Thailand Coastal Conservation Expedition

Assist in the conservation of Thailand’s natural environment on this all-encompassing expedition.

Durations: 1 - 12 weeks
Call me back
Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

Program information

Contribute to conserving Thailand’s unique species and habitats while living and working with other international volunteers in one of the most naturally splendid regions in the world, Thailand’s province of Phang Nga. Assist with turtle conservation, plastic pollution prevention, bird and butterfly surveys, island biodiversity monitoring, and environmental awareness education, in an effort to work toward United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, UN SDGs, #14 and #15, Life Below Water and Life on Land.

 

Grab up to 30% off in December!

Get your special offer
Share
Overview
Dates & Prices
What's Included
Life On Base
ExperiencesNew
Free time
Cultural Immersion
Reviews
Speak to alumni
MEET THE TEAM
Parent Info
Arrivals
Flights
Your Impact
publications
Our Ethics
Program ethics
Qualifications & Training
Support & Safety
Covid-19 Response
Live Updates

Program overview

Its natural beauty and unique land and marine life are two of the main reasons thousands of tourists visit Thailand each year. The region of Phang Nga, specifically, has developed a reputation for dramatic beauty among movie-makers. The area is known for its limestone cliffs that rise suddenly out of the warm, azure-blue waters. Visitors come to the area to relax on its many beaches, dive to see coral reefs and endangered Green sea turtles, and visit the nearby islands, some of which are home to critically endangered species.  

However, Thailand’s natural environment, specifically its coastal regions, beaches and islands, are under threat. Plastic pollution threatens its wildlife species including Green sea turtles, whales, and other species, resorts built too close to the shoreline cause beaches to erode, unsustainable fishing practices and climate change are a threat to coral reefs, illegal logging causes deforestation, and kidnapping and poaching put key species at risk. These environmental threats negatively affect Thailand’s economic development as tourism is an important source of income for the country.

Highlights

  • Work toward conserving the Endangered Green Sea turtle, monitor Thai bird life, clear plastic off the beaches, and improve environmental awareness throughout the community.
  • Visit the ever-popular beaches of Phuket in your free time.
  • Experience the truly awe-inspiring beaches, islands and underwater worlds of Southern Thailand.
  • Stand the chance of contributing to several seasonal conservation efforts, including tropical island biodiversity surveys and coral surveys while snorkeling.
  • Live and work with GVI staff and other participants from around the world.
  • Contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal #14 and #15, Life Below Water and Land and Life.

Highlights

Change the world

Give back to the planet by contributing towards ongoing conservation projects with sustainable outcomes aligned to the global sustainable development goals.

Ethical conservation

Confidently participate in conservation work, knowing we have the highest ethical standards, guided by partners and a qualified Conservation Director.

Adventure of a lifetime

Travel the world and explore exoctic locations as you venture off the beaten track into unique ecosystems and diverse habitats.

Support

GVI makes travelling alone less stressful, from details being sorted through our pre-departure support to guidance from 24/7 on the ground program support.

Activities

Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.

Species identification

Learn to identify focus species such as lions and elephants and basic data collection techniques.

Monitor big cats

Track the movement and behavior of cheetahs and lions using radio telemetry techniques.

Track elephants, rhinos, buffalo

Collect data on herbivores such as population dynamics, spatial utilisation and herd dynamics.

Citizen science

Collect data on birds and invertebrates to contribute towards citizen science initiatives and databases.

Reserve maintenance

Help rehabilitate land degradation and erosion, remove alien species and assist with reserve maintenance projects.

Community engagement

Get involved in youth development initiatives, teaching basic English and assisting with environmental education.

Skills

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Cultural awareness
  • Easily adaptable
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisation

Partners

Some of the partners we work with on base.

Karongwe Game Reserve
Reserve Manager and Anti-Poaching Unit
Diputhi Primary School in The Oaks
Mmakadi Day Care Centre in The Oaks

Program details

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

Exclusive offer. Book before the end of the month and receive up to 0 off this program.
COVID-19 flexibility. If COVID-19 prevents you from travelling, change your location and dates free of charge.
Payment plans. Flexible payment plans allow you to pay in instalments.

What happens next?

Once you apply, a personal Enrollment Manager will be assigned to walk you through the rest of the process.

