' I LOVE this experience in chitwan for though short period! 'Xue Ying Fiona Wang
Disclaimer:The information given in this FAQ's page is generic. You should verify critical information such as visa-related issues, health and safety, customs and transportation with the relevant authorities prior to traveling. Please be aware that information given in FAQ's may change at any time. In effect, we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information. For the latest updates, please contact us or our in-country coordinator(s).
The founder of RCDP has been involved in volunteer abroad business for the last 10 years. During this time, he has worked with more than 2000 volunteers and more than 200 universities, colleges, and schools groups.
Working with inspiring college students and humanitarian volunteers was very motivating as well as very enjoyable and presented many exciting learning opportunities. This experience encouraged him to start his own volunteer abroad program where affordable prices, premium programs and meaningful contributions to deprived communities would become the key components of the programs.
With this in mind, while setting up volunteer and travel abroad organization, we have selected many safe and culturally rich destinations where volunteers can make meaningful contributions, immerse in local culture, and get enriched from volunteer abroad experience. In each destination, we have carefully selected projects, host families, travel coordinating staff, and placed local support staff. We have provided them with extensive training to manage the program with professional services that will be delivered with care and respect for all volunteers. We are now proud of our coordinators, host families, host projects, and staff as all of them have at least 4 years of working experience with international volunteers. To meet your expectation, they are committed to working hard to meet your expectations, delivering professional services, and turn your volunteer abroad experience into a memorable journey.
In Thailand, we operate in Ayuthaya, which likes about 2 hours north of Bangkok. Ayuthaya was once the largest city in Asia before the Burmese army razed it to ground. Today, you can still see wonderful monuments and many other fascinating remains.
There are two options available to those applying for volunteer positions in the Thailand programs:
Once RCDP receives your application, it will immediately be forwarded to Thailand for processing. Our Thailand In-Country coordinator will then carefully review your application to ensure you get placed in the project that matches your criteria and your qualifications.
Once the India In-Country coordinator finalizes and forwards us the detail, we will immediately send it to you. The whole process normally takes 1-2 weeks. However, this can sometimes take longer.
You will also find an invoice requesting you to pay the program fee along with the placement details.
Once you receive the placement details, you can even call our India office directly and speak to our In-Country coordinator and any questions that you might need to prepare for the trip.
Preparation for an Indian trip includes: reading about India, vaccination, visa arrangement, booking tickets. If you experience ANY problems, please call RCDP office.
Once you purchase air tickets, they should immediately submit the flight details to BOTH RCDP and Thailand office.
Please arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand.
One of our representatives will be waiting for you in the arrival lounge holding a placard with your name on it. This will happen without fail if you have passed on your travel itinerary to our office. If you want to be absolutely sure, you can call our Thailand office and talk to our In-Country coordinator.
If your flight gets delayed or if you miss your flight and book yourself with a later flight, please let us know immediately by calling our office. You must try to call first and then email the details if possible. Look at your placement details for all the contract information.
If you can not make any contact and no one receives you at the airport, look at your placement details, hire a pre-paid taxi and go to the hotel recommended on it.
Let the In-Country coordinator know your whereabouts after your arrive at the hotel or the next day. The coordinator will arrange pick up later.
Volunteers coming to Thailand are suggested to arrive one day before the start of program. If volunteers arrive more than one day earlier or remain after the close of their program, they will be responsible for their own for providing their own accommodation and meal.
RCDP will look after your entire needs during your project work. We run a Home Base on the outskirts of Bangkok where initially volunteers stay.
During the volunteering period, volunteers stay with a host family. However, a volunteer joining the orphanage project will stay at the orphanage compound. We will arrange a separate room and shared bath for volunteers both in host family and in the residential orphanage settings.
You can find the details of the room/food accommodations in the placement sheets.
RCDP International requires volunteers to acquire a tourist Visa in their home country prior to departure for Thailand. Volunteers should apply for a tourist visa.
