Volunteering at an Ecovillage and Permaculture farm in Thailand!
First of all we would like to welcome you! We are very grateful that you are taking your time to look at our website and consider volunteering with us!
Gaia Ashram is an eco learning center in the Northeast of Thailand. Gaia Ashram offers courses and workshops on Permaculture Design, Ecovillage Design, and Deep Ecology! At Gaia Ashram we aim to live in harmony with nature and all her beings
At Gaia Ashram we practice:
- Organic Farming
- Ecosystem Restoration
- Reforestation of our land
- Natural Building
- Processing Natural Products
- Work with local community
- Art & creativity
- Reconnecting with Nature
- Yoga & Meditation
- Living in Community
Here is a little youtube video about volunteering in Thailand at Gaia Ashram. This video was made by a volunteer:
How to volunteer at Gaia Ashram in Thailand?
Volunteers who are interested in Sustainable Living, Permaculture, Deep Ecology, Ecovillage Living, Ecosystem Restoration, Reforestation in Thailand are most welcome.
We Recommend that all volunteers to join our ECOVILLAGE LIFESTYLE EXPERIENCE WEEK before volunteering.
Joining this introduction week will give you an introduction to Ecovillage Lifestyle and Ecovillage design principles, you’ll get to know our land, our areas of work, our ethics and values, and learn the basics of natural building, gardening, and introduction into Permaculture and Deep Ecology. This introduction week will also help you to understands various aspects of community living. It will make your volunteering experience at Gaia much more enriching with the awareness and understanding of the principles behind what We are doing at Gaia. This introduction week will also give you a clearer idea how you can best contribute to the project. If you stay for a long time, We can find a work area together that suits you, our project, and Mother Earth.
We ask our volunteers to support us 5 to 6 hours per day. Wednesday afternoons and Sundays are off. Saturday we would have some community check-in meetings and people can offer mini workshops in the afternoon. For more info on our schedule & activities see below.
Gaia Ashram welcomes families and people with kids who want to volunteer and join the community. Families should take care of their kids themselves and Gaia Ashram will give the families the time and space to do so. Kids are welcome to join our activities that are appropriate for them.
If you need more leisure time and a less structured stay please consider staying in our Eco-Farm Stay. This will give you the freedom to decide when to join or not.
Volunteer activities on our tropical permaculture farm in Thailand!
As mentioned above, we recommend all volunteers to join our ECOVILLAGE LIFESTYLE EXPERIENCE WEEK at first to get an overview of the working areas on our land. This way you also can find out what area you like the most and how you can support us in a way that suits you and our project.
Generally we have 4 kinds of activities at Gaia Ashram:
- Natural Building
- Organic Gardening & Permaculture Farming
- Ecosystem Restoration and Nature Regeneration
- Natural Products of Gaia Essence
- Others (Arts, Marketing, Documentation, designing etc)
Working with natural cycles and patterns:
We have 3 seasons in Thailand and our activities are strongly related to the natural cycles and changes:
Rainy Season: July until October
At this time we are planting lots of trees and some water-loving veggies. There also might be some ongoing building projects going on that we will be working on.
Cool season: November until February
This is the main time for vegetable production and organic gardening but also a good time for building projects as it is dry.
Dry/Hot Season: March until June.
Generally, the hot season is a time for building and a good time for us to go to places that are not so hot.
Learn about Natural and Earthen Building at Gaia Ashram!
At the moment, we’re having 7 natural buildings on our land. We are still working on some structures, maintaining existing ones, and renovate others. We try to use as many natural materials as possible and we try to design our systems to have a very low to zero environmental impact.Some of the things you might be learning regarding natural building during your stay:
- Making Adobe bricks!
- Building wall
- Natural plasters
- Natural Paints
- Wattle and cob
- Earthbag building
Ecosystem Restoration & Regeneration
Our aim is to regenerate the land and help Mother Earth and all her beings to thrive. From nature’s perspective, Gaia Ashram is in the establishing phase. The land we are regenerating is 6 hectares and used to be a rice field around 7 years ago with degraded soils and pretty much nothing on it. Now, after about 6 years, we can see the land is restoring itself & transforming, pioneering species are doing their work, native trees are coming up again, and we assist nature or Gaia in its self-restorative ability. This process of assisting nature is one of the most important volunteer jobs.