What’s included?

What's Included
General
Volunteer
Intern
24-hour emergency desk
24-hour in-country support
Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
All project equipment
Food (except on long-term internship placements
Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
Pre-program training
Volunteer
Intern
Group introductory call
Welcome presentation
Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course
Endorsed Leadership Course
Project work
Volunteer
Intern
Sustainable project work
Leadership responsibilities
Data collection and research
Real projects with partners
Remote support
Volunteer
Intern
Program training
Weekly group check ins
Remote Academic Internship Supervisor
Remote Career Internship Supervisor
Post-program
Volunteer
Intern
Preferential recruitment on GVI positions
Job portal access
Endorsed Careers Course
Career coaching sessions
Certificates and achievements
Volunteer
Intern
PDF reference - upon request
Linkedin reference and skills endorsement
What's Excluded
General
Volunteer
Intern
Additional drinks and gratuities
Extra local excursions
Flights
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Personal items and toiletries
Police or background check
Visa costs

Life On Base

Our GVI base is located in the heart of a small fishing village named Ban Nam Khem, which is about one and half hours from Phuket airport, and about half an hour from the popular resort town of Khao Lak. Situated within the Phang Nga province, this region was the worst affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It’s estimated that almost half of Ban Nam Khem’s residents lost their lives in the tsunami, and today there is a famous memorial dedicated to them. Though steeped in tragedy, the people of the village refuse to be defined by their loss. The community has rebuilt itself and grown substantially since then.

Participating in this GVI program in Phang Nga offers you the chance to slow down and experience living and working in a traditional Thai community, tucked away from the usual busy tourist hotspots. The base is a short ten-minute walk from the beach and a fifteen-minute walk from the centre of the village – where you’ll find little markets, shops and street food vendors that are open daily. When you’re out and about, you’ll often be joined by Tiger, the friendly village dog who lives across the road. He loves to tag along on adventures and visit the base. You will share a house that includes communal spaces – here you can learn and relax with our GVI staff and other participants from all around the world. On the weekends, you can explore the numerous stunning beaches, islands, caves, and national forests that the Phang Nga region is renowned for.

Accommodation

Our house is situated within Ban Nam Khem village. There is a lovely coffee shop on one side and a beautiful jungle on the other. You will stay in mixed-gender, dorm-style accom...

Transportation

On the morning of your program start date, a transfer will be provided from Phuket Airport Place to the GVI base. A five-minute walk from the airport exit, the Phuket Airport Pl...

Communication

Wi-Fi is available at the base, but bear in mind it might not be as reliable as you might be used to back home. If you plan on working remotely while completing a program with u...

Meals

This program gives you the opportunity to experience authentic Southern Thai cuisine, while still having the chance to share some of your own favourite meals from back home. You...

Climate

Thailand has a famously tropical climate, the perfect weather in which to enjoy Thailand’s many beaches. The temperature ranges from 22°C – 34°C (72°F – 93°C) throug...

Culturally appropriate dress and behavior

When on project and in the local town participants will be expected to wear modest clothing and behave in ways in keeping with Thai customs.

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

GVI experiences

We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards –  the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development. 

Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.

Exclusive local GVI experiences
Learn to make traditional Thai and Burmese food
Learn to make traditional Thai and Burmese food
A flavour infusion
Visit the Buddhist temples of Ban Nam Khem
Visit the Buddhist temples of Ban Nam Khem
Temple tour
Practice traditional Thai yoga massage
Practice traditional Thai yoga massage
Master Muay Thai self-defence techniques
Master Muay Thai self-defence techniques
Kick, flex and stretch
Raft along the Sok River
Raft along the Sok River
Gondola style
Hike to hidden waterfalls
Hike to hidden waterfalls
Pathway to tranquility
Visit an untouched mangrove island
Visit an untouched mangrove island
Off the beaten track
Sleep in a floating river bungalow
Sleep in a floating river bungalow
River of dreams

Free time

Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.

Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.

Weekend Trips

Island hopping

The Similan and Surin Island groups are both protected Marine National Parks. They are home to several world-renowned diving and snorkelling spots, but can only be visited betwe...

Khao Lak

This is a very popular tourist spot. It’s filled with seemingly endless beaches, so many dining options you will be spoilt for choice, and hundreds of spas offering massages and...

