Southeast Asia Ethical Adventure Trail
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- Gap Year
- Gap Year
- Travel and Tourism
- Voluntary and Charity
- Outdoor Pursuits
- Land Based
Travel with us to the ancient Kingdoms of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, famously popular destinations for gap year travellers and it isn't hard to see why. The countries provide a world of unimaginable beauty offering the perfect setting for an adventure that will take you everywhere – from buzzing night bazaars full of jewel-bright lanterns, to pearl-white sand beaches and picture perfect vistas; from dazzling temples to formidable sunken Buddha statues hidden by a riot of rainforest vegetation; from refreshing waterfalls in breathtaking landscapes, to the remains on an ancient citadel; you will experience all this, and combine your journey with a 28-day beach conservation or teaching and community development project (if you can't decide between the two projects try a combination of both). This adventure trail takes in the best sites in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and will lead you to the highlights of these unmissable destinations. Who could resist swimming in crystalline waters off perfect white sand beaches and exploring lush green rainforest where leopard cats, elephants and other exotic creatures lurk? Soak up the intense historical ambience in the venerated temples throughout these ancient empires and be awe-struck by the majesty of Angkor Wat in Cambodia; then spend your nights in the vibrant whirlwind of the bars and nightclubs of the cosmopolitan and exotic cities you visit en route, as you enjoy the company of your travel companions and new friends. You will enjoy the exhilaration of travelling in a new and exciting culture. What is so fantastic about this journey is that whilst travelling you will benefit from the leadership of a young, friendly, fun but also sensible and well-travelled guide who will take care of all the stress and organisation on the trip, whether it be recovering lost luggage, arranging bus tickets, booking hostels or extra activities, dealing with emergencies or even knowing the best places to go for a great night out in Bangkok! If you want to experience the beauty and adventure of Southeast Asia, travelling along with a young and friendly group of companions, without the hassle, then joining this Frontier Adventure Trail is the perfect solution!
- Make lifelong friendships
- Become an intrepid explorer in this wondrous corner of the world
- Discover a wealth of culture & wildlife
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 29-54: Teaching and community development OR beach conservation OR a combination of both projects 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 £260 (to complete this course you need to be on the island for a full four weeks). If you can't decide between the two project options you can do a combination of both but please be aware that you will have to cover the journey cost from Siem Reap to the island of Koh Smach at approximately £30/$50. Day 55: Phnom Penh Return to the city to relax and prepare for the journey to Vietnam.
Day 56-58: Ho Chi Minh Venture into this vibrant and industrious urban centre with its bubbling and exhilarating vibe. Visit the War Remnants Museum containing eye-opening exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. See the pastel-hued pagodas and pick up some real bargains from the tiny merchants and traders of the many side streets and alleys. Take a day tour of the Mekong Delta, home of many rice fields and floating markets. Gaze up at the arching ceilings of the Halls of Mandarins, as you breathe in the exotic aura of this testament to Vietnam's past rulers. Day 59-61 En route to Hanoi you will have the chance to encounter several of Vietnam's most diverse towns and villages. Nha Trang offers sand-boarding on huge dunes and sunbathing on the fabulous beach – for a combination of relaxation and a real adrenaline rush! Hoi An is a stunning little town with Chinese influences around every corner. Famous for its tailors, you could stroll past a delicate Chinese temple with colourful lanterns lining the streets, and drop in to a tailor to get measured up for your new suit or ball gown made from Thai silk! Along the way, visit Hué and see the imperial tombs, the old citadel and take a boat trip on the Perfume River. See the unimaginable splendour and fantastical elegance of the Royal enclosure, and the Forbidden Purple City. Day 62: Hanoi Explore Hanoi, by taking a walking tour of this vibrant and colourful city of a million bicycles, picking up a last few souvenirs. Visit the Temple of Literature, one of Hanoi's finest historical sites and Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. Day 63-64: Sapa Travel by night train and then by bus along the winding road into the clouds to reach the highland resort of Sapa. Day 65: Travel back to Hanoi by train and bus Day 66-68: Halong Bay Explore Halong Bay with a two-day boat trip along this spectacular coast with its enormous limestone caves, dense jungle and monolithic islands. The area boasts incredible biodiversity with a fantastic array of wildlife including antelopes, monkeys, lizards and bantams living on some of the offshore islands. Day 69: Hanoi Return to Hanoi to do some more last minute shopping and prepare for your homeward journey. Day 70: 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.