Share the Love - Volunteer in Thailand
We are currently running a trip in a different format, please see this link https://www.freeandeasytraveler.com/adventures/10-day-temples-tribes-tuk-tuks
The largest city and capital of Thailand, Bangkok is known not only as the gateway to Thailand but to all of Southeast Asia. At around 10 million people, Bangkok is a hive of activity and is full of people from all over the world. Its eclectic mix of residents and travellers creates one of the most international and diverse major cities in the world. Despite its diversity in people, Bangkok is very traditionally Thai - some of the most elaborate and extraordinary Buddhist temples lie within Bangkok and the city is filled with beautiful dedications to the King and the Royal Family, including The Grand Palace. There is an infinity of places to explore in this city and things to do, but most people will spend their time doing what Bangkok has become infamous with travellers for: shopping, eating amazing food and epic partying!
Nestled along the lush northern foothills of Thailand, brightened by hundreds of sacred temples and made festive by the fun-loving population, Chiang Mai embodies the heart and soul of Thai culture: holy and happy. Built around the old moated town centre, still outlined by a massive and crumbling stone wall, Chiang Mai is a progressive city that holds on tightly to its rich history. The peaceful nature of the city carries right into the night-time as Chiang Mai boasts one of the most devout and lively reggae music scenes outside of Jamaica. And with an endless amount of bucket-list activities within the city, from bungee jumping to climbing up to Doi Suthep, the lure of Chiang Mai and its world-famous food will make it very difficult for you to leave!
Deep in the rain forests of Northern Thailand on the banks of the Mae Thang River you will find a remote Karen Hill Tribe village. The beauty and friendliness of this village is something that will last with you long after you leave. You will get to meet some incredible people that have been living here for generations as well as the village’s most loved inhabitants, 2 Asian elephants. You will get the chance to live the life of a mahout (elephant trainer) with the opportunity to swim with, wash and feed these beautiful animals. Another can’t miss experience is waking up early and tracking the elephants in the morning. The animals are allowed to roam free in the jungle all night and are retrieved and walked back to camp in the morning by the mahout. An adventure worth getting up for! We will get dirty in the jungle working side by side with local villagers to build dams in the nearby fresh water streams. These dams will allow the villagers to have access to clean water during the dry season. There will also be plenty of opportunities to help the local villagers plant trees, weave baskets, and cook tradition Thai-style jungle meals. After a day of hard work and bonding with the locals it is good fun to try the local rice-based “happy water” by the evening fire. We will depart from the village on a homemade bamboo raft that will take us down the river through the lush rain forests to our next destination!
On our journey to the Pa Khaw Lam Village we will stop at a massive waterfall in the middle of the rainforest to go for a swim and wash the mud off. This will set the tone for just what an amazing place you’ve entered before you arrive at one of the biggest and most breathtaking hilltribe villages in the region. The Mae Thang River divides the village in two and is connected by a picturesque suspension bridge. Walking through the village you will see the hustle and bustle of traditional village life. Don’t be surprised if you are invited by the locals to have some fresh tea or take part in a game of Tek Raw – a skillful and fun local sport. This village has the biggest boarding school in the area with some children walking 4 hours from their home village and back every weekend to attend. There are over 120 students and 5 teachers at the school. Our program will focus on providing positive fun educational experiences for these students as well as working with the students on projects around the school. We will work to improve the school garden to enrich the children’s lunch program, as well as create educational resources to help the teachers continue to develop their English program. Our time here is an incredible opportunity to leave an impact on the village and its children that will leave long-lasting benefits for years to come.
We are currently running a trip in a different format, please see this link https://www.freeandeasytraveler.com/adventures/10-day-temples-tribes-tuk-tuks
IMPORTANT: If you are doing a combo trip and booking your own flights, please contact us to confirm the start and end point of your trip.
Group flight arrives late in the evening. Meet your group over drinks at the guesthouse. The following day we will enjoy the Wat Pho Temple Tour (incl) and then board the night train which will take us up north to Chiang Mai.
