Location: Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand
Target Year Groups: Y10 to Y13
Maximum number of students: 18
Approximate cost: HK$13,700 to $14,200 dependent on student numbers
Outside Provider or Organisation: Rustic Pathways

Trip Leader: Mr Muthar Younis & Ms Winnie Ma

Please note that parents are responsible for the arrangement of visas if required. Please ensure that your child’s passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of departure from their destination.

Participate in a variety of service learning initiatives in this week-long program in northern Thailand. Immerse yourself in the local culture as you contribute to rural infrastructure development projects and infrastructure initiatives in nearby villages, and become part of the extended Rustic Pathways family.

Finish your program with a day at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center where you will learn about this incredible animal.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Sawat dee and Welcome to Chiang Mai!

Welcome to Thailand! Arrive in Chiang Mai, meet your Rustic Pathways leaders, and enjoy the beautiful and historical capital
of Northern Thailand! Get dinner and have a program orientation followed by group games before bed.

Overnight: Chiang Mai Hotel

Day 2 – Muay Thai & Cooking Class in Chiang Mai

After breakfast head to back to Chiang Mai an freshen up at the hotel before an afternoon Muay Thai class. Muay Thai, or Thai kickboxing, is an ancient martial arts, infused with culture and practical ways of blocking and striking using kicks, elbows, punches and knees. Practice the basics with professional trainers as you work up a sweat and take out your aggression on the punching bag.

Next learn about the ancient art of Thai Cooking! Start by getting familiar with the unique and delicious ingredients of Thai cuisine. You’ll learn how to identify the various herbs and spices and what you can use to easily replace so these items at home. After learning the foundation and practicing some techniques, you will put your skills into practice as you learn how to make your favorite Thai dishes!

Overnight: Chiang Mai Hotel

Day 3 & 4 – Infrastructure Service

Enjoy a hearty breakfast then head into the mountains to help with an ongoing village infrastructure project. Working side by side with staff and locals, you will gain pride as you accomplish construction goals for the day and enjoy getting to know those around you even more closely. After wrapping up for the day, you can take time in the afternoon to play soccer with the locals, practice your new Thai vocabulary with our staff and villagers, or find a quiet place to write in your journal. You will stay in the village for two nights and immerse yourself in the unique local culture.

Overnight: Village Homestay

Days 5 – Trekking & Forest Restoration in SE Asia

Today you will start at the base of Doi Suthep and work your way up to the Forest Restoration Unit. Starting at the base you will hike up to Wat Pha Lat. This beautiful temple is about halfway up the mountain, and is serene with a waterfall running through it.

From here we can either drive or hike the rest of the way up depending on how the group is feeling. Once we are at the top, we will focus on restoration ecology and learn how to reforest SE Asia with Chiang Mai University’s Forest Restoration Research Unit. Among the many issues that conservationists face in this biodiversity hot spot, deforestation is one of the most acute causes of extinction and loss of ecosystem services and you will delve deeper into the topic high in the mountains of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. Learn how to identify and propagate different seeds and spend some time working in the onsite nursery. On your way back down the mountain stop at Doi Suthep Temple to take in the views from this sacred mountain top monument.

Overnight: Chiang Mai Hotel

Day 6 – Elephant Nature Park

This morning you will make your way north to the Elephant Nature Park where you will see a different approach to elephant conservation practices. This is a private camp that operates as part retirement home, part orphanage, and part hospital for sick, injured and abandoned elephants from all over the country. Explore the grounds and meet the different elephant inhabitants, learning their story and how they ended up at this unique center.

Your guides will explain the issues and complexities of conserving animals of this size in the face of deforestation, and increasing competition for land use between wild species and urban, hill tribe and agricultural interests. Elephant Nature Park has a unique philosophy and adopts the “hands off” approach to elephant eco-tourism, limiting the interaction between people and elephants, while striving to create as close to a natural environment as possible. You will feed the elephants learning about their unique dietary requirements and then take them to the river for a bath. In the afternoon head back to Chiang Mai for a Northern Thai dinner and a group discussion on the different approaches to animal conservation you have encountered so far.

Overnight: Chiang Mai Hotel

Day 7 – Return Home

Wake up for your final breakfast in Thailand. Think about the impact you made over the past week, and reflect on this life changing experience. Head to the airport for your flight home. Chok dee and come back to visit soon!

Overnight: Hotel in Chiang Mai