Laos Wildlife Sanctuary FAQs
Laos has a tropical monsoon climate, with a pronounced rainy season from May through October, a cool dry season from November through February, when it can give chilly at night, and a hot dry season in March and April. Generally, monsoons occur at the same time across the country, although that time may vary significantly from one year to the next. Average temperature in Laos is around 29 degrees.
Yes, in fact we actively encourage it! Laos is a beautiful country and we wish you to experience its culture, history and people. On days off, the project can coordinate group activities like trips into Vientiane, swimming or boat trips when there are enough people interested. Volunteers can also organise trips to local sites or to Vientiane and its surrounds, including visiting the beautiful Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area, Lake Nam Ngum, or the nearby Buddha Park. Near the project is a resort with a swimming pool where volunteers can spend their off days.
The animals wake at sunrise so work starts at 8am. The last jobs are finished by 5.00pm but you will have around 1.5 hours of free periods during the day where you can relax or catch up on sleep. You will work six days a week, with one day off to explore the local area or relax. The atmosphere at the centre is friendly and relaxed, so with consultation with the staff, most requests for preferred days off are possible although the project coordinator must ensure that all duties are fulfilled daily for the benefit of the animals.
You need to be able to speak English as this will be the common language at the project.
The majority of volunteers are from the UK, United States, Canada and Australia. We also place volunteers from Holland, Germany, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand although all nationalities are welcome. The majority of volunteers travel alone to the project, although we also accommodate couples and groups.
Yes of course, here is a sample of stories from our volunteer blogs.
There is no wifi at the project, but it is easy to buy and use a local SIM card, which can be used to access 3G for the internet. Receiving and making international phone calls on the sanctuary phone is available for emergencies only.
Yes of course, in fact we have a page all about how you can fund raise for your trip here.
Volunteers stay in bungalows situated on the grounds of the sanctuary under the shade of plenty of trees. The bungalows are basic, but comfortable, and volunteers normally only share with one other person. The bungalows also come with a small balcony to relax on at the end of the day. Hot showers and western toilets are shared and are located in a building just next to the bungalows.
Three meals a day are included in your stay, and volunteers have access to free filtered drinking water, coffee, and tea. Breakfast is do-it-yourself, but supplies are provided. Lunch and dinner are freshly prepared Laotian dishes, with some Western food, and vegetarians are easily catered for. Within the immediate area there is a local market that operates daily where you can buy local food, fish, vegetables, fruit and snacks. Around 5km away is a small village where you will find a mini mart that stocks a few more goods than the local shops. You can buy pasta, tuna, ice creams and various other things from here.
Volunteers are not allowed to drink alcohol during working hours. In the evening, after work has completed for the day, volunteers are permitted to drink alcohol in moderation at our volunteer hang out. Working and living with animals means you must be able to follow safety protocols and react quickly at all times. We therefore cannot allow volunteers to be drunk or having a hangover on site. Smoking is not allowed inside any of the project’s buildings, including your bedroom and the volunteer kitchen. Smoking is allowed outside the volunteer hangout.
The currency in Laos is the Lao Kip. ATMs are available in Vientiane for all major credit cards. There are also currency exchange shops so you can also carry US dollars or Euros.
Laos is a very safe and friendly, but as always when travelling you must take the usual precautions to make sure you stay safe. Common sense and knowledge is the key phrase, and on arrival you will have an orientation meeting to advise you of any precautions you need to take. Most visits to Laos are completely trouble free. For more information, visit our International Travel Advice Page
We recommend that you let your health professional know that you will be volunteering in a wildlife rescue centre and discuss the various vaccination options. For more information, visit our International Travel Advice Page
Finding the right insurance to cover your travels can be daunting, confusing and time-consuming, however – travel insurance is a must. You never know what could happen, and if you are unlucky enough to get ill or find yourself in a sticky situation, being uninsured can be really expensive and downright dangerous. This is why we strongly recommend that all our volunteers take out suitable travel insurance. We also recommend that your purchase your insurance and soon as you book your trip to cover you for all up-front costs in the event of cancellation due to any unforeseen circumstances. Globalteer has formed a partnership with a leading travel insurance provider to help you through this process.
Laos is not as “westernised” as some of the other countries in South East Asia, and the village where the centre is located is very traditional and rarely sees westerners. Volunteers are expected to behave respectfully and dress modestly at all times, but especially when leaving the property. This applies to both male and female volunteers, but due to cultural differences particularly for women. Wear tops with sleeves that cover your shoulders when walking around outside the centre. Obvious cleavage or showing midriff is not acceptable in the centre or outside.
Take off footwear when entering a building or shop. Modesty is highly valued. Public body contact, especially between men and women is avoided. Lao people do not like to be touched on the head as it is considered offensive. It is also considered impolite to point one’s foot at another person. It is also not appreciated if visitors behave as if they are in a hurry. Privacy is an important cultural value, and relationships are based on trust and personal questions from people they don’t know very well are not appreciated. The traditional Lao greeting is called ‘wai’. This involves placing your palms together at chest level as if praying and inclining your head.
No, you will be given guidance and training and will work with experienced staff. If you are a qualified veterinary or vet nurse, please contact us for information on the programme for vets.
Yes, on arrival you will receive orientation from the project coordinator, giving local information and advice. Basic training will be given to ensure you achieve the project objectives. You will continually be learning from the staff.
We will organise your pick-up from Vientiane. You must be available for a pick up at your hotel or the airport no later than 10.30AM on a Sunday. You should book a flight that arrives by 9:30am as this should allow enough time to clear customs at the airport. If the flights you wish to use arrives later than 9.30am then please arrive the day before and spend the night in Vientiane.
Globalteer is fully committed to ensuring that your volunteer placement is responsible. More information can be found on our Responsible Volunteering Page.
As a UK registered Charity, Globalteer is financially transparent, our accounts are independently audited and posted online. You can read a full report on where your money goes here.
We understand what motivates volunteers and what makes a memorable volunteer experience. We have been placing volunteers at our projects since 2006 and have built up a wealth of knowledge in those years about what makes volunteering rewarding for volunteers as well as impactful for the fantastic projects we work with. You can read here why we think you should choose Globalteer.
You can read more about this project on our blogs page.