Work and Travel in Thailand
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN THAILAND FOR TRAVELLERS
Thailand is one of the most popular destinations in the world for travellers. Most backpackers who come to Southeast Asia will begin their journey here. If you want to work in Thailand there’s no shortage of volunteering opportunities. Work and travel in Thailand will offer something for everyone, whether you want to stay in the streets of Bangkok or enjoy the southern islands.
Have a look at this video of a working traveller in Thailand for some inspiration to show you how you can work and travel in Thailand (https://youtu.be/vVM2UerUhBA).
You should bear in mind that although some warnings have been issued about volunteering in South Thailand (https://www.roughguides.com/article/solo-travel-in-thailand/) many travellers have reported that the situation on the ground is perfectly safe. The current insurgency in the south doesn’t target tourists and is mainly aimed at the military.
There’s lots of seasonal work in Thailand, but you’ll also find opportunities to work in Thailand all throughout the year. One of the most popular options for volunteers is to work in an elephant sanctuary. Make sure you do your research when deciding to do this because there are many sanctuaries that don’t treat the elephants in a humane way (http://expertvagabond.com/elephants-in-thailand/).
The same applies to other such sanctuaries, such as tiger sanctuaries. Many sanctuaries are run purely as profit-making ventures, where many of the animals are drugged so they’re docile enough to take pictures with tourists. Look online to make sure that you’re only working in Thailand with an organisation that puts the animals first.
The rest of this guide is going to go into the seasonal work in Thailand for people who want to work and travel in Southeast Asia.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR THAILAND
Getting into Thailand is relatively easy for all nations. The UK, the US, Russia, and many European nations can enter Thailand for 90 days without a visa. Australians and travellers from New Zealand can only do this if they fly into the country. Attempting to get a visa overland will only give you a 15-day visa.
The Royal Thai Embassy (http://thaiembdc.org/) is responsible for processing non-immigration voluntary visas. These can be obtained either in Thailand or before you travel. Take note that some nationalities must apply for this visa from a Thai consulate in their home countries. Check this out prior to travelling.
You should bear in mind that although many foreigners have volunteered in Thailand on an ordinary tourist visa, the authorities have cracked down on this in the last few years. Your host won’t be able to help you and you may be heavily fined, imprisoned, and deported if caught.
Always make sure that you have the correct visa before coming to work and travel in Thailand.
Here is a link showing details on how to get a work visa for Thailand.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN THAILAND
Spring in Thailand is the shoulder season and is where the weather is at its worst. Immediately after the high season heavy rains and high levels of humidity hit the country. Organic farms tend to always need some extra volunteers in the north of the country.
If you want to work in Thailand in spring, make sure you check where the host is. The roads can be in bad condition in the remoter parts of the country. Outside of working on organic farms (https://www.workingtraveller.com/members/mindfulness) you’ll find it difficult to find any specific seasonal spring work in Thailand. The main reason for this is that many unskilled labouring jobs are taken by locals and many employers won’t want the hassle of employing a foreigner, due to the strict work visa regulations.
Summer jobs in Thailand are also available in low numbers due to the harshness of the weather. Understand that most of the islands shutdown during the summer season because of stormy weather. Boat services tend to be cancelled as rain and bad weather can hit in short, sharp bursts without any warning.
The monsoon season is generally a time to avoid working in Thailand. Even ordinary travellers in Thailand are told to be flexible during the monsoon season because of this.
Autumn brings the second shoulder season of the year. The weather starts to get better and the tourism industry is preparing to open its doors again. This is the ideal time of year for picking up English work in Thailand. If you want to work and travel in Thailand as an English teacher you should bear in mind that you will require a college degree of some kind. You should also remember that you’re responsible for making sure your paperwork is in order. Schools in Thailand won’t take any responsibility.
There are English schools all over the country, so you can easily choose your favourite region and apply to volunteer at a school there.
Winter is the high season in Thailand and is where the country transforms itself. The winter season is the time to be on the southern coasts and the islands of the country. First of all, volunteers might want to look at working in a guesthouse. Work and travel in Thailand is relatively easy if you want to work in guesthouses. The work is basic but it can be an easy way to get a free bed, food, and an addition to your resume.
Another travel job in Thailand for the high season is working in the vast snorkelling industry. There are more dive shops than ever before, so finding work here should be relatively simple. If you have a qualification in training people how to dive you may even be able to find a volunteering role in teaching.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN THAILAND
Volunteering in Thailand has become one of the mainstays of the tourism trade. Volunteering in Thailand won’t elicit any raised eyebrows. The Thai government has taken steps to make sure that it’s extremely difficult for foreigners to obtain visas for paid work, so Thais have little issue with foreigners volunteering.
Many of the volunteer roles foreigners take on when they work in Thailand can’t be done by local Thais, so their presence is extremely welcome.