Hill Tribe Village
Arrive off night train at 8:15 am. Take private 4x4 truck to guesthouse and prepare supplies for trek. Stay at a hilltribe village. Our days will be filled with various tasks, focusing on improving sustainable sources of food and water in the village (depending on a village's needs). As well as opportunities to help working with the children at the local school, and plenty of interaction with our hosts.
Depart village by riding a bamboo raft down river to the Elephant Camp. Stay at Elephant Camp where we learn about ethical treatment of elephants. We bathe, feed and release elephants into jungle, waking up at sunrise and trekking to find them the next morning. Other smaller projects can be done, as well as participation in cultural activities with our new local friends.
Depart Elephant Camp by 4x4 truck to guesthouse in Chiang Mai. The area we stay in is teeming with temples, cafes and bars for you to explore. The following day we board the night train back down to Bangkok.
Take A/C private minibus to guesthouse. We will be staying near Khao San Road - the mecca in SE Asia for backpackers to shop, eat, drink and be merry! Enjoy the last night with your new group of friends.
To live Free and Easy is to live without busy, rigid schedules. Each destination provides some amazing activities, but we make sure that free time is there so you can take part in all of them or none of them, do as much or as little as you want. 'Take time, breathe it all in, no rush!'
More detailed information about what's included, destination information and activities are listed on this page.
Please note: The above itinerary is subject to change. A confirmed Free & Easy trip itinerary with exact routing will be provided at least 30 days prior to trip departure.
Experience the rush of adrenaline as you step off the platform, the wind in your face as you begin to speed up, leafy branches whipping by until you burst into a sweeping view of the surrounding landscape…feel like you’re flying yet? This is zip lining! It takes you to previously inaccessible parts of the country, from lush rainforests to tangled jungles. As you soar through and above the canopy, you get a bird’s eye view of everything around you for miles. While being up high in the sky isn’t for the faint of heart, zip lining takes you to a whole new world where you can sit back, relax, and zip along enjoying panoramas you probably couldn’t find anywhere else. It’s no surprise that when you come upon a group of zip liners there’s nothing but smiles and whoops of excitement as they travel from tree to tree and on to new adventures.
The Refill, Not Landfill initiative is the perfect complement to our beach cleaning initiatives. Plastic water bottles make up a large percentage of the waste that gathers on beaches around the world. With over 1000 travellers coming on trips with us throughout the year, and drinking/buying water bottles like nobody's business we realized that we are a part of the problem. So we decided to provide several of the guesthouses we stay at with filtered, re-useable water coolers to provide our travelers with all the water they need without creating any additional waste. Our hope is that by taking these steps and continuing to build on this initiative we will set ourselves up to completely eliminate plastic water bottles from our trips altogether. If we are able to do that we could prevent the use of approximately 100,000 plastic water bottles each year alone! So don’t forget to bring your re-usable water bottle on your trip and contribute to the world in an awesome way!
Enjoy the chance to explore Wat Pho alongside a knowledgeable local guide for a peek inside ancient and modern Thai culture. This Buddhist temple complex located in Bangkok is one of city’s oldest temples, having been established before Bangkok itself. It houses over 1000 Buddha images, making it the largest collection of Buddha relics in all of Thailand. This includes the statue that Wat Pho is most famous for: an enormous 49 meter-long golden statue of a Reclining Buddha. The Buddha’s feet alone are 3 meters high. It is probably one of the grandest sites you will behold in all of the city. On an interesting side note, Wat Pho is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, which is still taught and practiced at the temple. If you have the time, ask your guide to tell you Bangkok’s real name…it’s the longest city name on Earth! *****Please note: Not included on the following trips: A Backpackers Dream and The World's Greatest Waterfight
Let us paint this scene out for you: You've just spent all day hiking through thick jungle and vegetation deep in the wilderness of Northern Thailand. You're almost ready to call it a day but there's still several miles between you and the nearest village and there's a massive river blocking your crossing. There's bamboo everywhere so you pull out a machete, chop down some bamboo canes and tie them all together. Not only do you now have a raft, all of your friends are there and a beer cooler, too! Your jungle trek has now become a raft party - you've still got to navigate the rapids but taking turns with that task while sipping some beers as the sun sets behind you will be a perfect way to end the day. And don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of help building a proper and safe raft!
