How to make a difference on your Thailand holiday (and have fun doing it)

How to make a difference on your Thailand holiday (and have fun doing it)

Travel is often life changing. It transforms your perspective, and you’ll fondly remember encounters with welcoming locals for the rest of your life. Many who come to Thailand leave with an appreciation of the country. And if the Land of Smiles has touched your heart in the same way, you may wonder how can you give back to the people, environment, and culture. How can you make a difference? Here’s a couple ideas that will not only benefit the locals and environment, but are also quite fun.

 

How a homestay benefits you and your hosts

homestay maekampong

If you’re not familiar with homestays, this experience is when you spend the night in a local villagers home. With a homestay, you immerse yourself in a new culture. Your hosts typically speak no English, which means you’ll resort to the fun of communicating by hand and body language—much like the first foreign visitors did centuries ago. What’s more, you’ll also share meals with your homestay family and sleep overnight in their house or bungalow.

A homestay is a win-win for both you and the local family. You learn about Thai culture, and your homestay hosts receive a portion of the fee you pay, which they use to support their family. As long as you’re a respectful guest, which most travelers are, you’ll leave your hosts with a positive impression of foreigners.

 

Bring joy to Thailand’s national animal

elephant care

No doubt, many travels to the Land of Smiles for an up close and personal encounter with the national animal: the majestic elephant. While elephant rides are commonly touted around the country, there is a darkside to the activity. Wild elephants would never let you ride them. Though big animals, their backs aren’t meant to carry humans, and riding an elephant can cause severe damage to their spine. To persuade the animals to allow riding, their masters torture them from a young age to be subservient.

At a Chiang Mai elephant sanctuary, however, the gentle giants are treated with care. No riding is allowed. And instead, you’ll enjoy a genuine encounter with these magnificent animals as you feed, bathe and stroke them. A trip to a sanctuary helps protect elephants from mistreatment and is also a memorable, fun experience where you’ll share some smiles with mother nature’s biggest land mammal. 

 

Help locals and expats make a difference

Volunteering

If you’re looking to volunteer, Thailand’s options are plentiful. You can help out an orphanage, marine conservation project, stray dog projects, and an endless array of other volunteer activities. The best part about volunteering? Working alongside locals and expats, you escape the typical tourist bubble and experience the culture in a way few tourists do. What’s more, you may even form lifelong friendships with locals and your fellow volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer, Flight of the Gibbon hosts several tree planting events each year where we plant 15 to 30 thousands saplings in areas looking to reforest. These fun events include free lunch and plenty of time hanging out with locals and expats—all while helping the environment.

 

Want to get involved? In addition to ziplining, Flight of the Gibbon offers all of the above activities: homestays, elephant sanctuary trips, and volunteering. Get in touch with us today to learn how you can have some fun while making a difference.