United States of America
Royal Thai Embassy ,
1024 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 101 , Washington , D.C. 20007
Tel : (202) 944-3608
Fax : (202) 944-3641
Royal Thai Embassy
29-30 Queen's Gate, London , SW7 5JB
Tel: +07 1 5890173, 5892944
Fax: +07 1 8239695
Visit the sites listed below and acquire as much information as possible. Remember there is no harm in knowing more when it comes to health and safety.
Please visit Center for Disease Control's website ( www.cdc.gov ) for traveler's health recommendations. Your travel doctor will be knowledgeable about current epidemics and should be consulted.
The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Southeast Asia including Thailand. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.
Thai people show a deep veneration for their monarch and royal family. Criticizing the royal family can easily land you in jail. Visitors should always talk about the royal family vary warmly.
Dress conservatively in religious places. It is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the main shrine where the principal Buddha images are kept.
Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. Volunteers are forbidden to touch Buddhist monks, especially by a woman. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.
Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a Wai.
Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.
The currency of Thailand is "Thailand Bhat (TZS)".
Dollars can be changed at the exchange counters inside the airport. Many businesses accept dollars at the current exchange rate.
ATM machines are available at various regions throughout Thailand, especially in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the airport.
Do not arrive in Thailand without any cash as ATM machines sometimes may not be working or fail to accept your card. Check with your bank to confirm that your card will work overseas. Debit cards and credit cards are acceptable at major stores. Travelers' checks are exchanged at the banks. In most locations, you won't be able to exchange them. Debit card is the best way of getting money out and ATM vendors are available in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in large stores and hotels in larger cities.
Credit card fraud is a big problem in Thailand. Do not use your cards at any smaller or non-reputable locations.
You can get by with $15 a day provided you don't spend much. Accommodation and meal during your project is free but if you want to explore Thailand and shop, budget accordingly.
We keep in touch with our volunteers. Our staffs visit volunteers every 2 weeks. You are encouraged to contact our office if you have any advices and suggestions. You will be provided with all the contact information.
Internet cafes can be found Bangkok and Chiang Mai and the cost of surfing the web is around $1/hour. You can also call home from international phone cards. For local phone calls, do not use international call cards.
Contact RCDP office whenever you like if you want to discuss a problem. We are there to help you and make your stay a pleasant and a rewarding one.
Thailand's climate is tropical, high both in temperature and humidity, and dominated by monsoons. April and May are the hottest months of the year, when even the locals are moved to complain about the heat. June sees the beginning of the South West Monsoon, and brings with it the rainy season, which continues intermittently until the end of October.
From November to the end of February the climate is much less trying with a cooling North East breeze and a reduction in the humidity level. This is also the main tourist season, and the best time to visit Thailand.
The north and north-east are generally cooler than Bangkok in winter and hotter in summer. In the far north, around Mae Hong Son temperatures can occasionally drop as low as 2oC.
Temperature and rain fall of Bangkok
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It will be a nice gesture if you bring items like books, pencils, color pens, toys and games, especially if you are volunteering in schools and orphanages.
You can also bring things like chocolates, CD, T-Shirts to the host family.
Thailand has a unique and fascinating culture and tradition. The country is also known for its smiling citizens, the land of elephants and the land of Buddhism.
A number of magnificent temples in Bangkok, the stunning mountains in the north like Chiang Mai, the world famous beach resort with its vibrant nightlife in Pattaya, and the idyllic beaches and clear water in Phuket are just a few of Thailand's highlighted attraction. Thailand still implausibly has a large array of unseen pockets to discover. Meanwhile, Thailand is still graced with its charming tradition which remained strong among Thai people although affected by flows of modernization and westernization which make it one of the highly developed countries in the region. Buddhism has always played a significant role in the embodiment of Thai tradition, value, and attitude towards of people in society. This characteristic may be the real charm of Thailand which is represented as the simple lifestyle, peaceful mind, and optimism.