There are a lot of incredible cities in the world, but there is only one Bangkok. The main jumping point for virtually every person traveling through Southeast Asia, Bangkok is full of people from all over the world and there is something for everyone in this massive, colourful city. And the temples, markets and shopping are sure all nice and dandy, but most "memories" that come from Bangkok are created after you have that first Chang beer or Sangsom bucket set, because after that really anything is possible! We won't get into the details of what all happens in Bangkok because everyone will have their own story to tell after a night of partying in a city filled with all-night clubs, street-side bucket stands and essentially an adult "playground" everywhere you look. It's a common feeling to wake up in Bangkok, have no idea what time it is and try to figure out if what you remember happening the night before was a dream or if it really did all happen!
*This is an ETHICAL ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE* Animals have always fascinated us. There is an admiration we feel in awe of their beauty and their spirit, but there is perhaps no animal that is more admired than the elephant. Its giant size and gentle nature make it one of the most powerful, yet loving animals in the world. But because of this, they are often captured in the wild and sold to the logging industry to be worked to death hauling trees through the jungle. Many organizations have sprung up to rescue elephants from this horrible practice and keep them in protected camps, run by families that afford to keep them fed and healthy, by giving other people the chance to interact with the beautiful animals. Deeply rooted in Thai culture, caring for elephants is extremely sacred; a family that cares for elephants dedicates a great deal of their life to the one elephant entrusted to their care, as they are usually bound to one another for their entire lives. Getting face to face with an elephant is an incredible experience and one that you'll likely never forget!
When leaving home and hitting the road with your backpack, one thought you may have in mind is that you're not going to have another good shower for awhile. In most parts of the world water pressure is lower, there is often no hot water and you just can't seem to scrub off that distinct backpacker odour. However, there is one place where hundreds of gallons of refreshing fresh water can pour all over you in a surreal bathing experience and that spot is found at the bottom of a waterfall. When hiking around jungles, one of our favourite things to search out is a good tropical waterfall where you can swim, relax, and get right under it and let the huge torrent of water pour all over you and wash you clean! But the best part is often the simple sight of the waterfall itself, because for whatever reason there are few things in the world we find more captivating to watch than water dropping from great heights. Maybe it's because nothing falls with the grace of water, but either way it's an amazing feeling to come upon a gorgeous waterfall in the jungle and head straight into its downpour for the best shower of your life!
Water is the most essential element of life and for many people in the world it can be a struggle to attain. In the isolated hill tribe villages of Northern Thailand, it can be particularly difficult to get access to clean water with the closest towns being many miles away through dense rainforest. Although for many parts of the year there is an abundance of water from the rain, the dry seasons can be a terrible time as droughts in recent years have been especially devastating. Bringing clean water facilities to these villages can completely revolutionize how they get through the dry season and alleviate a great deal of suffering and hardships. It is a hugely rewarding project to contribute to and brings with it an immediate effect to the local people.
There is perhaps no place that is more crucial to a child’s development than their school. It is where they are given the tools to use in life, as well as a place to connect with other kids and just have fun. We’ll do a bit of both when we get the opportunity to lend a hand at the small schools teaching kids from these remote hill tribe villages. Helping kids with their English is very important, as it opens up a ton of doors for these kids that they can explore when they’re old enough to travel from the village. Most of these villages grow up speaking an old dialect of Thai, so practicing English allows them to connect with the outside world and learn more from the people who come to visit their villages. Besides helping with English lessons, we’ll also get the chance to just connect with the kids and have some good ol’ fashioned play time! The energy and laughter of the children is super contagious, volunteering at the school will be some of the most fun we have the entire trip!
