Teaching at a Buddhist temple provides an opportunity for a volunteer to experience a wonderful cultural insight into Buddhism and life as a monk. Travel to Teach offers teaching placements at temples located in and around Doi Saket and in Mae Hong Son, allowing volunteers to teach English to classes of monks and novices.
The temples that you would work with are ambitious and well run, with some of the teachers there having a good level of English. The temples are always keen to have volunteers so your support and effort will be most appreciated. In return you will find monk students and teachers to be only too happy to educate you about temple life, Thai culture and Buddhism as a whole.
Sometimes the temples we work with accept males to stay and live at the temple, undertaking duties and activities that monks and living a temple lifestyle. Females are not currently accepted to live and stay at the temple.
The following video shows what a volunteer can expect whilst teaching at a temple:
Volunteer temple teaching video.
We are teaching the younger novices aged between 11 and 16 years old. Many of them come from Burma and by beeing monks get the opportunity of an education they would not have in their home country. Volunteers are supported in teaching by some othe older monks several of whom have a high education.
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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.
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.
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 Monday after the introduction.
November: Sat 5, Sat 19
December: Sat 3, Sat 17, Sat 31
|January: Sat 14, Sat 28
February: Sat 11, Sat 25
March: Sat 11, Sat 25
April: Sat 8, Sat 22
|May: Sat 6, Sat 20
June: Sat 3, Sat 17
July: Sat 1, Sat 15, Sat 29
August: Sat 12, Sat 26
|September: Sat 9, Sat 23
October: Sat 7, Sat 21
November: Sat 4, Sat 18
December: Sat 2, Sat 16, Sat 30
Volunteers can stay at the volunteer house we have in Chiang Mai or Mae Hong Son. All bedrooms have beds and fans. Volunteers will normally have to share a room. Each house has a TV, DVD player, DVD’s, a terrace, western toilets and showers.
Males who choose to stay at the temple will live in a single room and use an outdoor bathroom which is just outside the room. The room is located near to that of the head monk and is basic but comfortable.
Volunteers will teach a number of classes at the temple, working with monks of various ages and levels of English. There will also be some free time between lessons which can be spent talking to monks and gaining an insight into the temple way of life.
For those staying at the volunteer houses, activities and amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, golf courses, tennis courts, saunas and spas are all available.
Males who stay at the temple are welcomed to join in with the monk’s daily lifestyle. This includes the chance to collect food in town in the early morning, to take meals with the monks and to undertake any other activities monks take part in.
Each volunteer house has a fridge, toaster and water boiler, but no cooking facilities. However, the streets of Thai cities are filled with places to eat and within a short walk from the volunteer house you have at several restaurants. There are many convenient supermarkets in Chiang Mai and small store where you can buy bread, milk, cereal and other basics in Doi Saket.
For males staying at the temple, you can join monks between 5 and 6am to help collect their morning alms. An hour or so is spent walking through the local village or area and collecting whatever food is offered by the local people and blessing those that give it before heading back to the monastery to prepare the first meal for around seven-thirty. For lunch, the novices, monks and volunteers will eat a repeat of whatever is left over from breakfast around 11-12. Although monks will not eat after midday, volunteers staying at the temple can opt to have an evening meal.
Ask a local about the weather in Chiang Mai or Mae Hong Son and they will tell you there are three seasons, hot and wet, hot and dry and just plain hot. In reality the temperature can drop to as low as 10°C between November and February and the brief monsoon rains and some breeze throughout the summer months provide a welcome respite to the heat.
Nongkhai Weather Chart
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 depart from Don Mueang Airport. If you are flying with Air Asia you will be able to fly straight from Suvarnabhumi, but for Nokair and Thai Air you will have to get to Don Mueang. 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.
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.
(There is an airport bus direct to the train station from the ground floor of the Suvarnabhumi terminal building)
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 Travel to Teach. Should you not see anyone just phone one of the contact persons on the placement information you have.
Jim graduated from Khon Kaen University's tourism program in 2007 and initially completed a 3 month internship with Travel to Teach before joining us permanently. After working with us in Nongkhai for 2 years Jim now manages our programs in Chiang Mai and is since 2009 responsible for our all Thai programs.Contact Jim: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 two different opions 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 visa.
If you are working for a longer period than one month you need a volunteer visa. This can be obtained at immigration in Chiang Mai. We will asssist you with that. You need to have a non immigrant O or B visa to start with. We will send you a paper that you need to bring to the Thai embassy in your home country and they will give you the appropriate visa.
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.