Now it comes to you to explore this land on your own route and with your own mind. It is up to you how you view Thailand. But one thing you can witness by yourselves: Thailand will be your travel paradise and will give you an exceptional experience for your lifetime.
Thailand can boast its distinction being the only one country in Southeast Asia that has remained independent and never been colonized throughout its history. Thailand's 800-year-history can be divided into five major periods, each of which has founded typical characteristics of Thai culture today.
According to Chinese historical records, Thai people founded Nanchao Kingdom in the southern part of China which is the present-day Yunnan, Kwangsi, and Canton provinces. Later, due to the invasion of people from the north, a flood of Thai people migrated southwards into Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, and as far as Chao Praya Basin. They settled down in the peninsula's Central Plain under the sovereignty of the Khmer Empire whose culture influenced on the fundamental Thai culture in those early times. After a course of time, Thai people accumulated its power and finally founded their independent state of Sukhothai around A.D.1238 which marks the beginning of the Sukhothai Period.
While the two existing Khmer and Mon Kingdoms were facing their waning power, the Thais began to emerge as a dominant force in the region in the 13th century, and finally set up the independent city-state in the upper area of central Thailand, given the name as "Sukhothai" or "the Dawn of Happiness". During the Sukhothai Period, Thai cultures came to its golden age, particularly under the reign of King Ramkamheng the Great. He led Sukhothai to its prosperity of power, economy, religion, and arts. The state's territory under him extended to most of Malaya, Laos, eastern and central Thailand as well as some vassals of the Mons in Burma. Theravada Buddhism was also introduced to the kingdom. Trades with China and other parts of region prospered. On the top of things, Thai alphabet was invented in this period, marking the first written historical record of Thailand and also the typical Thai civilization. However, under the successive kings after Ramkamheng, Sukhothai declined and was eventually subdued to the mightier state of Ayutthaya in 1350.
Established by King U Thong (renamed King Ramathibodi I), Ayutthaya came into its dominance over other Thai principalities in the mainland Southeast Asia. Ayutthaya kingdom is centered on the western side of the Chao Praya River basin, expanding its territory to the whole central Siam, from Sukhothai to the north to Malay Peninsula in the south. For the next 417 years, Ayutthaya had been a capital of Thai state in which Thai people had strengthen their identity both as a unique group of people and as a nation through language, art, and culture. In the 17th century, Siam started diplomatic and commercial relations with the western countries. However, in parallel of flowering age, Ayutthaya had experienced constant struggles for the throne inside the court itself as well as the external conflicts with its neighbors among which Burma was the chief enemy. The conflicts came to the head in 1767 when Burmese troops invaded Ayutthaya and succeeded in capturing the capital. Despite their overwhelming victory, the Burmese did not retain control of Siam for long. A young general named Phraya Taksin and his followers broke through the Burmese encirclement and escaped to Chantaburi. Seven months after the fall of Ayutthaya, he and his forces sailed back to the capital and expelled the Burmese occupation garrison.
After breaking through the Burmese siege, Praya Taksin united his force and decided to transferred the capital from Ayutthaya to the site closer to the sea for a reason of more defensive position and benefits from trades that were then necessities for the re-establishment of the kingdom; hence the new capital of Siam-Thonburi on the west bank of the Chao Praya River, just opposite the present-day Bangkok. Due to the aftermaths of disunity and chaos of Ayutthaya's collapse, Thonburi could not avoid the constant battles both with Burma and also the uprising rebellions throughout the kingdom. Despite the unification of most provinces, Thonburi, as a capital of Siam lasted only 15 years. Taksin, reportedly got insane, was forced to abdicate the throne by his ministers and generals, and eventually executed. The event marked the beginning of a new shift which oversaw the present-day Thailand.