Khao Sok National Park

Said to be more diverse than the Amazon, this 740 square metre rainforest reserve is home to elephants, deer, monkeys, lizards, birds, and the Rafflesia, a giant flowering plant...

Further Travels

Krabi Province

This province is a treasure trove for travellers. Enjoy the crystal-clear Emerald Pond, the epic 1,237-step climb to the Buddha statue, the stunning views at the Tiger Temple Ca...

Phuket island and city

Phuket is a tourism hotspot – as popular for its spectacular beaches, diving, and surfing sites, as it is for its cafés, boutiques and hotels. You can also visit The Big Buddha,...

Beaches

Thailand boasts some of the top beach destinations in the world, with Railay beach being one of the most popular. A peninsula on the Andaman coast, it consists of three separate...

Phang Nga Bay

Explore the warm turquoise waters and limestone cliffs of Phang Nga by speedboat or sea kayak, stopping off at James Bond Island – made famous by the 1974 film The Man With the ...

Mu Koh Chang National Park

This protected marine park covers a huge area, including over 50 islands. Visit the jungle island of Koh Chang, where you can snorkel or scuba-dive off the coast and experience ...

Koh Tao Island

Also known as “‘Turtle Island”’ this is another excellent destination for snorkelling and scuba-diving, or simply relaxing on the beach. The visibility is fantastic and there is...

Nan Province

Explore the many natural sites of Nan, bordering Laos – like Doi Phu Kha National Park and Si Nan National Park. It is the perfect area to experience the dense natural forests t...

Khao Yai National Park

Explore the picturesque waterfalls of Khao Yai in central Thailand. Here you can spot unique Thai wildlife like gibbon monkeys.

...

Ayuthaya

Travel to the city complex ruins of Ayutthaya to learn more about Thailand’s heritage. This spectacular, but now abandoned city used to be the medieval capital of Siam.

...

Chiang Mai

Set in the verdant mountainsides of Northern Thailand, the golden city of Chiang Mai is a breathtaking sight to behold. Visit historic temples and hunt for treasures at local ma...

Bangkok

There is a reason why the capital of Thailand is one of the most visited sites in the country. Featuring gorgeous temples, the spectacular Grand Palace, and many excellent shopp...

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.

On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.

Festivals

February: Magha Puja is an important Buddhist holiday during which people make offerings at temples around the country.

April and May: Thailand’s New Year, also known as ...

Spirituality and religion

Most Thai people subscribe to Theravada Buddhism. There are many local Buddhist sites in the region of Phang Nga that you can visit to learn more about Buddhist customs. Travel ...

Dancing

The fluid movements and opulent gilded costumes of Thai traditional dancing are recognisable worldwide. Learn about the six types of Thai classical dance, watch a performance, o...

Cooking

Thai food is famous the world over and is known for its fragrant, spicy flavours. All participants receive cooking lessons from our local staff, so during your stay in Phang Nga...

Languages

There are about 71 languages in Thailand with five main families: Austronesian, Hmong-Mien, Thai, Mon-Khmer and Sino-Tibetan. Thai is the national language of Thailand which is ...

Phang Nga

Known for its amazing limestone rock formations, pristine beaches, and rich culture, Phang Nga is a pocket of paradise in Southern Thailand. Its beaches and islands offer many o...

Testimonials

Billie-Jo Dearden

14 Jan, 2020

In summer 2018 I joined the Phang Nga conservation project in Thailand having been involved in a GVI project the year before. The staff at the Phang Nga base were really friendly a ...

Emma King

06 Mar, 2019

It's no exaggeration to say that the weeks I've spent with GVI in Phang Nga, Thailand, are amongst the best of my life. At the ripe old age of 40 I'm taking a belated gap year, do ...

Rowan Chesters

11 Oct, 2018

My name is Rowan Chesters, I am from a small town in Shropshire England and I go to university in Liverpool studying marketing. I had just finished my first year when I came to thi ...

Alison Brooks

11 Oct, 2018

So far, I have been lucky enough to volunteer twice with GVI. The first time was in Phang Nga, Thailand, in April 2015, the second time only this June/July in Karongwe, South Afric ...