You will be here to help regenerate and work on ecosystem restoration. We will be working on our agroforestry systems, organic gardens, and a lot more. By doing this, volunteers can get an understanding of what it takes to support Mother Earth in her natural restoring and healing systems, i.e. from a zero bare situation towards a thriving throbbing with life productive edible ecosystem and thereby making its contribution to the larger biosphere.
To heal nature and ourselves is what we are all about at Gaia Ashram. Gaia Ashram aims to be a place that inspires people to do the same.
Other volunteer Activities
We are also looking for people who have skills and can help in:
- social media development
- website development
- event promotion
Art & creativity:
- design and implementation of artwork such murals, mosaicking, natural sculpting etc.
- offering yoga sessions
- meditation session
- other spiritual sharings
- serve customers
- help in kitchen
- make and sale natural products
Work Structure for volunteers
During the week we work in the morning together either in the garden/food forest, alley crops, ricefields, ponds, our wetland or on natural building. In the afternoon in the first two weeks you can chose from the project list and can work on that alone or in project teams.
Volunteers, guest & interns join into the chores groups that help us to organize our community life and also to take responsibility of our shared home. Volunteers cook breakfast, lunch and take care of the dishes, take care of the compost on a daily rotational basis & clean the community spaces. When you arrive this will be explained by the long-term community members. If something is not clear please do not hesitate to ask the team or any longer-term volunteers.
Our days are most of the time structured like this but can change slightly due to season, activities, ongoing courses, and the number of volunteers:
- Monday: Cleaning blitz/Intro week/Afternoon work session/ tour
- Tuesday: Regular Working Sessions
- Wednesday: Regular Working Sessions/ Trip to Market
- Thursday: Regular Work Sessions/watch documentary
- Friday: Regular Work Session
- Saturday: Well -being circle, Team meetings/ Personal Study
- Sunday: Day-off
Gaia Ashram has been developed to the stage where we are now through personal financial investments by the founders, through our education services, donations, and contributions from volunteers.
To volunteer We recommend volunteers to first join the ECOVILLAGE LIFESTYLE EXPERIENCE WEEK first. The Ecovillage Lifestyle Experience week will cost you 7,500THB p.p. for the week. Included in this price is dorm accommodation, 3 vegetarian/vegan meals per day, yoga and meditation, as well as all sessions on Ecovillage Design, Permaculture, and Natural Building.
For every additional week as a volunteer, we ask for a contribution of 350 THB per night. We ask volunteers to stay a minimum of a week or 7 nights after the ELEW. The volunteering fee, for adult, per week after the ELEW is 2,450 THB. Volunteering fee, for youth(below 16 yeas old), is 1750 THB. per week. Children below 3 years old are free to stay with us without cost.
If you cannot stay that long then you would join the Gaia Ashram Eco Farmstay. As a volunteer we ask for your support on the land for 5-6 hours a day (Wednesday afternoon is free & weekends too).
The volunteer fee helps cover day to day daily living expenses (such as electricity, groceries, water, etc.), upkeep of infrastructure as well as paying for Thai staff that is supporting the project & the volunteers. Your contribution helps grow Gaia Ashram project. We are very grateful for your support.
The fees includes 3 vegetarian meals from the Gaia Community Kitchen. There is the option to join the Gaia Ashram Internship program after joining the ELEW and having volunteered for three weeks.
If you traveling on limiting budget and you cannot afford to pay the full contribution please contact us.
Gaia Ashram Residential Internships
If you want to dive deeper into Permaculture, Ecovillage Design, and Holistic Living, and you are motivated, dedicated, and committed, you have the option to become an Intern.
You can join as an intern after having joined the Experience Week & have been volunteering with us for three weeks. Then you would need to commit to stay at least for 2 full month.
For more information have a look at our INTERNSHIP page.
If you are coming for a short time to Thailand most countries can get a visa on arrival which is valid for one month after you can extend it for another month at a local immigration office (for Gaia Ashram at Udon Thani).
