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Volunteer Mae Hong Son

Since 2007 Travel to Teach has supported an orphanagae just outside the small town of Mae Hong Son. The town is nestled among the sharp slopes and valleys that characterize Thailand’s northwestern border region with Burma and is the economic and political focal point for the many different ethnic groups that live in the surrounding mountains and valleys. Because of it's closeness to the Burmese border the town hosts two huge refugee camps run by UNHCR.

The landscape consists of densely forested mountains much of which is protected as a National Park. The towering limestone mountains have been weathered overtime to create amazing waterfalls and cave formations.

Mae Hong Son is an ideal destination for those attracted to cultural and natural wonders. The lush mountain forests are some of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia making it an ideal destination for those for those interested in trekking, rafting, bird watching, elephant riding.

Mae Hong Son

Travel to Teach volunteers work with several schools located around Mae Hong Son. We teach in the schools where the children from the orphanage go in order for them to be accepted even though they are not Thai citizens. Teaching is in the mornings Monday-Friday, and volunteers will mostly be working at Primary Schools and in the local High school.

Additionally, volunteers can sometimes work at the orphanage in the afternoons, which provides vital support and education to children, the most vulnerable victims of the social fall-out in neighbouring Burma.

Mae Hong Son

At the moment, the orphanage is temporarily closed. Our hope is that it will be reopened within a few months.

The orphanage was founded in December of 2002 by five representatives from the Shan community who were involved in development and social work. Over the past seven years the orphanage has provided shelter, security and education for numerous underprivileged migrant children, primarily from Burma. The school provides training in the Shan, Thai and English languages as well as basic skills such as cooking and farming. The centre has a garden and rears pigs and chickens. The students work to tend the crops and animals, learning as they do the skills necessary to be independent and self-sufficient.

In the afternoons volunteers have the opportunity to work at the orphanage, playing with the kids and helping them with their studies.  In October and from mid march till mid may the schools are closed. Some of the children leave the orphanage during the vacations. During this time volunteers can still work in the orphanage, playing with and teaching the kids who are still there. There is also opportunity for restoration work at the orphanage.

 

Prices are available for any period between 2 weeks and 6 months.

Show prices in:
2 Weeks 4 Weeks 8 Weeks 12 Weeks 24 Weeks Extra Weeks
$694 $820 $1073 $1325 $1931 $50

Read how your fees are spent or compare our prices with other volunteer organisations.

View our prices in other volunteer locations's or combine your stay in with stays in other locations as part of a combination stay.

What you receive
  • "T2T Welcoming kit" containing: T-shirts, Thai language book, Info booklets on Teaching, on T2T and on Thai culture
  • A two day orientation upon arrival
  • Thai Language and cooking lessons
  • 24 hour support from T2T (Thai and western) staff living in the same town
  • Accommodation in T2T dorms according to specifications in your "Placement information"
  • Regular follow-up meetings
  • Transportation between projects
  • At some teaching placements you join the school for lunch.
Apart from our fees, you must pay for:
  • Your ticket to Chiang Mai
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Visa to Thailand
  • Food (about 2 €/day) and other personal expenses

Our application process typically takes two or three weeks, but can be speeded up if there is a need for that. When we receive the initial application from you, we will send you our full application form.

(1) Complete the Initial Application Form:
The first stage of the application process is to fill out the brief initial application form. Upon receiving this we will send you the full application form.

(2) Complete the Full Application Form:
Fill out the application form. After receiving this we will assess your suitability and place you on one of our programs.

(3) Placement info:
We will return detailed placement information and an invoice. If you accept the placement you should clikc the link to say so. The fee can be paid with credit card through PayPal or by bank transfer.

(4) Communication:
Once you have made your traveling arrangements you should mail your time of arrival and the means of transportation and we will confirm pickup.

You can join us for any amount of time, from a week to six months. We do recommend a trip of three to six months since it offers the best value. Regardless of the length of your stay, you will be able to learn some Thai and you will have time to get to know a new culture, come to know its people, and form relationships that will outlast the duration of your stay.

