what’s the cheapest way to get to you?
please check out the ARRIVAL section of the staff site
what are the sleeping arrangements?
We have a small staff house with dorm style fan rooms. You get a mattress on the floor with clean sheets and a mossi net. Sometimes when we have an overflow of volunteers, we ask someone to temporarily sleep in one of the regular dorms, but it’s not common. We have a safe to keep valuable in if you’d like, but that being said our hostel is very safe and we’ve never had a theft issue.
how many volunteers do you guys have?
It varies depending on the season, but in low season we might have as little as 3, and in peak season as many as 8. On an average day, I’d say usually about 6 at a time.
is there staff other than the volunteers?
In addition to the volunteers, we have one or two managers. The manager’s job is to oversee the volunteers, pick up slack during busy times, and help with administrative duties and as issues come up. The owners act as managers when they are around also. They are hands-on in running the guesthouse and will jump in to help as things need to get done. The owners spent the first few year doing all of the volunteer jobs themselves so they have an understanding of the challenges in each task and a clear standard of how we like things done. They spend a long time with the managers explaining how and why we do things a certain way and why it’s important to keep consistent with it- please don’t be offended if a manager is checking your work or asking you to use a different method in doing your task. Just like when you get a cheeseburger that always tastes the same at McDonalds, we want people that visit us to experience the same standards, regardless of who is working at Chill Out House at the time. That being said, when volunteers add the flare of their great personalities into the mix while interacting with the guests, THATS what makes this place so special 🙂
how does the scheduling work and do I get days off?
Scheduling happens every Sunday at 7pm during our weekly staff meeting, and everyone gets one day off a week. We have 4 primary shifts a day, and we try to keep the schedule as consistent as possible. Shifts can get swapped too if something comes up and 2 people want to cover each other for some reason, no problem. But we generally keep 1 people on the same shift as much as possible because if someone is only here for a couple weeks and they spend each day on a different shift, he/she is barely trained on everything as opposed to being trained up on one job within a couple days and really good at it the majority of the time they’re here.
The shifts are 3 to 3.5 hours long and each have a CHECKLIST to complete.
we’re a couple- can we always work the same shift and have the same day off together?
We try to make the schedule as accommodating as possible, but we can not guarantee that couples will get to work together all the time. We also cant guarantee that couples can have the same day off- but if they can’t, we’ll work the schedule around making sure a couple is able to utilize each of their days off in a practical way to maximize their time together.
is there Malaria or Dengue Fever there?
We are happy to report that there isn’t any malaria down here, but there is dengue. Dengue takes a week for symptoms to start, and is caught by getting bit by and dengue mosquito. A Dengue mosquito is a mosquito that has bit another person who has dengue. A person with dengue can infect mosquitoes while they are showing symptoms, as well as for the following 10 days after the symptoms have gone away. It is because of this, that if anyone shows symptoms, guest or volunteer, they need to go get tested at the clinic and if they test positive, they need to go get a private bungalow/room to ride out their week long fever. We hope people are understanding in that they can not continue to stay in the open-air dormitory environment- it creates a safety hazard for everyone else to risk that person getting bit during that time and spreading the fever. It’s a fairly common travel sickness to catch in the south of thailand, and is honestly not usually that bad- no near as gnarly as catching malaria. You feel like you’ve got the flu for a week or so, and then you’re better. There’s no medicine or cure for it, you just need to sleep, drink tons of water, and take some Tylenol if your fever gets too high. An aircon room is recommended in case you feel hot and cold throughout the day. There are 4 main strains of dengue in the world (mostly regional) and once you’ve had a strain, you’re immune to it- so you usually don’t have to worry about getting it again once you’ve been through it. We have had volunteers and guest catch it in the past, but it’s not a super common occurrence.
what is around the hostel that I can walk to?
Everything you need! There’s the beach, tons of restaurants, bars, mini-marts, thai massage, shopping, motorbike rental and more. The beach by the way is awesome. It’s a lovely swimming beach that isn’t overcrowded and full of umbrellas- in the mornings it looks like a postcard to send back home. The island is fun to explore, but everything you need is all around the neighborhood 🙂
is the area loud and busy or more quiet and isolated?
We are located in what’s known as the backpacker’s street of Koh Lanta. It’s a dirt road that ends at the beach, and is lined with bars and guesthouses and jungle. It still has that undeveloped feel that Thailand is slowly losing as everything gets paved over and modernized. The bars are all open-air with a tropical rosta kinda feel, and most of the accommodation is budget. There are different parties each night of the week and a couple of the nights can get pretty loud because the party is at a neighboring bar. Our bar closes at midnight, but some others might have live music later into the night on their party night. It could be disruptive if you’re a light sleeper for sure- some sleep with earplugs on a party night, or others just go enjoy the band until they wind down. It’s not an intense party place like Phi Phi or Petong or Koh Tao, but there’s still a healthy nightlife walking distance most nights.
do I need a visa to work there?
Volunteering is a grey area in thailand, and they have very strict restrictions on issuing actual volunteer visas… so the short answer is, you can’t get one. There are very few non profit organizations that can actually issue volunteer visas, even though volunteering is a very popular and common thing in Thailand- which is why they’re pretty relaxed about enforcing any rules around it. Police dont care or check, and immigration is much more concerned with high profile dive centers, luxury hotels, and cheap illegal laborers (fishing/construction)- not backpackers looking for a unique experience along their travels. Even the local Animal Welfare (humane society) can’t issue visas Anyway, we’ve never had any interest or negative attention by authorizes, and we would handle it internally if an issue ever occurred, so no worries 🙂
i wanna stay longer but just got a 30 day stamp when I flew in to Thailand- what can I do to extend my stay?
With most nationalities, you have 2 options to extend: you can go to a local immigration office and pay 1,900 baht for another 30 day extension. The other option is to leave the country- from there you can go to a thai embassy and buy a 90 day visa (also 1,900 baht) before re-entering, or you can just fly back into the country and get another 30 days. If you want to extend your stay, talk to us about it and we can help you find the best solution to fit your needs.