Rhiannon Harvey

11 Oct, 2018

I want to work as a marine biologist, so this program was a unique (and fun) way to experience several different methods of marine conservation, like sea turtle husbandry, biodiver ...

Kevin Hwang

11 Oct, 2018

My experience these past two months has been rewarding, educational, and transformative. I’ve had the opportunity to conduct service and have an impact on the surrounding community ...

Jona Avila

11 Oct, 2018

GVI had me mind blown from day one. Being in Phang Nga taught me that the real way to experience a country and a culture is to live there and connect with the local communities. ...

Erica Sufani

11 Oct, 2018

Being a part of the Marine Coastal conservation program was hands down of the most rewarding, exciting experiences I have ever had. Even though I was only part of the program f ...

Hannah McMurray

16 Jan, 2014

One of the best things about this project in Thailand is that you do things and see things that you would never see if you were travelling with friends or alone. You are completely ...

Speak to alumni

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us

Meet the team

Get acquainted with the GVI Asia, Thailand, Phang Nga family

Adele

Community Coordinator

Meet Adele our Community Coordinator in Phang Nga, Thailand. She is originally from the United Kingdom, but loves her life in Thailand living next to a beautiful beach, enjoying ...

Eve

Conservation Program Coordinator

Meet Eve our Conservation Program Coordinator in Phang Nga, Thailand. She was born in the United Kingdom but has since lived and worked in many countries across Europe. She is e ...

Gay

Community Liaison

Introducing Gay, who is our Community Liaison out in Phang Nga. Gay has studied business management as part of her master’s degree. She started her journey with GVI as a T ...

Katie

Senior Program Coordinator

Meet Katie, the Senior Program Coordinator at GVI Phang Nga. She has an undergraduate degree in geography and a master’s degree in sustainability. She is in charge of runn ...

Vanessa Rees

Senior Program Manager

This is Vanessa, she is originally from the UK and joined GVI back in 2017 when she was completing a teaching program in India. Since this volunteering expedition ...

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.

COVID-19 safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Flights

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Environmental work

Tourism is growing at an incredible rate in Southern Thailand, often with little consideration for the effects on the environment. We work with the community to increase awareness of the importance of preserving their natural resources. The environmental issues that Thailand faces are many and varied. These include poor quality water, air and soil, as well as biodiversity loss. In addition, poaching, kidnapping of wild animals, deforestation, and unsustainable tourism threaten Thailand’s land and marine habitats and wildlife. Fortunately, the Thai government is constantly updating and improving environmental legislation and practices. In line with this, we assist local and international non-governmental organisations and community groups  by working towards contributory conservation outcomes.

Sea turtle conservation project

A large part of the environmental project work involves working alongside our partners at the Royal Thai Navy Sea Turtle Conservation Centre, which usually takes place two days a week. This is a  head-start centre. Turtle hatchlings are reared until they are between six and nine months old before being released back into the wild. Green turtles are the most common, with hawksbill, olive ridley, and leatherbacks also found in this region. Turtle populations the world over are threatened, and it is estimated that only about 1 in 1000 hatchlings survive to reach adulthood naturally. These statistics are exacerbated by beach erosion, resulting from tourism development. Head-start programs aim to increase the survival rate by protecting the hatchlings until they reach a size where they will face a reduced  risk of predation. The work you will  carry out includes scrubbing the tanks to ensure that the turtles have a clean environment to live in, washing the turtles with an antibacterial solution to reduce levels of infection, and applying antifungal and antibacterial treatments to any wounds the turtles may have. We also conduct research at the centre –collecting data on turtle morphology (weight and measurements) and infection rates, as well as some behavioural research to monitor the effects of enclosure enrichment. We hope to use this data to gain further understanding of the best methods of turtle husbandry. This project runs all year round and if you are lucky enough to be on the project during a release date, you will assist in releasing hundreds of young turtles into the ocean.

Island conservation project

We conduct year-round biodiversity research on nearby islands such as Kho Kho Kao. We conduct surveys and run camera trapping research on the islands to build  a picture of the biodiversity there. Travelling to these islands is an amazing experience. You will learn to set up and position the camera traps, interpret photographs, and enter them into the database. The islands are remote so there is no Wi-Fi, dry toilets are used, and we sleep in hammocks. The aim of this research is to provide motivation for the islands to gain formal government protection. We have already confirmed the presence of some critically endangered species on the islands, which proves they are of great conservation value. Through our continued and expanding research, we hope that we can further educate local authorities about the ecology of the islands and their importance of conserving these ecosystems. 