A trip to Thailand is not complete without a day spent shopping in Bangkok. Whether male, female, or a bit of both, there’s something for everybody in this crazy city! From the infamous street markets to the luxurious malls to the seemingly infinite amount of random market stalls, you can literally buy everything in Bangkok! Get right into it and sift through boxes of knock-off designer jeans, check out the funky tee’s created by local artists, find piles and piles of rad shoes. Hit the electronics and find every movie ever made or cheap cellphones, computer software and old video games. Peruse the knick-knacks and score samurai swords, unique art, Buddha carvings, and homemade jewellery. Wanna get fancy? Get anything you want tailor-made, from suits to jackets to shoes or hit up the gold jewellery stores and find that perfect piece! Or head to some of the nicest malls in the world and find every brand-name you want. The favourable exchange rate and generally cheap prices make shopping a fun, interesting and incredibly lucrative experience when in Bangkok! When you’re finally all done, relax with a well-deserved beer or park your keester in the cinema and enjoy the massive screens and comfy chairs for just a few bucks. How can anyone not love a stopover in Bangkok!?
For most travelers, shopping at home is an expensive and (for some) inconvenient chore, as we must troll through stores, malls, websites and our friends' closets in search of clothes that fit us properly and match our style. If only we could just go see some kind of person who makes clothes specifically for our size and preference… like a tailor? Having your clothes tailor-made is something we shrug off as something only for the rich and people interested in suits and dresses, but in many parts of the world tailors are still very prevalent and surprisingly affordable - and there is perhaps no place where this is more true than in Southeast Asia. Bangkok in Thailand is famous for its many suit and dress tailors offering great deals on a virtually infinite list of outfits. Likely the only place better than Bangkok is in the beautiful ancient capital of Hoi An in Vietnam, where you can find very cheap and very good tailors that make both western and traditional Vietnamese clothing. And we mean they'll make you anything: suits, dresses, jeans, shoes, jackets and with any material from high quality silk to denim to leather. It’s a dream come true for clothes lovers and an easy and cheap solution for those that detest shopping!
Now we don't want to fool you, a jungle is an unforgiving setting to hike through - there is thick vegetation, overwhelming heat, leeches and an untold amount of other creatures lurking around. But there is also an extreme beauty that lies within the power of a tropical jungle, a rainforest is full of life and every square foot is covered in something interesting and unique! You'll experience true adventure when you trek through a jungle and even if you're tired, dirty and fending off insects when you're doing it, you'll be proud of yourself when you finish! On our LTC trip, we go on a 3-day jungle trek in Northern Thailand that includes an amazing array of activities (including ethically interacting with elephants and riding a bamboo raft down a river). We camp in tribal villages at night - eating with them, seeing how they live and tasting their not-so-delicious-but-potent "happy water" (rice moonshine). We sleep in a massive hut that fits the entire group and each morning we wake up, eat breakfast, shake off the happy water cobwebs and continue on our adventure. It's an experience that fully encompasses the trials and tribulations of trekking through a tropical jungle - from muddy uphill paths to utopian waterfalls!
Party for Prosthetics is one of our newest initiatives that turns the aluminum tabs from beer cans into prosthetic limbs for people in need, such as those who have been dismembered from injury, disease, or landmines. We have partnered with a Thai organization called The Prostheses Foundation that has been doing this since the early 90’s - when we realized how much we could help out just by saving our beer tabs we thought this was a real win-win! Through a combination of our beach bevvies, travel day sippy cups, and all-night ragers, we have been known to put away a few beers from time to time, and now we are turning these parties into prosthetic limbs! This initiative adds even more zest to each cheers, shotgun, and beer bong, and fills us with a sense of pride as we gather the tabs over the course of each trip and see buckets fill with valuable little pieces of metal that are going to change someone’s life!
***Land Package prices do not include your international flight, airport taxes or transfers