Dates of arrival: All teaching will start on the day after the introduction.


Dates for the Year 2015:
January: Sun 4, Sun 18
February: Sun 1, Sun 15
March: Sun 1, Sun 15, Sun 29
April: Sun 12, Sun 26
May: Sun 10, Sun 24
June: Sun 7, Sun 21
July: Sun 5, Sun 19
August: Sun 2, Sun 16, Sun 30
September: Sun 13, Sun 27
October: Sun 11, Sun 25
November: Sun 8, Sun 22
December: Sun 6, Sun 20
Dates for the Year 2016:
January: Sun 3, Sun 17, Sun 31
February: Sun 14, Sun 28
March: Sun 13, Sun 27
April: Sun 10, Sun 24
May: Sun 8, Sun 22
June: Sun 5, Sun 19
July: Sun 3, Sun 17, Sun 31
August: Sun 14, Sun 28
September: Sun 11, Sun 25
October: Sun 9, Sun 23
November: Sun 6, Sun 20
December: Sun 4, Sun 18

Volunteers will stay in a comfortable and quiet guesthouse located in the center of Mae Hong Son town. The ideal location allows volunteers convenient access to all parts of the town and is adjacent to the large lake and park that acts as Mae Hong Son’s aesthetic crown jewel. Our rooms are simple but clean and comfortable, many rooms have a view of the nearby central lake and towering wat at the top of Mae Hong Son’s acropolis. Furthermore, the residence has several “common areas” where you can peacefully sit and work. Free internet is available at most of the local restaurants and also at the local temple where you may teach.

Mae Hong Son

MHS offers plenty of opportunity for adventure and sight seeing. There is climbing, hiking, tubing or rafting down the Pai River, elephant riding, and mountain biking. Volunteers can explore numerous waterfalls and hot springs and caves. There places of interest for sightseers including the infamous ‘Coffin Caves’, the Pangtong Royal Palace and the Long-neck Karen villages. Your coordinator can help you plan and undertake these activities.

In the evening there is a food market on the banks of the central lake opposite the volunteer residence. There is a small community of westerners, mainly connected to the UNICEF, International Rescue and other relief organizations that work in the area, consequently western food is available, as well as many options for Thai food including traditional northern dishes like Kao Soi and Miang Kam. Eating Thai food will cost around 30 bath/meal, while western food will cost approximately 70-120 bath/meal.

Due to its elevation, MHS is considerably cooler than most of Thailand. Although still hot during the day (17 to 25 degrees in the November to January, the cool season, and above 30 degrees during the March and April, the hot season) temperatures will often drop up to 10 degrees at night particularly in the cold season. The cooler climate has many advantages, making the days far less humid during the day and discouraging mosquitoes.

Mae Hong Son Weather Chart
Volunteer Mae Hong Son Weather Image

You will be based in Mae Hon Song but your orientation will be in Chiang Mai.

Arriving by Air:

The fastest and most convenient way to get to Chiang Mai is with one of the low-cost carriers from Bangkok Don Muang International Airport. There are a number of budget airlines flying thus route and flights cost approximately 1,500-2,000 Baht. You can book a flight online at Nokair, Airasia, or Thai Airways

International flights arrive in to Suvarnabhumi International Airport and most Thai Domestic Flights also departs from there. Only Nok Air uses Don Mueang Airport. To get there you can take an airport taxi for approximately 500 Baht or you can take a local bus for 35 Baht (approx 45 mins depending on traffic), buses leave from the ground floor of the Suvarnabhumi terminal building. There are information kiosks should you get confused or lost.

Arriving by Train:

There are several trains of various qualities and speeds leaving from Hualamphong train station in Bangkok throughout the day.

We recommend the non air-con 2nd class sleeper which arrives in Chiang Mai in the early morning.

Train reservations online can be made through www.traveller2000.com.

(There is an airport bus direct to the train station from the ground floor of the Suvarnabhumi terminal building)

Arriving by Bus:

Government buses leave the Northern and Northeastern busterminal in Bangkok several times a day. You have the choice between 1st and VIP class and tickets range from 300 to 400 Baht.

