I took this trip back in the summer of 2012 and still to this day, one of the best trips I ever took. My trip to Thailand wasn’t a family trip, but instead a volunteer trip through a company called Rustic Pathways (which I’ll give a brief overview of what it is at the end). It was a group of about 25 kids, ranging from ages 14-18, but I went with a friend who I met on my previous trip to India (also with Rustic Pathways) so that was a lot of fun!
Our trip was two weeks long and we first started out at an elephant conservation camp, where we got paired up with an elephant and learned how to take care of them. We learned commands, fed them, took them for baths, and even got to learn different ways to get up on the elephant for a ride. Our elephant, Full Moon, was the best. She was a little bit older than some of the other elephants but she was so sweet and gentle with us when interacting with her. We also got to visit an “elephant hospital”, where we saw where a group of doctors and volunteers care for elephants who are injured from either just injuring themselves or from poachers. That was a tough reminder of why it’s so important to keep elephant conservations open since so many elephants are injured or killed for their tusks and to understand how to care for them properly.
Our last night at the elephant camp though, we got to do one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. We all rode our elephants into the jungle and stayed in these huge huts, basically having a huge sleepover with the elephants. We all got a taste of authentic Thai food, made from wrapping chicken up in banana leaves, with rice and fresh fruit. We also got to have a chance to try out some scorpions if we wanted too but I was way to much of a wimp to try that!
After our week with the elephants, we got to do a weeklong road trip throughout Thailand! We stayed at so many different types of hotels and visited rural areas to cities such as Chiang Mai and Bangkok. One of my favorite temples that we visited was Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. They had this amazing staircase (featured below) that had amazing dragons at the beginning of it. Every detail and the rich colors were amazing to just look at, I was just so in awe. We finished out our trip in Bangkok, where we took a boat ride on the river and had lunch at a restaurant on the river. Turns out,if you’ve ever seen the movie, we had a great view of the hotel where Chow gets arrested at in The Hangover Part II.
After the two weeks, it was definitely hard forcing myself to get on the plane back home. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go over everything that we did, but hopefully y’all got a good idea of Thailand through this post!
Here’s hoping to another trip to Thailand in the future!
About Rustic Pathways (from their website):
Rustic Pathways is the leader in providing international community service, education, and adventure programs for students around the world.
We offer something for every type of student – from adrenilin junkies, animal lovers, aspiring doctors and much more, we run more than 100 programs across 20 countries and five continents.
At Rustic, our mission, vision, and values drive the way we run our programs, partner with local communities, and live our lives.