Tuesday
Jul152014

Assistant Eco Trail Leader: Venturing through Thai culture 

I arrived into Bangkok a few days prior to the volunteers to prepare for our next few months together. Marc, our trail leader drew the short straw and held the unenviable task of collecting the early arrivals from the international airport at 6am and I later followed to meet the afternoon flights. Despite long haul flights all the volunteers were bright eyed and bushy tails eagerly anticipating the trail! 

 

After a quick freshen up at the hostel we headed out and tried some of the local cuisine which included a selection of Thai dishes from a small restaurant. Everyone was really excited to try the different dishes and they went down incredibly well. 

 

The following day we took a trip to the temples where everyone was impressed with the intricacy of the architecture in addition to the education of Buddhist history. This history was furthered at a visit to the grand palace which were the grounds that previous kings had lived. Again this was a fantastic day out where we l learnt a lot about Thai culture.  

 

After a few days acclimatising to the hustle and bustle of Thailand's capital, it was time to head on north to Chiang Mai! Bangkok has been a fantastic start to what we can already tell is going to be an incredible trail!

By Siobhan fray, Assistant eco trail leader

Find out more about the South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail.

Tuesday
Jul152014

Volunteer Blog: Polly and Kate

We all arrived in Bangkok on Monday mornsince then have learnt a lot about the Thai culture by visiting a Wat Arun temple and The Grand Palace both of which were amazing. The arhitecture over here is so different to anything that we have ever seen before.  We have also been tasting the local cuisine, including scorpions! but our favourites remain the spring rolls from the street vendors.  We went out on the famous Khao San Road which has such a buzzing atmosphere, especially at night. There are lots of tourists from all over the world and loads of different market stalls and amazing street food.

  We were so relieved to finally get off the train in Chang Mai after a sleepless 14 hour journey.  However despite this, the views were amazing as we drove travelled through the jungle for hours.  We saw lots of rice paddy fields and also a giant gold Budda in the middle of the jungle.  After dropping off our bags at the hostel, we were so excited to finally go swimming in a pool nearby.  Tonight we are going to the night market and afterwards are going to watch a Muay Thai fight.

We are having a great time here in Thailand and are excited for the rest of our trip!

By Polly and Kate, trail volunteers

Find out more about the South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail.

Tuesday
Jun032014

Volunteer blog: Ellen Sargen

After a fantastic first month in Thailand, we are now on week three of our project in Cambodia. There is a group of us currently staying in Siem Reap, each of us teaching at three local schools.

I am teaching Grade 5 at Smiling Hearts Association for Children. I have two Grade 5 classes, aged between 11 and 16, and have really got to know the students over the past couple of weeks - I'll be really sad to leave them. I have found teaching really challenging - we've been tackling lots of horrible grammar (which at times does not just only test the kids, but me also!) Although there have been times when teaching is really tough (desperately trying to come up with 4 hours’ worth of lesson material a day) it is also so rewarding.

It's so great to see you are actually making a difference to their education, and therefore chances of making a living when they're older (a few are aspiring to work in tourism, and so English will be their main asset!).

Leaving them will be really hard - the lessons have become so much fun as we've got to know each other - but this project has really inspired me; I'd love to travel around teaching students from all corners of the world, it's a fantastic experience!

By Ellen Sargen, trail volunteer

Find out more about the South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail.

Tuesday
May132014

Volunteer blog: Kelsey Clifton

Looking out towards the island I could see my home for the next month. The white beaches and little civilization, I was ready to get to unpack and get to work. As I walked around our little village I noticed a couple things right off the bat. The village is a tight-nit community that enjoys one another out. For example, while I was filling up the bottle with clean water, a young girl was unable to carry both bottles of water, so a neighbour helped her with it. They place the hose directly into your bottle instead of wasting the water, as fresh water here is precious.

Being on an island where clean water is first priority, eating out of a mess kit and not having a cell phone with WIFI reminds me of camping back home in Canada. I like it where you have to ration meals, have fresh water to bathe in and certain foods only once a day. It makes one really appreciate what we all have back home.

It was mentioned to us by our Conservation leader Jen, that when you swim at night you are able to see the plankton. We all jumped on the idea to do it. That night we swam under the clear starry night and waved our arms around as the plankton lit up our bodies. I’m excited to see what else we will be learning this month.

By Kelsey Clifton, trail volunteer

Find out more about the South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail.

Wednesday
May072014

Trail volunteer blog: Tristian Butler

So, week three means we all start the most exciting part of Thailand (in my opinion anyway!), Island hopping!

We arrived at our first island which was the renowned party island Koh Pha Ngan. As soon as we all got off the ferry and took in the first sights of this beautiful island it was apparent that all the seemingly far-fetched stories of white sandy beaches, sky blue ocean water, beautiful rock cliffs, massive jungle areas, cute bamboo huts and of course, the coconut trees... were all true!

After spending a lot of chill time on the beach and partying hard at the crazy 'Half Moon Party', we organised a private boat tour around the stunning island which was a fantastic way of seeing the whole island, snorkelling at beautiful coral reefs and of course, more chilling on the beach.

After four days of paradise we left for our second island, Koh Tao, where most of us decided to complete a 4 day intensive scuba diving course! Excited! Koh Tao was a very welcome break from the 'party atmosphere' of Koh Phangang. This island was so chilled it felt like time flew by and in no time we had started our scuba diving course. After two days of studying (yes studying!!), practicing in the pool and learning about all the gear we hit the big deep blue ocean!

If you haven’t done scuba diving, you should... It's simply awesome! Swimming around coral and seeing a whole array of fish 18m down is one the most exhilarating feelings in the world and was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.

So, that’s the third week down and what a week it’s been! The forth week finishes off our island tour and starts the projects in Cambodia!

By Tristian Butler, trail volunteer

Find out more about the South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail.