FAQs

Where can I find out about the Thai language?

Where can I find out more about Thai food?

Where can I find out more about Thailand?

When's a good time to come?

Will I have good access to phones and the internet?

What plugs do I need?

Is the water safe to drink?

Where do I do my laundry?

What should I wear?

What do I do about money?

Do I need TEFL training to volunteer to teach English?

Can I bring my family with me whilst volunteering?

What happens if I want to cancel my volunteering placement?

Answers

Where can I find out about the Thai language?

Thai is the main language spoken in Surin, however Laos and Cambodian can also be heard too. Very few people speak good English, but many know enough to get by with the basics. A few restaurants print their menus in English and LemonGrass has produced a simple translation help list to help you get by.
LemonGrass offers short Thai language courses, please discuss with us for prices and availability.

Where can I find out more about Thai food?

What can you say about Thai food? It is simply stunning, but alas not everybody's cup of tea! You can eat for as little as 20 baht (40 pence UK or 60c US approx) a meal in the plethora of street stalls or you can eat in one of Surin's western restaurants. If you don't fancy eating out all the time there are excellent supermarkets as well as fine local fare on sale at the markets and night markets should you choose to rustle up something yourself. Food is not included in the price of your project and you will be responsible for providing your own daily meals. Please see our useful page on Thai language which has a section on Thai food. LemonGrass organises Thai cooking courses, please discuss with us if you are interested in improving your cooking skills!

Where can I find out more about Thailand?

The Lonely Planet and Rough Guide are excellent sources of information on Thailand, however, June, prior to devoting all her working time to volunteer-development projects, spent many years as a government registered tour guide. She has travelled Thailand extensively, is an excellent source of information and is happy to help volunteers with any questions they may have on life and travelling in Thailand.

When's a good time to come?

School holidays
LemonGrass runs volunteering projects all year; however, our teaching projects are dictated to by school holidays so please check individual project fact files for available dates.

National/Public holidays
Thailand has numerous public holidays and festivals throughout the year, ranging from the generally quiet Buddhist lent to the simply outrageous full-on three-day water fight that is Songkhran. You may wish to plan your trip around one of these festivals in order to get a unique experience of Thai life and culture? Click here for full list of festivals/public holidays

Weather
The weather in Thailand is hot all year. There are really only three seasons here:
'Summer'; Feb until May, temperatures usually around 20c at night and 33c during the daytime.
'Rainy'; from June until September, temperatures roughly the same, but with plenty of rain (It's ok; it's still sunny most days too!)
'Cool'; October until January, temperatures not wildly different to the rest of the year although it doesn't rain much and night time temperatures may drop enough for you to put a thin jumper on!

Will I have good access to phones and the internet?

There is good phone coverage in Thailand. Thai sim cards can be bought very cheaply and easily making phone calls both here and back home very reasonable indeed. You will need to make sure your phone is 'unlocked' before you leave. As well as numerous 24 hour internet cafes in Surin, LemonGrass provides volunteers with onsite free internet access which can be used for both lesson planning and personal use .

What plugs do I need?

Thailand uses 220 volts and if you decide to bring any electrical items, you will need to get a travel plug adaptor (unless you are from the US where the plugs are the same). These can be bought cheaply once here.

Is the water safe to drink?

Tap water is theoretically safe to drink and is fine for cleaning your teeth, however, most locals don't drink it, preferring to purchase bottled water or boil the tap water. If you don't choose to drink the tap water, bottled water can be bought from almost any shop very cheaply. Water and ice provided by street vendors and restaurants is usually safe to drink and produced from boiled water.

Where do I do my laundry?

There are many laundry services. For 30 baht (60 pence UK or 90c US approx) you can leave your laundry and pick it up 24 hours later clean and dry!

What should I wear?

Thailand is a hot and sunny country and the locals usually dress casually and with the weather in mind. It is usually fine to dress casually yourself, but please be aware that in formal situations, discretion is the key. When you are volunteering in the schools, you should dress with respect. Short skirts, shorts, see through material and bare shoulders are not suitable and even for daily dress these items are unusual.

We strongly recommend you bring loose fitting, light coloured cotton clothes for your visit to Thailand. With the sun able to burn your skin in minutes we recommend 'some kind of hat' and/or plenty of sun cream. Clothing is plentiful and cheap in Surin so if you want to keep your baggage light you could always buy some here.

What do I do about money?

Currency in Thailand is the Baht. There are plenty of cash machines and Bureau de change at Bangkok airport and in Surin itself. Indeed across the whole of Thailand. Thailand is a poor country and we don't recommend you carry large amounts of cash around with you. You are very safe here, but what may seem like 'loose change' in England can be weeks worth of wages for locals. Should you lose it, your insurance company will probably not be impressed.

Do I need TEFL training to volunteer to teach English?

Absolutely not. Some volunteers may like to do a short TEFL course to improve their skills, but it really isn't necessary. We just ask that you can speak and read English well and are enthusiastic on your placement. LemonGrass will support volunteers with subject matter and in anyway we can.

Can I bring my family with me whilst volunteering?

LemonGrass encourage volunteers to bring their partners and children with them and indeed encourage other family members to join in the fun. Please talk to us about your requirements and we will endeavour to accommodate your family. In some cases, there may be an additional cost to cover accommodation for additional family members.

What happens if I want to cancel my volunteering placement?

LemonGrass has a no quibble, full refund policy for cancellations made up to 4 weeks before the start date of a volunteer's placement. Cancellations made after this may result in a deduction of any costs incurred by LemonGrass as a result of making non refundable bookings for the volunteer's placement, e.g. train tickets, hotel bookings and the like.

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