After Taksin's death, the former general of Thonburi, Chao Praya Chakri, ascended to the throne, claiming himself, King Rama I, the first king of Chakri Dynasty of Rattanakosin Period. Fearful of Burmese attack, King Rama I transferred his capital from Thonburi across the Chao Praya River to the present site of Bangkok, and gave it a Sanskrit name as "Krung Tep" or the "City of Angels ". The kingdom with its re-established capital and its boundary secured from warfare paved the way for arts, architecture, and culture to flourish again. The Grand Palace, magnificent temples and many other constructions are a result of the attempt of King Rama I to revive the splendor of Ayutthaya in his new capital. The succeeding kings also led Siam to its prosperity of religion, arts and international trades.
During the reign of King Rama IV and King Rama V, Thailand entered the modernization and the diplomatic relations with the western world, overseeing the dramatic development of the nation. Even in certain volatile situations in the worldwide globe such as during the Colonialism, Thailand with its rulers' shrewdness in diplomacy could manage to retain its independence through that era. Thailand changed from the absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1932; the country's was also changed from Siam to Thailand with the advent of democratic government in 1939. The present king of Chakri Dynasty is King Rama IX, King Bhumipol Adulyadej.
Thai culture is a unique variant of many cultures in Asia. Lying between the two great hubs of Asian civilization, China and India, it is not surprising to see the significant traces of Hindu and Chinese cultures in Thai culture. Through a long course of time, the Thai people have developed their own characteristic culture that is deeply-rooted in Thai society.
Thai culture can embrace many of its aspects; it can be language, art, ways of life, values as well as people's attitude.
Thai language is one of the best symbols of Thai culture. Thai alphabet was invented by King Ramkamheng the Great in 1283 by modeling on the ancient Indian alphabets of Sanskrit and Pali languages through the medium of the old Khmer character.
The inscriptions found in Sukhothai are the fruitful evidence of linguistic history in Thailand. Through along course of times, Thai language has evolved to have 44 letters (including 2 obsolete ones).
Thai language basically consists of monosyllable words whose meanings are complete by themselves. Another dominant feature is that Thai language is a tonal language with five different tones: low tone, high tone, falling tone, rising tone, and mid tone. For example, the word "Mai" when pronounced with the low tone will mean "new"; with the high tone is "wood"; with falling tone will be "not"; with the rising tone is "silk". Despite the difficulties of tones, Thai grammar is quite easy; there is no conjugation like French and English verbs, and verbs are not irregular. The difference in a sentence between present, future, and past time is indicated by a small word added. Like most of languages of the world, Thai language is influenced by the foreign languages as there are many words used today were derived from Pali, Sanskrit, Khmer, Malay, Chinese and English.
Once you are in Thailand, what cannot be unmentioned are Thai arts represented as temples, architecture, painting, crafts, dance and music. Thai arts are a result of the assimilation of many artistic influences of various periods throughout its history. The most predominant one is that of India, and they evolved to be typical Thai arts that can boast its grace and charm today. Although Thai arts are the blend of diverse influences, the real source of inspiration and influence is Buddhism which profoundly rooted in Thai society for longtime. Unsurprisingly, most of artistic expressions in Thailand, Buddhism is implied in some ways.
Painting: Classical Thai painting is mostly confined to mural painting inside Buddhist temples and palaces. Themes depicted in mural painting are mostly related to Buddhism, such as Buddha's lives, stories of the three worlds (heaven, earth and hell) as well as scenes of customs and traditions of people. Mural painting serves several functions: to embellish and dignify the place of worship, to promote Buddhism, and to educate people through pictures.
Architecture: Thai classical architecture is represented as the royal palace buildings, pagodas, stupas, and temples. Thai architecture is influenced by Indian, Mon Khmer, and China. The typical feature of Thai architecture is overlapping rooftops and soaring pointed towers, elaborately ornamented with carved wood and stucco, gilded lacquer work, in-laid work, Chinese porcelain and color glass mosaic.
