Are you someone hoping to fulfill your dream to live like a nomad but cannot escape the 9-5? Or wondering how you can give back to the community with them empty pockets?
Your answer lies in ‘Voluntourism’. Voluntourism is basically traveling to a certain region to offer your help typically for charity and in exchange, you get food and accommodation and sometimes money as well. But the best part, you get to live there and explore the location like a local. This is the best way to experience the culture and livelihood of the people in that area while living like a native.
Though not entirely free this is a very effective way of traveling as the major chunk of any travel budget i.e. accommodation is taken care off and you get to experience the place from a different perspective.
So, here’s a list of 5 Asian countries where you can really live it out:
NEPAL - The Land of Himalayas or better yet the Mighty Mt. Everest.
All this life you’ve wondered to experience what it was living in the Himalayas. Dreamt about those perfect sunrise and sunsets overlooking the mighty peaks and now you’ve got a chance to live it all. Well, Read On!!
Always wanted to be a school teacher, eh? So here you can not only help out the children through teaching but also by taking them to camping trips, walking them home after school and most of all by actually building their classrooms!
Shamser and his family (THE HOSTS) have been living in Gaunshahar, the original abode of the royal family of Nepal, and running a school providing basic education to children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school. He has a homestay located on top of a hill with views of the Annapurna, Fishtail, Manaslu and Lamjung peaks.
The school currently has about 100 students including 3 children with special needs. Most people who visit help out at the school by assisting teachers, carry out creative classes and teaching students. The school has now come up with different projects like a computer lab, gardening classes and cooking classes all of which will need volunteers to educate children in these respective fields.
You would work for about 5 hours a day (it sometimes gets busy if you love what you are doing), 5 days a week and the rest of the day is yours.
Volunteer involvement is not limited to this, you can help the staff in improving the infrastructure of the school, rebuild paths and gates, walk the children home etc.
You will easily find the company of around 10-15 volunteers at any time of the year from different parts of the world which makes this more fun than work.
In exchange for your help, you will be provided with accommodation, 3 meals per day. While they ask for a $US 5 fees from all volunteer it is more of a donation for the school.
Tourism & Culture Exchange
During your time here, you will experience the Nepalese culture & architecture, you can learn to cook Nepali cuisine and also mingle with your fellow volunteers and indulge in a cultural exchange like no other. You can familiarize yourself with the local wine and food and the host will also help you with some Nepali dialects so you can understand the language and history of this beautiful country.
About 5-6 hrs journey from Kathmandu or Pokhara, you can enjoy surreal mountain peaks, incredibly beautiful Himalayan Ranges and watch the sun painting the sky every now and then. In fact, Besisahar is also the starting point for the Annapurna Circuit Trek and all the permits can be arranged in the town itself.
CAMBODIA – The Land of Angkor Wat
Ever wanted to serve in a bar? Music, Booze, Strangers, and a You-Only-Live-Once-Vibe; who doesn’t like it. Well, Kevin and Alex were so down in it that after workawaying for about a year, they settled in Siam Reap and started a bar in the most touristy place of Cambodia – the land of Angkor Wat. They host regular events at their bar and can use an extra hand at promoting them or doing chores during the event.
Being a touristy place, it can get a bit busy during the evenings. They will need help in managing the bar, setting up events in the bar, promoting the bar in the neighborhood & guesthouse and promoting events in the guesthouse and nearby locations. The work generally begins in the evening so you are free during the day.
In exchange for your help, you will be provided accommodation, 1 meal per day and drinks at the bar.
Tourism and Culture Exchange
You are just a 10-minute drive away from Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world. And if crowds and popular choices don’t amuse you, you can head to the countryside, Tonle Sap Lake for a dip in tranquillity. Kevin can also help you with the lesser known tourist spot and/or the must-dos at the place. Experience the local bistros, lifestyle, and hope for some breath-taking sunsets at the Angkor Wat.
When you are not busy learning French or Spanish from them, Kevin and Alex can share their experiences with Workaway over a drink or two.
Did I say you have to work? Head to this amazing country and experience the best of the sea has to offer. This project will be like a vacation for you where you can do sightseeing tours, enjoy sunset parties or just have a laid-back afternoon with the sea to please your eyes. Live the life of a backpacker and stay at a chic hostel on the island of Coron, Palawan where your job is to socialize with other guests and be their tour guide. You can try hands at bartending or lead the other guests for a city tour, so basically explore the region for free and if you can play music DJ you can be the very own in-house celebrity for the evening parties. Gino, the owner of the hostel, demands a positive attitude, patience with the guest and help with all the hostel activities.
Basically, living your heart-out is what Gino demands. You will need to help the in-house guests with land and sea tours, assisting guests with information and travel tips.
You will need to bartend twice a week for hostel sunset parties. Moreover, get acquainted with the fellow volunteers, be opinionated about the daily activities and provide valuable feedback to improve the place for guests as well as future workawayers.
