Before coming on the Life Before Work tour, the thought of 40 days completely out of my comfort zone away from home was almost unbearable. But … then I met Brady, Dan and Wrong, who made me feel safe, secure, and welcomed despite the fact that I was on the other side of the world. They were very reassuring no matter the situation, and guided a very smooth tour. Now that I have experienced all of Thailand and a bit of Laos with their help and guidance. I think I can take on any other country whether it be 40 days of 100. Thanks Life Before Work!
Welcome to Life Before Work volunteering programs. We have had the opportunity to share the beauty and wonder of Thailand with hundreds of backpackers form all over the world while running tours throughout the country. These travelers have experienced a life changing and eye opening experience in this exotic land. A common theme shared by many of these travelers is that they wish they had more time to truly experience the authentic culture of the country and its amazing people. There is so much to take in when traveling in a place as diverse as Thailand that it can be difficult to gain a full appreciation of the rich culture around you. This got us thinking. How could we provide an experience tailored to those travelers seeking a deeper and more immersive cultural experience?
Last year, LBW began a program doing charity runs to local, under-privileged schools while operating the tours. The response from our travelers was so overwhelming that we have decided to create a program that provides people the opportunity to make a difference while being fully immersed in a community and culture unlike anything they have ever experienced. The local hill tribes of Northern Thailand have been living much the same way for hundreds of years. This program will allow you to provide these people with opportunities they would otherwise never have access to. You will be helping to teach these poor, disadvantaged kids how to speak English; a central part of breaking the cycle of poverty in this region as the ability to speak English opens up countless opportunities. Another key part of the program is to increase awareness about the importance of recycling (an unheard of concept in these parts of Thailand). This is essential for not only protecting the environment on which they count on to survive, but also to preserve tourism which is an vital source of income for the Northern Hill Tribes and all of Thailand.
Land Only Cost: $899
Transportation from Chiang mai to Pai , Pai to Chiang Mai
Transportations from Pai to all the villagers and back to Pai
All meals and accommodations
Full day cooking course at Pai cookery school
Bamboo making course at Tacome Pai
1hr full Thai body massage per week (2hrs total or 4 hrs if on the 4 weeks program)
A local guide on site in Pai and Chiang mai full time
What’s not included in the price:
Train or flights from Bangkok to Chiang mai and Chiang mai to Bangkok (we can arrange that for you)
Flight ticket to and from your place of origin (we can arrange that for you)
We have been working with kids from these parts of Northern Thailand for years and, as a company, feel like we could do more to improve the lives of these villagers and the local hill tribes. Thailand has provided us with so many amazing experiences that we can’t help but feel the need to give back. These programs have been carefully researched and it has always been one of our passions to help the community as well as educated foreigners about the beauty and culture of this fascinating land. As the volunteer organizer I have personally lived in the northern region of Thailand and was a business owner for the last 6 years so, as a local, I do know which local hill tribes and villagers need the most help and attention and where we would be able to make the biggest impact on peoples’ lives.
This program is designed for the traveler that can only get minimal time off from work/school but still wants to be fully absorbed in a foreign culture. Add something about extension from other tours. We will start by organizing your trip either by plane or train (not included in the price of the program) to Chiang mai, the culture capital of Thailand, where we will spend the night in checking out the local market and learning about the Lanna culture (this is what the traditional Chiang mai culture is called) and of course try out all the best northern dishes and drinks that Chiang mai has to offer.
The next day our journey will take us to a town called Pai in the province of Mae Hong Son 3 hrs away from Chiang mai. This province is known as the land of a thousand tribes and it is here that our volunteers will spend the most of their time. We will introduce you around town to the local people and show you around so you don’t feel like a stranger. Pai is a vibrant town, slightly off the well beaten path traveled by most backpackers. It has the best of both worlds with great western food, amazing Thai and vegan food, and an exciting night life. Loads of expat have come here and never left and you’ll see why when you visit here. These people all have great stories to tell and you are sure to have some fascinating conversations.