Sculpture: Thai sculpture mostly focuses on Buddha images that rank among the world's greatest expressions of Buddhist art. Sculptural styles are varied from each other in each period. The Sukhothai period is the golden age of Thai sculpture. Buddha images during this period were portrayed in a graceful and gentle figure and in various positions: standing, sitting, walking, and reclining. During Ayutthaya period, three stages of styles are distinguished. In the early and the middle periods of Ayutthaya, sculptors still admitted Khmer and Sukhothai styles, respectively. When it comes to the late Ayutthaya, sculptors developed their style to be decorative Buddha images in royal attire which continues its popularity in Rattanakosin period as well.
Literature: In early days, Thai literature limitedly concerned religion, royalty, and aristocracy rather than popular lives. Most of them were written in verse of various patterns. Thai literary history was face-lifted in the early 20th during the reign of King Rama VI, the poet king. Prose has become a favorite form of work among Thai writers ever since. Themes depicted in their works were changed from the court life to the common life scenes.
Drama: Thai drama embraces also a dance, originating in the royal court. The techniques of dancing are based on Indian origin, and were developed to be more graceful and slow in movement. The most outstanding of Thai drama is "Khon", classical masked dance drama, characterized by the mask-wearing performers with their rhythmic, puppet-like movements. Khon usually depicts the story of Ramakien which was derived from the great epic Ramayana of India. Apart from Khon, there other kinds of dramas, including Lakhon or classical Thai dance drama (dancing is more graceful than Khon), Like (Thai folk opera), Na Yai and Nang Talung (shadow play), and Hun (marionettes).
Music: Thai classical music is influenced by Indian culture through the Mons and Khamers. Later, Thai people created their own instruments, becoming the distinctive Thai music. Thai classical music used the diatonic music scale, and the instruments are divided into four groups: those of plucking, drawing, percussion and woodwind. Music is played as an accompaniment in drama and dance and in religious ceremonies.
Theravada Buddhism is the national religion of Thailand, practiced by 90% of its population. Theravada Buddhism, an orthodox Buddhist sect which keeps the original doctrine and tradition succeeded from the Buddha, is adopted by Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand while Mahayana sect is popular in China and Japan. Buddhism originated in the southern Nepal with the teachings of Siddharta Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. He renounced his royal life to find the way to be out of the cycle of life which he considered suffering.
After years of studies of Hinduism in several schools and self- mortification, he found that those ways way would not allow him to see the salvation. He then continued to quest the truth of life by mediating. Upon meditation under the Bodhi tree, Siddharta got the thorough knowledge of the world, called the Four Noble Truths, becoming the Buddha or the Enlightened One. The first truth is that life is dukkha or a suffering. The fact that one must exist in the endless cycle of rebirth, weakness, sickness and death is suffering. The cause of being trapped in this suffering world is explained in the second truth-that is tanha or desire. The desire detains ignorant people attached to the illusion of the world: wealth, reputation, or passion is all illusion. The third truth is that the misery can be ended by removing the desire. The fourth truth tells of the approach to achieve the release-that is the Buddha's Eightfold Path. Nirvana is the ultimate goal of Buddhism; it is the state that one ceases the rebirth.
Ever since the Sukhothai Period, Buddhism has been recognized as the state's religion and significantly fundamental influence of Thai society and culture. Songha or monastic community has played a key role in Thai society since the ancient times. Temple served as an important social unit for it is the center of village; they were both spiritual and educational center. Buddhism is expressed in every aspect of Thai daily life. From birth to death, Buddhism is represented as the ceremonies believed to bring happiness to life. Although the original Buddhist doctrine does not say anything about ceremonies, people have assimilated Buddhism with the primitive animist belief.
Nowadays, development and technology of the modern world has somehow changed the traditional lifestyle of Thai people, especially in big cities. Despite that, with the deep perception of Buddhism within them, Thai people still adopt Buddhist philosophy of simplicity and moderate to lead their ways, making Thai society much more tolerant and peaceful if compare with those which are suffering the stress from our competitive world today.
Source: Asia Discovery