In exchange for your help, you will be provided accommodation in the hostel itself and 2 meals per day (Breakfast or Lunch and Dinner with the guests).
Tourism and Culture Exchange
This is an excellent way of exploring the serene beaches, waters, and islands of the Philippines. You can go on sightseeing tours with the guests or your own solo adventures. High intake of Vitamin Sea is expected and an island like no other calling out to you.
It’s an excellent place to work away as there are many volunteers at once and you have a chance to connect with them. You will have a chance to interact with the guests belonging to different regions, gather local information which will assist you in leading tours.
THAILAND – The Road Less Traveled
Is Thailand all about beaches, the ocean, water sports, and cheap shopping? Are you done with the clichéd Bangkok Temples, Nightlife & Clubbing in Pattaya and the exotic islands near Phuket? Head to this part of North Thailand and experience something you’ve never done before.
Do you like to babysit, or work in the kitchen, maybe farming is your thing? You can experience all this under one roof living with our next Workaway host while taking care of their family.
Staying in Chiang Mai in the countryside of this beautiful landscape you can experience surreal mountains, Thai culture and basic yet satisfying lifestyle of the community.
You will be living with a family of 4, Dad (Xavier), Mum (Nathalie) and 2 kids (8 y/o girl Sophie and 2 y/o boy Edan) about 20 minutes away from Chiang Mai City amidst farms and mountains, babysitting the kids, helping out in the kitchen or at Xavier’s farm where you can learn Permaculture. Nathalie has been diagnosed with Cancer and therefore they need a helper at the house centered around the kitchen and food. You will need to care for the family in absence of Natalie who is pretty busy due to her physiotherapy. This could involve cooking, shopping for groceries, babysitting and help in the house.
In exchange for your help, you will be offered accommodation in the house itself and you can use the kitchen for meals anytime during the day in the form of self-catering.
Tourism and Culture Exchange
Everyone is familiar with the mountains and culture beauty Chiang Mai has to offer. Beautiful Buddhist temples, National Parks and Chiang Mai Night Bazaars are to live for and the Chiang Mai lantern festival is once in a lifetime experience. 20 min ride through the countryside will give you all the picturesque landscapes one can wish for.
You can learn to cook Thai cuisine and teach something of your own, practice French or Spanish with hosts and connect with the villagers on the farms and experience the rich culture and sanctity Thailand has to offer. Xavier and his friends practice permaculture on their farms and during your free time, you can surely broaden your knowledge in the field.
VIETNAM – The Land of History and War
Are you looking to travel for long and absolutely love kids? This could be your chance to take that long vacation and make some money while at it.
Vietnam has a long history of war and even longer history of rich culture and serene coastal areas. Saigon, Hoi An, and Hanoi being the mainstream places however the other provinces are equally mesmerizing yet not that touristy.
Staying at Mui Ne, one of the best beach towns in Vietnam, in your own house can be the experience of a lifetime. The host requires you to stay for a minimum of 3 months and offers an allowance of $US 450 if you stay alone and $US 750 for a couple. They will also help in arranging visas and assist you to settle down in the neighborhood.
The host will provide a one-bedroom house where you will run the playgroup. There could be up to a maximum of 10 children during the playgroup. You will help them learn through plays, speaking only English to them and have some other creative ideas for them to learn and play.
You will be required to work 8 hrs a day 5 days a week and the rest of the time is yours.
You will be staying in a one-bedroom house where you will run the playgroup during the day (9am-5pm) and the rest of the time it will be your home. A kitchen, with a big open living space, one bedroom, and a bathroom and a large outdoor area with a garden.
Tourism and Culture Exchange
Mui Ne, a beach town in the Binh Thuan province of Vietnam has a lot to offer. which you can explore on foot. About a 4-hour drive from Mui Ne, you can find yourself in the most important city during the Vietnamese War – Ho Chi Minh City (popularly known as Saigon). You can experience significant French landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral.
You can learn the rich history and culture of Vietnam, get a good sense of local lifestyle. You will experience living in rural Vietnam in this coastal town, cooking Vietnamese style and maybe learn to kitesurf & windsurf. The community is filled with both short- and long-term travelers and a lot of locals.
Now That’s that. You wonder why did I choose Asian countries off all. One, not much people in India have explored this concept and to explore this genre of traveling one would prefer to travel places which would not be too troublesome in terms of paperwork/traveling. Two, the currency exchange rate is very low in these countries as compared to an economical weaker currency such as Indian Rupee or Thai Baht and since we are going to be on our own for some time, we make sure it stays lighter on your pocket as compared to destinations in Europe or Latin America.
P.S. All the readers are requested to read all the terms and conditions before making any payments on the website. Kindly read all the feedback and reviews about a host and contact them for all the details before applying.