Five minutes away from Pai is the Chinese village where majority of Chinese Yunan people live. They have been living there alongside other hill tribes like the Lisu, Karen and Lahu for hundreds of years. The poverty and lack of education in this area is especially harsh because the Yunan are not considered Thai citizens and therefore receive little to no government funding. This is why we feel this area is somewhere we can really make a significant impact. Volunteers will be eased into their traditions slowly while learning the local language and some of the local community activities. Our volunteers will be teaching the underprivileged kids for 3 hrs a day (option of more hours of teaching can be arranged. Schedules are flexible to fit all personalities.) You will be transported from Pai to the village every day. This will be the daily routine for the first week of the program as you become more accustomed to your surroundings.
We will start the second week with a fun activity by doing a full day cooking course at the most famous and respected cooking school in Pai ( government certified ) Pai cookery school . P’ Geaw the owner and teacher is a local of Pai for more than 10 years and her experience and knowledge of Thai cuisine will blow your mind. She will take you to the local market and explain how to look for the best herbs, vegetables and meat not to mention sampling all sorts of exotic fruits available on in Thailand along the way.
The hard week of volunteer starts here at Tacome Pai. P’Sondok is the owner and operator of this amazing establishment where teaching self sustainable living has been his passion for the past 25 years. Not only you will learn about organic farming and self sustainable living, you will meet other volunteers from all over the world.
The seasonal activities at Tacome Pai are as follow:
May – Sept: Rice planting season, volunteers will experience what it is like to plant rice and trees in the jungle.
Oct- Dec: Harvesting rice, volunteers will get to see how hard cutting and harvesting rice can be but also how rewarding it is to know where the food you just had for dinner came from. Beans are also being harvested during this time
Jan- May: Building Bamboo houses, volunteers can learn and participate in the traditional method of building villagers homes.
Our last group dinner will be a special one. There is a restaurant in Pai called Baan Benjarong this restaurant is famous not only because it is a favorite of all the local restaurant owners in Pai, but the chef here use to cook for the royal family. As we all dine and wine for the night and share our experiences from the past 2 weeks we are sure everyone will agree that not only did we give our time and effort to a worthwhile cause helping the disadvantaged kids and villagers, but that we all learned something of the self sustainable life style that P’ Sondok taught us at Tacome Pai.
The next morning we will head back to Chiang mai and we’ll arrange your transportation back to Bangkok either by train or plane (price not included in the program) so that you catch your flight back home. We will take care of all the planning/logistics to make the travel as stress free and simple as possible.
LBW’s 2 week eye opener volunteering program is designed for volunteers not only to help out the less fortunate kids while learning something about their culture and the self sustainable life-style that everybody can apply in their everyday lives, we want all our volunteers to go back and appreciate what we have and not waste the opportunity that we are given. Spending time with the people of Northern Thailand will help you to realize all the privileges and opportunities you may have taken for granted in the past.
LBW 4 weeks Extensions volunteering program
This program is an extension of the 2 weeks eye opener program. The volunteers will be given options to spend time in more remote places in the Mae Hong Son province where these hill tribes or local Thai villagers would hardly ever have had contact with foreigners before. The volunteers will experience firsthand what is like to submerge yourself in a position that many people will never experience in their life time. You will live among the locals, eat among the locals and learn all their traditions and way of life.
There is no pressure on how long you have to volunteer in these remote parts so if you decided it’s not for you the program will continue in Pai either at Tacome Pai or teaching the kids in the local village nearby where you’ll be transported to and from Pai. Pai also happens to be one of Thailands best hubs for adventure activities such as rafting and trekking. Combined with the great nightlife that comes from a unique mix of locals, expats, and backpackers from across the world; whatever you choose to do there will be plenty to keep you busy and provide the experience of a life time.
LBW Volunteering Programs: “We can’t guarantee you will change the world, but we guarantee it will change yours”