*Please note that we only travel to the islands once a month, so participants who only visit for two weeks might not get the opportunity to conduct island surveys.

Bird conservation project

Another element to our conservation work involves carrying out bird surveys twice a week – which usually start at around 06:00. The surveys are conducted in and around the local area throughout the year. Commonly identified species include the Pacific swallow,  Asian palm swift and the red-wattled lapwing. Birds are an important part of healthy ecosystems and as such, building species lists and monitoring populations and patterns of migration is a valuable way to build a picture of how well nature is doing in an area. Participants are provided with training on how to identify birds in the field. Currently our data is submitted to a citizen science project called eBird. We are also in the process of developing this project to create our own research plan.

Plastic pollution cleanups

Plastic pollution and litter is a huge issue in Thailand, particularly on the coast. Throughout the year we carry out beach, mangrove, lake, and village cleanups in our local area in Phang Nga. Litter is one of the greatest environmental challenges conservationists are facing today. Through regular cleanups we hope to make a difference by not only removing litter, but also by engaging with and participating alongside the local community members –raising awareness of the effects of waste on the environment and the need for effective waste management. In addition to working with members of the local community, we have joined forces with a partner called Trash Hero to maximise the impact of our cleanups. Trash Hero is a volunteer-led movement that drives change within communities around the world, motivating and supporting them to clean and prevent plastic waste. We often use the waste that we collect to create ecobricks.

Coral research

During the dry season (November to April) we carry out a weekly snorkelling survey on nearby coral reefs, such as the reef off the coast of Kho Kho Kao. We monitor the health of the coral, and also look at the variety and abundance of fish species present. Coral reefs are incredibly important ecosystems which are vital to the health of our oceans, which in turn means that they are vital to humans too. Globally, coral reefs are being affected by overfishing, climate change and irresponsible tourism. We aim to monitor the reefs close to where we are based – looking at how well they are doing and establishing if there are any actions that could be taken to improve or protect them further. Through these surveys, we are also able to assess the recovery of the marine ecosystem in the area following the 2004 tsunami. We work  in partnership with Green Fins Thailand. The data we provide to them is entered into the citizen science databases, iNaturalist and eOceans, which contribute to research and monitoring of the world’s coral reefs. 

*Please note that you will not be doing any scuba-diving while conducting these surveys, only snorkelling.

Mangrove conservation project 

We work with the Department for Marine Coastal Resources (DMCR). We assist with planting and cleanups, and identify and monitor the different species. Mangroves are essential to coastal conservation, and they absorb more CO2 than the Amazon rainforest. We work across six different mangrove sites – planting and then monitoring them to see which species currently grow in which site and which other species start to appear. Research has shown that managing suitability by having the right species in the right areas is crucial for their long-term viability. In addition, we take boats or kayaks out into the mangrove forests to collect trash and clean up the environment – which usually includes sightings of many interesting species of crab.

Beach profiling project

We measure the beach at different points along the coast and create graphs and data sets that can be shared with the DMCR. Using this data they can see what is happening to the beachline over time due to climate change and development. This is critical to understand the shifting animal and plant life along the coast as the beach recedes. We have found that some beaches have lost the forests that used to run alongside them, while others have shown signs of new wildlife springing up.  

Butterfly conservation project

There are a number of different locations (including the mangroves) where we catch and identify the butterfly species that are present. Some of the species we have identified include the grass blue, cerulean and gram blue butterfly. This data is entered into iNaturalist, which is another citizen science app. The newly planted mangroves are famous for attracting many types of beautiful butterflies. Butterflies are an indicator species that can tell us the overall condition of the area and habitat. 

Our partners

Project objectives

 

GVI Phang Nga Long-term Objectives:  

1. Contribute to global species databases that assists with research and monitoring.

2. Increase our in-country capacity building by providing conservation and education training to upskill staff.

3. Assist and develop local conservation efforts by providing practical support to project partners through research, awareness campaigns and habitat restoration.

