When most people think of visiting Thailand, they generally think of just a few of the most famous places. These are areas that have been popular with tourists for the longest time, such as the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, as well as cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
It’s a shame, because this general lack of knowledge about Thailand’s numerous other amazing areas means that the vast majority of tourists never get to experience the real Thailand. They are stuck on the tourist trail, staying on Western hotels, eating at restaurants that cater for foreign palates, doing the same tours that everybody else does, never able to see a more authentic side.
This suits many people just fine. If you want a comfortable holiday with no surprises, then there’s no need to leave your resort. If, however, you want more of an adventure, and a taste of the Thailand that originally drew tourists here decades ago, then you should try to get off the tourist trail.
A perfect way to achieve this is to become a volunteer in Thailand.
An excellent place to base yourself is in the Trat province, located in the east of the country. It is away from the main tourist hotspots, but just as beautiful and interesting. It is very close to the large archipelago of islands in Mu Ko Chang national park, for example, as well as many other great attractions.
Here are some of the top reasons that you should consider becoming a volunteer in Trat.
Live like a local
Trat province is well and truly off the beaten track, being located away from the area most popular with tourists.
This makes it an ideal place to get an insight into how the locals live. I genuinely believe that this kind of insight enriches any trip, and gives you a much better idea of what a country and its people are really like.
Being a volunteer in Trat province only enhances the experience further, as you will be welcomed by locals as somebody who is there to offer help. People are far more likely to engage with you and teach you about their history, culture, and way of life this way, resulting in both sides getting more out of it.
If you can build up a rapport with local people, you can also get invaluable tips about the best sights that tourists don’t know about, the restaurants that have the most authentic food, and money-saving tips that can stretch your budget further.
Learn the language
A brilliant way to improve your traveling experience in any foreign country is to learn the local language. This may sound like a lot of effort for little reward, especially in a country like Thailand where many locals speak English, but it can add a whole new dimension to your trip.
You don’t have to try to become fluent, just pick up a few basic words and phrases and see where you go from there.
Volunteering in Trat makes the whole process a lot easier. As you are staying in a non-touristy area, you will have a harder time finding English speakers, so will have to rely on your Thai a lot more than somewhere like Bangkok, for example.
Also, living and working among Thai people, you will have ample opportunities to practice and develop your language skills in a relaxed environment.
Make lifelong friends
An inevitable consequence of volunteering in Trat is that you will end up making a lot of friends.
As a volunteer, you will be working and living with several other foreign volunteers. These people are in the country for the exact same reasons as you and become like your family during the project.
Besides volunteers, by staying in close proximity to, and working alongside Thai people, you will have unique chances to befriend locals. This can be an incredibly rewarding experience that wouldn’t usually be possible as a normal tourist.
Volunteer in Trat for a unique and amazing trip
Thailand is the perfect holiday destination, and Trat is one of the hidden gems of the country.
Become a volunteer in Trat to explore this stunning country more than you ever could from a regular holiday.
This blog post is contributed by Nicoleta Radoi.
About the author: Nicoleta Radoi
Nicoleta is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions and currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.