Chiang Mai, Thailand
See the world. Open your mind. Get your hands dirty. Make a difference. Join this Global Village team as we travel to Northern Thailand, an area rich in history and natural beauty. We will work side by side with local families and experience the culture, food and landscape of Chiang Mai through building and other activities during the week. This will be a very active 14-day trip. No construction experience is necessary – only a willingness to listen, learn, work and play.
Seventeen-year-old Nujaree Kunlung stays at home while her mother and sister work. Their new Habitat house is being built right next to their current house, pictured here.
Thailand is located in Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Myanmar (Burma). Laos and Cambodia also border Thailand to the north and east.
The climate in Thailand is tropical; a rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon season (mid-May to September); a dry, cool northeast monsoon season (November to mid-March). The southern isthmus is always hot and humid.
The government’s National Housing Authority estimates some 8.2 million people live in substandard housing. Problems are particularly acute in Bangkok, as the capital has grown into a major metropolis dwarfing other cities in the country. Migrants face high rents for small rooms and often live in overcrowded areas plagued by a lack of proper sanitation facilities. Squatter settlements are commonly seen along railway lines or near port and industrial areas.
About Habitat for Humanity Thailand
Habitat for Humanity Thailand began operations in 1998 in Udon Thani. Since July 2006, HFH Thailand has been operating through Habitat Resource Centers (HRCs) in Bangkok in the central area, Chiang Mai in the north, Udon Thani in the northeast, and Phang Nga province in the south.
HFH Thailand’s tsunami-reconstruction program has served more than 1,500 families as of 2008 and is being transformed, as planned, into a regular program. The move reflects the continuing strong need for affordable housing in the south of the country.
For more information, visit www.habitatthailand.org. An English language version is available.
Types of construction for volunteers
HFH Thailand’s houses are typically 36 square meters each in size and the design features the use of concrete interlocking blocks or concrete hollow blocks with a tiled roof. On-site volunteers can expect to move dirt, move blocks, dig septic tanks, bend rebar, mix concrete, pour concrete and lay block under the supervision of a local foreman. No previous construction skill or experience is required.
- Day 1: Depart the U.S.
- Day 2: Travel day .
- Day 3: Arrive in Chiang Mai; dinner and free time.
- Day 4: Welcome and orientation with local staff; visit project sites and families; welcome dinner.
- Days 5-7: Typical work days: breakfast served before traveling to worksite; work from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; free time after work to clean up; dinner; free time for activities.
- Day 8: Free day; local activities and site seeing
- Days 9-12: Breakfast served before traveling to worksite; work from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; free time after work to clean up; dinner; free time for activities; dedication and farewell ceremony with community on Day 12
- Day 13: Cultural activities and sight-seeing.
- Day 14: Depart for home.
The team can expect lodging in a local hotel or guesthouse with participants sharing double-occupancy rooms and shared baths. The trip cost also includes three meals per day, including traditional Thai lunches on the build site, as well as snacks and bottled water.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village trip cost.)
Maris Grossman is a strategist at an innovation consulting firm in Chicago who loves taking photos, editing film, living in the city and hiking through the mountains. She got involved with Habitat while studying architecture in college and has learned through leading Global Village trips to Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as participating in a trip to Alaska, that there is no better way to volunteer and travel the world. You can reach Maris Grossman by email at email@example.com.