Publications

The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research. Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies. We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.

All of our publications are on Google Scholar
Google Scholar
View publications
‘GVI: Education, Conseration and Community Development in Ao Luk.’
Tourism Magazine
2010

Krabi Magazine

Author(s)
Jill Walker
‘Ko Klang Experience.’
Tourism Magazine
2011

Krabi Magazine

Author(s)
David Armstrong
‘CBT: Community Based Tourism in Ao Luk.’
Tourism Magazine
2010

Krabi Magazine

Author(s)
Jill Walker
GVI Thailand Phang Nga Annual Report 2018
Annual Report
2018
Author(s)
Vanessa Rees
GVI Thailand Phang Nga 2019 Annual Report
Annual Report
Author(s)
Vanessa Rees

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.

 

We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.

Our 10 ethical commitments

01

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.

02

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.

03

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.

04

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.

05

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.

06

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.

07

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.

08

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.

09

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.

10

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

Program ethics

No orphanage programs

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

Learn more
Child and vulnerable adult protection policy

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

Learn more
No medical volunteering

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

Learn more
No disability support programs

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Learn more
Aligned to local objectives

Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.

Local employees remain employed

Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.

Local employees remain focused

Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.

No entertainment-based activities

We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos

No orphaned animal sanctuaries

We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases

Guidelines for touching or movement restriction

When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Animal welfare guidelines

We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.

Local community empowerment

We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.

Learn more
No veterinary programs

We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.

Learn more

Training

A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

For all GVI participants

Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.

For all participants at Phang Nga

Community: Human Empowerment

Learn about our empowerment principles.

Conservation: Survey Techniques and Logistics

An introduction to different survey techniques and best practice guidelines for surveys; introduction to different types of data and how to record information via a datasheet.

Conservation: Biodiversity & Target Species Identification

Learn about biodiversity and how biodiversity is measured, and classifying different species and how to identify species that indicate the health of the habitat.

Marine Conservation: Pollution and Plastics

Learn about issues with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.

Marine Conservation: Coral Reefs

Learn about what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, how this ecosystem works.

The Importance of Responsible Tourism in Thailand

This presentation highlights the environmental issues caused by tourism to Thailand and helps volunteers make responsible decisions when deciding whether or not to engage in a wildlife encounter.

Introduction to Thai Language

Learn some basic Thai words and phrases which will help you integrate further into the village community.

Introduction to Thai Culture

A Thai culture presentation to help you understand more about important cultural details, and to make you feel more comfortable with any cultural differences you may encounter.

Certificates & qualifications

GVI Online Wildlife Conservation course (optional)

If you have a passion for wildlife conservation then this course will provide you with the foundational skills and understanding needed to achieve your conservation-related goals. You’ll learn about the various methods of wildlife monitoring, as well as exploring the delicate balance involved in terrestrial ecosystem management. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.

This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.

COVID-19 safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Safety

View support and safety protocols

Support

View risk mitigation

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Health and safety case studies

How GVI upholds health and safety

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays ju...

GVI's commitment to safety and security

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the heal...

How GVI remains prepared for natural disasters

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes ...

How GVI manages participants expectations

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations a...

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.

The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Read up on our COVID-19 protocols

Live Updates

GVI Phang Nga is based in the small fishing village of Baan Nam Khem, one of the areas worst affected by the 2004 Tsunami. GVI Phang Nga works in partnership with the Takuapa Non Formal Education Centre, Baan Tam Namchai Foundation, Baan Nam Khem School, Baan Muang School, Baan Nam Khem CDC, Similan Islands National Park, Thai Muang National Park, Shark Guardian, Phang Nga Navy Base, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Foundation for Education and Development and Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Centre. We aim to support critical conservation initiatives in the area, improve access to education and increase English language abilities for adults and children as well as support the development and well being of the community.
Stay up to date

Included in your program

A variety of the following exclusive, locally-curated adventure and wellness activities are available on a monthly basis.

Learn to make traditional Thai and Burmese food

Visit the Buddhist temples of Ban Nam Khem

Practice traditional Thai yoga massage

Master Muay Thai self-defence techniques

Raft along the Sok River

Hike to hidden waterfalls

Visit an untouched mangrove island

Sleep in a floating river bungalow