WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Your adventure will begin as you fly into Bangkok and are escorted to a comfortable guest house where you will have the opportunity to acclimatise and receive important briefing and orientation, giving you essential information about the adventure ahead of you.
Day 1: Bangkok
Acclimatise and settle in to you guest house in Khao San where you will receive a travel briefing and safety awareness information from your trail leader and meet the rest of the group. Groups range in size from 2- 12 participants.
Day 2-4: Bangkok
Visit the phenomenal Royal Palace and museum which have fascinated locals and foreigners for centuries. These intricately and exquisitely carved monuments, erected in honour of Thailand's ancient kings, are a perfect example of the staggering architecture found in this part of the world, and are a perfect start to your Thai adventure. Then you will visit the glorious reclining Buddha, a sacred emblem of Thailand's Buddhist heritage. Other sightseeing highlights at this stage include the Red Cross Snake farm, and the fabulous and important Siam Centre.
Day 5-8: Kanchanaburi
This Thai province is a true Aladdin's cave of natural and historical treasures, magnificent landscapes, including some of Asia's most dramatic waterfalls, expansive pagodas, interactive museums where you can find out more about the regions complex history, and even a school full of chattering monkeys! See the intriguingly named Hellfire Pass, and enjoy visits to luscious hot springs, kayaking down foaming rivers and viewing the bridge over the vast River Kwai (famous from the Hollywood film), and much more. As well as this, visit Wat Tham Seua and Wat Tham Khao Noi by bicycle, the perfect way to appreciate the grandiose splendour of these miraculous temples.
Day 9-11: Chiang Mai
Visit this beautiful city in northern Thailand for the opportunity to do an overnight trek to remote hill villages.
Day 12-14: Pai
Visit Pai in northern Thailand where the pace of life slows to a crawl and accommodation is strung out along wooded hillsides.
Day 15: Bangkok
Return to Bangkok via the old capital city of Ayutthaya and spend some time exploring its old temples and ruins. Buy some last minute souvenirs and prepare for the next stage of the trail.
Day 16: Travel to Cambodia
Day 17-20: Phnom Penh
This province is a wonderful introduction to Cambodia and you will enjoy some free time in this wonderful city. Over the next few days, you will explore this sprawling metropolis known as the "pearl of Asia", taking in the Royal Palace, the Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields, an important and moving site.
Day 21: Travel by bus to Siem Reap
Day 22-28: Siem Reap
This province is a wonderful introduction to Cambodia with expansive lake scenery, an abundance of lavishly decorated elephants, floating villages and of course the spectacular temple complex of Angkor Wat, a visual feast of temples formed of golden filigrees and blood red stone. Visit the Terrace of Elephants or find out what the "Churning of the Sea of Milk" entails, in this most significant of historical monuments! Following this, you will receive your field briefings and safety tests before travelling to your project site.
Day 29-56: Teaching and community development OR beach conservation OR a combination of both projects. OR Marine Conservation & Diving (additional cost applies)
At this stage of the project, you will get the chance to participate in a volunteering project: teaching and community development or beach conservation or if you can't decide a combination of both projects.
Teaching and community development
You will be teaching in a school for underprivileged children, where you will make a vital contribution to their lives. Your work schedule will cover a comprehensive, varied and enjoyable teaching programme which will engage you fully with your pupils and will awaken your creativity and initiative. You are sure to gain huge satisfaction from inspiring these underprivileged children, bringing joy and fun to their lives, whilst enhancing your own skills and experience significantly. You can also gain a TEFL BTEC certificate for an additional fee if you spend the four weeks conducting the teaching work.
This project work is conducted on the private island of Koh Smach where you will be living in true castaway style, in simple semi- permanent structures based right on the beach overlooking the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Day to day activities may include snorkel surveys to assess coral reef damage and fish population size and structure, patterns and extent of resource use by villagers, environmental awareness campaigns within the local village, community development work including refurbishment to village infrastructure, language teaching in the village community, silt trap monitoring, village clean-ups and recycling scheme development and beach clean-ups.
You will become adept at surviving on this remote island wilderness, cooking over open fires and swaying in your hammock each night under a spectacular star studded sky. Through immersion in local culture and activities with the local village, you will assess how reliant the local villagers are on the coastal ecosystem for their livelihood and may gain an insight into the impact of global warming on the threatened marine and coastal communities. You will discover the rich cultural heritage of the Khmer communities as you work alongside them on environmental education programmes and community development activities. Discover the rich blend of Buddhist and Hindu spiritualism infusing their daily lives and is epitomised in majestic mainland temples and elaborate ceremonies and rituals of this fascinating country. By carrying out this valuable beach conservation work, you will have the opportunity to gain a BTEC qualification in Tropical Habitat Conservation for an additional US$416 (to complete this course you need to be on the island for a full four weeks).
An additional cost of US$160USD / 70GBP applies to take part in the beach conservation placement to cover internal transport costs
At this stage of the project, you will get the chance to participate in a volunteering project, teaching, conservation or development.
Marine Conservation & Diving
The project works to safeguard these natural marine resources, working side by side with the local community assisting in the management and sustainable use of the resources within the established community fishing area, as well as providing much needed teaching resources and care work for the community itself.
The project incorporates a number of different elements, all of which combine to not only give you an insight into the workings of the local community and economy, but also lend a hand in protecting rapidly diminishing species.
The marine project involves joining a scuba diving research team that monitors the marine ecosystem and collects data on the reef, coastal breeding grounds and the abundance of important species. This data is then used to help maintain a proactive conservation strategy. Volunteers learn about seahorse and invertebrate species, as well as collecting valuable data from seahorse surveys. There may also be the opportunity to assist with educational awareness programmes for local children, providing them with workshops on responsibility and helping in island and beach cleanup days.
You may also find yourself teaching English in the island school, providing much needed education and support. With nearly a third of 7-14 year olds unable to attend school, this is a fantastic opportunity to get close to the local children and make a real difference to their future prospects. You will dance, sing, and play games as well as teach them English. Literacy is crucial to education, and in providing them with vital skills, you can provide them with hope for a future of choice.
To participate in the scuba diving project work you will need to be qualified to Advanced Open Water or equivalent, with dive training available in-country at the project site. Please see the extended project cost information for prices for dive training in the warm tropical seas of Cambodia!
An additional cost of US$792GBP applies to take part in the marine conservation & diving placement
Day 56: Fly home!
**This itinerary is very flexible and subject to change. It is intended as a guide. You and your fellow travellers will change the itinerary according to your interests and depending on how you are progressing.**
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