cheaply at local restaurants in Chiang Mai, many of which can be found a few minutes' walk from the accommodation. 

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 Rural Schools Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life! I worked teaching in a school to kids between the ages of 6-12 and they were a joy to teach. It meant that I could have complete independence teaching classes how I wanted and got to play games with the kids.
The kids are very loveable, always hugging you, and they love high fives! For anyone who wants a completely life changing experience, I would recommend this project.

Anita, UK (Chiang Mai Rural Schools Volunteer )

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