If you are planning to stay longer we recommend volunteers to get a Thai Tourist Visa from the Thai embassy in their home country. Generally, you can get a 2 months visa which can be extended at the local immigration office in Udon Thani for a month. If you want stay longer then these 90 days you can cross the border to Vientiane, Laos and extend your visa at the Thai Embassy there. We are relatively near Vientiane (about one hour of travel).
Please be aware that the important dates are on the stamp given on arrival by the Thai immigration officer at the airport/land crossing.
If you intend to stay longer than 3 months at Gaia Ashram please let us know and we can give you more information.
We ask volunteers to get appropriate travel insurance that covers volunteering in Thailand in case of any incidents. Please check out the following insurance companies as a reference who are specialized in travelers and would cover volunteering:
What to bring?
- In the cool season (November till the beginning of March) some warm clothes
- Rainy season boots are helpful/raincoat or umbrella
- Mosquito spray (also available in our shop)
- Work clothes
- If you have some projects to share bring the relevant information to share.
Covid-19 and volunteering in Thailand
As regards of Covid 19 protoc0l we first of all ask everyone to follow the recommendations and regulations made by the Thai government. Generally Thai people would still wear mask in public areas, shops, markets etc. Also outside often.
Regarding local travel and covid information you can ask us and we can share what we know at the time.
Local Travel information for volunteers
There are many ways to get to Gaia Ashram and for a more detailed description we would like to refer you to the following page:
Gaia Ashram Sala
Our facilities are basic but very comfy. All our volunteers will stay in our recently renovated dormitory that is on the first floor of the Sala, our main community building at the heart of Gaia Ashram.
For those that want more privacy there is the Fairy House which is right next to the forest. We call it the fairy house because the little forest is wild and full of fairies and other unseen beings.
At our Gaia Cafe our guest and volunteers can wind down and relax. At Gaia Cafe we sell our natural products from the land and at certain times we serve coffee/teas and drinks and food. We have a good wifi internet connection.
Gaia Ashram welcomes people on bicycles that are traveling the world and for people traveling with their own tents to Gaia Ashram there are available spaces to set them up. We advice not to camp out in rainy season. Please inform us beforehand if you plan to stay in your tent.
We have fast speed internet at Gaia Ashram. At the moment we have the wifi connection at the Sala, our library/office and at Gaia Cafe that can be used freely.
We recommend volunteers to get a Thai sim and get an internet package. Additional internet credit can be bought in local village or through most ATM machines. We can recommend AIS provider as they have good coverage and English customer support.
Laundry can be done at Gaia Ashram by hand or in a machine which is 40 bath. We have a coin laundry machine that is big and recommend sharing the washing load with others. You can use our laundry detergents.
We are asking volunteers to bring natural products such as natural soap & shampoo as the waste water goes directly into the land. We are also selling our own natural products under the brand GAIA ESSENCE at the Gaia Cafe. Our products are made from the land that ranges from mosquito repellent, soap, shampoo, to herbal teas and essential oils. Part of the profit from the sell of these natural products will go into the Gaia Ashram project and eventually part of the profit will go into supporting the local community.
It is our long-term aim to work more with the local community to empower them to create more & more natural products for sale and to provide an opportunity for them to earn some extra income.
Your support would be much valued to help achieve our aim in getting the wider community more green & re-localizing the economy.
For those volunteers with skill or interest in learning about making natural products you are most welcome to help us.
In line with our values we try to reduce waste at Gaia Ashram. We ask volunteers to not bring waste to Gaia Ashram and during your stay at Gaia Ashram we will process our waste into eco-bricks that we can use for building project.
As volunteers you will cook meals together in shifts. If we are more than 5 volunteers staying at Gaia Ashram we usually get support to provide dinner. Please note that we cook vegetarian at Gaia Ashram and that there are always vegan options.
***No Alcohol or Drugs***
We ask volunteers not to drink alcohol or use drugs on the land. We ask smokers to smoke out of sight away from other Community members at a designated smokers area.
For volunteering with us please send us an email.
We’re happy to hear from you!
May all the work that we do be of benefit to all beings and mother Earth!
May Mother Earth Gaia and all her beings be happy and thriving!
May we dedicate our lives to take care of ourselves, each other, Mother Earth and all beings!made