There are daily private night buses leaving from the Khao San area for as little as 100 Baht. If you go for these, make sure the agencies are delivering the services you were promised and watch your belongings carefully on all buses.

You will be picked up from the airport, bus or train station in Chang Mai by one of the coordinators with a placard that says Traveln to Teach. Should you not see anyone just phone our project manager, Kerstin, on +66843654035.

A

Graduating with a degree in Tourism A is now working as our Mae Hon Song coordinator. He is responsible for contact with schools and organising English camps and looks after our volunteers giving Thai language lessons and cooking classes

Contact A: a@travel-to-teach.org

Nana

Nana is 30 years old and was born in Mae Sot, Thailand. She is ethnically Karen and has an exam as public health instructor.


There are many options for your visa depending on the length of your stay.

One month tourist visa (free)
This is valid for 30 days and is granted free on arrival in Thailand by air. If you arrive at a land border you will currently only be given a 15 day visa. Please note you can only have three free one month visa stamps in any six month period.

Two/Three month single entry tourist visa (1,200 Baht - approx. 24€)
This is valid for two/three months after your arrival in Thailand. If you leave the country during this time your visa will become invalid. This can be arranged in advance at any Thai Consulate/Embassy. For a list of Thai Embassy's around the world see www.thaiembassy.org.

If you are staying in Thailand for more than a month and do not have time to arrange a 2 month visa, you can simply get your free stamp on arrival and then cross over into Laos after 30 days and apply for it there.

It's quite a simple process:
To revalidate your visa you will have to come to Nongkhai. Simply catch a tuk-tuk to the friendship bridge where you will be able to get a bus across to Laos. On the far side of the friendship bridge you will get your Laos visa (approx $35).

Once in Laos you have two options, you can either return directly to Thailand receiving a 15 day visa extension or if you want a two month visa you will need to visit the Thai Embassy in Vientiane and spend one night in the city. Please note that for your Laos visa and for a two month Thai visa you will need passport photos and a photocopy of your passport. Vietiane is a 30 minute bus or taxi ride from the border.

You can also use your time in Laos to explore the country further and there are regular buses running from Vientiane to most of Laos including Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang.

If you are planning to work in Cambodia then you will need to obtain a police records background check before starting your placement. For details on the application procedure in your home country please take a look at: www.travel-to-teach.org/CRB-information.php

At all other locations you will be required to abide by the Travel to Teach Child Protection Policy.

You should tell your doctor that you are likely to go on a jungle trip in Northern Thailand and that you will live in village outside Chiang Mai. Keep in mind, Chiang Mai is an urban area and one need not worry about malaria pills for staying exclusively in there.

Also visit the WHO's (World Health Organisation) Travelers health information

One of the conditions of entry onto our programs is that volunteers have travel insurance. Most importantly the insurance needs to include medical treatment and repatriation in case of unforeseen accidents or illnesses. Volunteers should purchase insurance independently and bring a copy of their insurance certificate with them for their local co-ordinator to check before starting their program. Read our terms and conditions.

You will get a Travel to Teach certificate stating the time and place you have been teaching.

All volunteers are required to read and agree to our terms and conditions before being accepted onto one our programs.
Read our Terms & Conditions
Download our Teach Terms and Conditions as a PDF File

Thailand Photo Bjoern, Germany
"I really was very very happy when me and my girl friend arrived in Mae Hong Song. On the one hand we were curious about the new location and the teaching but on the other hand - and in that moment it was my only thougt (to be honest) I was feeling very sick after a six-hour minibus tour and nearly 2000 bends!"
Read Bjoern's Volunteer Story
Thailand Photo Vic, UK
"If you are looking for a unique and rewarding experience, and you like being independent, getting away from the crowds and experiencing life with the locals, then Mae Hong Son is the ideal choice for you."
Read Vic's Volunteer Story
Thailand Photo Temple Teaching in Mae Hong Son Video
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