Most Thais would agree that the real Thailand lies in the small rural communities where life flows in and from the local Buddhist temple. For volunteers who wish to experience the true Thai culture, this is its source.
Many volunteer programs offer placements in Bangkok. We do not. Schools in Bangkok and the bigger communities tend to be bigger with bigger budgets. They can usually afford to hire full-time native English teachers. More importantly, big cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai lack the charm, intimacy and warmth of small communities and villages.
At VTT we choose small villages which are near but not too greatly influenced by popular tourist destinations. We choose schools that are quaint and charming and are the center of village life. We require schools which have accommodation for teachers and staff which is clean, sanitary and safe. In our interviews with school staff, we search for Directors who are committed to committed to making a real difference. Finally we look for village communities which are friendly and welcoming to our teachers. We know every one of our placement schools intimately.
The Network of Schools
The network allows volunteers to teach then tour on weekends in the four most popular destinations in Thailand. Placements centered in Chumphon in southern Thailand provide easy access to local beaches and the island of Khao Tao. Volunteers centered in the northern cities of Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai are attracted to the mountain setting, a cooler temperate climate and the rich history of the Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Myranmar and Laos converge. Those wishing to remain in easy reach of Bangkok can choose placements in Kanchanaburi/Ang Thong and tour the Bridge on the River Kwai; the floating markets district; and the architectural ruins of Ayuttayah.
If the frantic neon pace of BANGKOK attracts you. You can choose it to be your base We offer 4 placement schools within two hours by road of this city of 10 million residents. Bangkok is the center of what is known as the Central Plain of Thailand. It is the country’s richest agricultural area producing rice, sugar cane and a variety of fruit. Because of the area’s life supporting fertility, it is also features the oldest settlements in the Kingdom, including the former capital Ayutthya. Our placement schools in this region are among the most popular among volunteers. They tell us that the villagers and students make them completely forget that the area doesn’t feature the mountains or the beaches of other regions.
If a quieter more intellectual or cultural experience attracts you then make Chiang Mai (700 km north of Bangkokor Chiang Rai your base. It’s a great base to study meditation, Thai-style cooking or massage. The north is a mountainous landscape of vast rugged vistas, waterfalls, and undisturbed nature. The first true Thai kingdoms began here. So the entire area is rich in traditional culture and architecture, including some of the country’s most majestic temples. Chiang Rai happens to be our favorite city in Thailand. The presence of Hilltribe communities and the influence of nearby Laos and Burma add a unique richness to the culture. It has amazing jungle trekking and perhaps the best shopping in all of Thailand.
Chiang Mai, the largest and most culturally significant city in northernThailand, attracts more than 1 million visitors a year. The nearby national parks include Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand.
We have several placement schools near these two major northern cities. Our newest is at Pai situated between the two on the winding mountainous road between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. Pai is earning a growing reputation among international travelers who make the extra effort to visit the mountain villages bordering Myanmar to see up close the traditional ways of hill tribe villagers. KANCHANABURI
If you want Kanchanaburi (126 km west of Bangkok) to be your base, we offer no less than 5 placements within that region. The area has been made famous by the Bridge on the River Kwai. But a lot of visitors come to trek in the limestone mountains or to visit the area’s many spectacular waterfalls.
One of our featured schools here is close to Erawan Falls, considered by many as the most beautiful waterfall in
From here volunteers can catch a bus directly to downtown Kanchanaburi which features the famous bridge, war museum and bustling gemstone and clothing market.
Our network of schools lies very close to the several high speed and traditional ferry service to the famous destination of Khao Tao island. This is the picture-post card area of Thailand with white sandy beaches; spectacular limestone outcroppings and emerald blue waters.
Volunteers can mingle among the residents of an authentic fishing community which throbs in the evenings when the fishing boats return with their catches.
Touring, snorkelling and diving can easily become weekend activities once the Monday to Friday teaching duties are over. Chumphon can be a place to kick back and relax or take advantage of the plentiful seaside activities. You can literally dial the pace of life you prefer as a volunteer.