Volunteering in Koh Lanta, Thailand

Koh Lanta was one of our favourite places in Thailand! If you’re planning an island escape we highly recommend you check it out — sadly a lot of the Thai islands have been over commercialised and lost a bit of the charm, authenticity and ‘chill-ness’. Koh Lanta is what we love about Thailand and you will as well!  So what’s the best thing to do in Koh Lanta? That’s easy, we suggest volunteering at Lanta Animal Welfare, an amazing shelter that’s currently home to about 50 cats and 60 dogs, all looking for their ‘forever homes’. Lanta Animal Welfare is so much more than a shelter though, it’s a place where strays are looked after by qualified vets, kept safe from harm, and where people like us can go to learn more about what it takes to care for these animals. If you’re looking for a meaningful experience in between drinking Chang and going island hopping, a visit to Lanta Animal Welfare is definitely something to consider.


Who is Lanta Animal Welfare

The founder of Lanta Animal Welfare, Junie Kovacs, began her journey after visiting the island, falling in love with it and seeing the huge number of strays in need of help. After visiting, it became clear to Junie that her mission was to end the suffering of the hundreds of abused, injured and homeless animals. It was this heartbreaking visit that inspired her to open ‘Thai For Life’, which was the first Thai cooking school in the area. Using the profits, she’s was able to help fund Lanta Animal Welfare in 2005. Five years after opening the shelter she bought the piece of land that the Lanta Animal Welfare operates on today, and has expanded it every year since. 


What Lanta Animal Welfare Offers

Being the only veterinary service on the island, Lanta Animal Welfare provides life-saving treatment and first aid to both strays and animals owned by locals. Since 2010 they’ve played a huge role in promoting animal welfare on Koh Lanta, offering access to vaccinations, preventative care and sterilisation. With so many strays on the island, sterilisation is the most humane way to help keep numbers down and prevent the stray cycle continuing. Their efforts aren’t limited to Koh Lanta, they also offer their vaccination and sterilisation services to neighbouring islands.

How Lanta Animal Welfare is Helping Hundreds

Lanta Animal Welfare believes that change begins with education. They have an education program that they run in local schools where children learn about animals through interactive games which teach them about what animals need in order to live a happy, healthy life. Their hope is that they will go on to teach future generations how to properly care for animals. They also offer excursions for local schools to visit the shelter so they can get first-hand experience of the best ways to care for animals. Not only that, they also encourage the children to bring their cats for sterilisation and vaccinations!



 Why Visit Lanta Animal Welfare?

There are so many reasons to visit this incredible place. Not only are you helping support the people who help support the needs of local animals, but you also get to spend time loving on all of the doggos and kitties!


If you’re just planning on visiting for a couple of hours there are a few different options. You can go on a guided tour with a volunteer, exercise a rescue dog, chill with kitties or help out with daily tasks. We opted to take the tour then take a little pup named ‘Tinsel’ for a walk (and by walk, we mean we carried her around for an hour). You can check out our video here. and embedded below. If you fall in love and don’t have the heart to say goodbye, all of the animals are up for adoption and the shelter can even organise flight volunteers to help accompany them to their forever homes. For those who want to get a bit more hands-on, you can volunteer with helpful tasks around the center. From making up beds, shampooing, grooming and socializing to cleaning, or even making curtains for the mobile clinics.


Donating your time and love is an incredible way to help support the welfare centre but if you’d like to support their efforts in other ways you can read more here.


Here’s our experience:



We’re Dane and Stacey – full-time travellers, Digital Nomads, YouTubers and travel content creators from New Zealand. We explore the world with the purpose of showcasing new countries, unearthing amazing experiences and sharing the honest costs of travelling full-time.

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