This is the third post in a four part series comparing the volunteer experience in Nong Khai and Krabi, our two main bases in Thailand, written by Andy from the UK. He attended the Volunteer & Cross Cultural Training in Nong Khai and then stayed for around six weeks teaching at Hat Kam School. He then headed down south, where he has now spent twelve weeks so far, teaching at Ban Nong Kok School among others. This time he takes a look at the differences in accommodation, staff support and free time in each place.
In Nong Khai, I stayed at the Openmind centre. This was great as there was a fairly constant stream of other volunteers arriving for the training courses and you get to meet lots of people. The Openmind staff and trainees are extremely friendly, helpful and great company too. They will work hard to cooperate with you and resolve any problems that you may encounter - whether at your volunteering placement or just adapting to life in Nong Khai. The staff and trainees also make sure that you get the opportunity to experience any interesting festivities that may be taking place locally. For example, we went along to take part in the Loi Krathong festival while I was there.
The Openmind accommodation in Krabi Town is a simple two-bedroom bungalow shared with any other volunteers based there, although there isn't the same, steady flow of volunteers as in Nong Khai. A few minutes down the road you will find the radio station where Mui (South Thailand Manager for Openmind) works. Mui and her family are so helpful and friendly - I head to the radio station for evening meals during the week and use the computers there when I need to. I've also made appearances on Mui's radio show, giving English language tips to the listeners in Krabi! Just like the staff in Nong Khai, Mui and her family work very hard to help you make a success of your volunteering placements and with any issues you may have. They have also involved me in local festivities here, for example the King's birthday celebrations and Chinese New Year.