Thailand Adventure and Service
$4,495 + Airfare + $400 Intra Trip Flights
Jun 27 – Jul 13, Jul 13 – Jul 29
Session 2, Session 3
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Kho Phi Phi, Hill Tribe Village, Siem Reap*, Angkor Wat*
|Optional group flight there:||
Los Angeles to Chiang Mai
|Optional group flight back:||
Bangkok to Los Angeles
Thailand is an earthly paradise full of incredible contrasts, untouched beauty, and adrenaline-charged adventure. Our all-encompassing trip showcases the best parts of this country and starts with an enriching 20 hour service project spent improving a local school at a hill tribe in Northern Thailand through various construction and maintenance projects. During your service work, you will have the opportunity to interact with the school children and form meaningful connections with the people in the community. When our project is finished, you will feel a sense of accomplishment knowing your hard work helped make a difference in the lives of the children you grew to know and love!
From the hustle and bustle of the ultramodern capital of Bangkok, to Hill Tribe villages nestled in the jungle near Chiang Mai and the picturesque white sandy beaches of Koh Phi Phi, you’ll experience it all on this TFT favorite! Swim with sharks and dive world-class reefs in the world’s bluest waters, meet saffron-cloaked Buddhist monks, bathe and ride elephants through the jungle, gaze in wonder at golden Buddhas and temples adorned with mother-of-pearl inlay, try local delicacies and learn how to cook your own mouth-watering cuisine, all while enjoying the warm hospitality and gentle smiles of the Thai people.
On this trip you will:
- Bathe elephants and ride them through the jungle at a sanctuary and rescue center
- Hone your skills as you learn to fight like a Muay Thai kick boxer
- Earn up to 30 hours of community service working to improve a hill tribe school in northern Thailand
- Hunt for bargains at the incredible night markets of Chiang Mai and Bangkok
- Feel the history as you explore the moving Hellfire Pass and Bridge on the River Kwai
- Snorkel with majestic reef sharks off Koh Phi Phi
- Zoom through the lush canopy while ziplining in the jungle
- Enjoy a real slice of paradise at the famous Maya beach near Koh Phi Phi
- Immerse yourself in breathtaking underwater worlds as you snorkel and scuba dive* incredible coral reefs
- Soak up the rays at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world
- Gaze upon the famous Emerald Buddha, Reclining Buddha, and the Royal Palace in Bangkok
- Explore the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Angkor Prom in Siem Reap, Cambodia (optional)
* Scuba diving is an optional activity
DAY 1: LOS ANGELES LAX AIRPORT (FOR THOSE WHO OPT TO TAKE THE GROUP FLIGHT)
As the group flight takes off, the trip officially begins!
DAY 2: CROSS THE INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE
DAYS 3 – 10: CHIANG MAI & HILL TRIBE VILLAGE
We’ll hang out in Chiang Mai, a hip university town in the northern hills of Thailand, taking ample time to explore the world-famous Buddhist temples and vast outdoor markets, a tradition left over from the caravans that stopped off here from the nearby Silk Road. Meet Buddhist monks and participate in a question-and-answer session, try out Muay Thai boxing, ride elephants through the jungle, and learn Thai cooking and dancing. We’ll cap off our time in Chiang Mai with a celebratory dinner where we sail paper lanterns into the night sky.
In the hills near Chiang Mai, we’ll give back to the indigenous hill tribe community by conducting a meaningful community service project to improve the facilities of the local school. Channel your inner handyman (or woman) as you see the direct impact of your hard work on the lives of these incredible people. This is a unique chance to immerse yourself in an enriching experience, where you’ll learn about a different way of life and about yourself.
DAYS 10 – 13: PHI PHI ISLANDS
Coming out of the jungle, we’ll jet down to the Phi Phi islands in the Andaman Sea for a taste of tropical nirvana. Snorkel and dive in the crystal-clear blue waters and relax on the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen. For the adventurous traveler, snorkel the reef with harmless reef sharks! The picture perfect sunsets will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Get in touch with nature as you hike gorgeous scenic trails and take a longtail boat to a beach featured in movies.
DAYS 13 – 15: KANCHANABURI
Kanchanaburi is teeming with WWII history, home of the Hellfire Pass and the Bridge on the River Kwai, where you’ll gain an insight into the struggles of the Allied Prisoners of War who lost their lives. The museum and war cemetery will give you a stark reminder of the brutality of war. Nearby explore some incredible underground caverns filled with sparkling stalagmites and stalactites that will leave you fascinated by these incredible natural formations.
DAYS 15 – 17: BANGKOK
Next you’ll be safely led through bustling Bangkok where we complete this incredible journey. During our tour of this thriving, full throttle city full of energy and life, you’ll marvel at the Emerald Buddha, Reclining Buddha and the opulent Royal Palace before catching the unsurpassed sunset over Wat Arun. Fill your suitcase for the trip home as we canvas the best shopping in the city, hitting up the famed floating markets, Khao San Road and night markets. Witness the intensity and skill of live Muay Thai Boxing (optional) before an unforgettable final night celebration of an incredible trip. Come experience the magic of Thailand with us this summer!
***Travel For Teens is also offering an overnight excursion to Siem Reap, Cambodia (extra tuition), site of the Angkor Wat temple, one of the seven modern wonders of the world. This will be a two day, one night trip.
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Bangkok we stay in a modern three star hotel in close proximity to the main attractions and best parts of the city. In Chiang Mai we stay at a locally run non-profit with apartment style housing and excellent communal facilities. In Kanchanaburi we stay at a peaceful Siam Style guesthouse on the bank of the River Kwai with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. In Ko Phi Phi we stay in luxurious resort bungalows a stone’s throw from the beach.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
Yes, in fact over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore all the different major parts of Thailand in one unforgettable trip. The trip provides everything with an amazing service experience, time in the jungles of Northern Thailand, the white sandy beaches of the South and the glistening yet gritty metropolis of Bangkok.
What is unique about this program?
At TFT we are most proud of our ongoing community service initiative with the local school near Chiang Mai. Every year we build upon the efforts of previous groups to create a bright future for the children of the school. Seeing the appreciative smiles of the kids makes all the hard work so worthwhile and of course makes it that much harder to wave goodbye!
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included: (not intended to be an exhaustive list) Airfare, rail passes, visas & visa application fees, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
At Travel for Teens, our trips typically fall into 3 different size categories.
Small: 7-14 students where 14 is the maximum.
Medium: Average is between 14-21 students with 21 as the maximum.
Large: Trips 21-35 students. These are our largest trips.
Typically Thailand Service and Adventure falls into the medium range, but trip sizes differ from year to year.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our Asia programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips in the region as well as Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Thai cuisine is bursting full of flavor, aromatic smells and vivid color, with lots of attention paid to balance, detail and variety. You’ll savor the best Pad Thai of your life and that’s just to start. Take your pick from hundreds of incredible dishes featuring mouth-watering combinations of rice, noodles, seafood, meats and fresh vegetables. What will your new favorite be?
We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, the group will have some free time to the urban areas of Chiang Mai and Bangkok as well as the great outdoors of the hills near Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi and Ko Phi Phi. During these times a counselor will always be safely nearby when participants have free time in each city, where the teens check in every hour or so.
What kind of Visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Thailand does not require a visa. Instead you will automatically receive a 30-day stay in the country. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun and useful phrases!