Pacific Discovery | Thailand Summer Program
99% Rating
(15 Reviews)

Pacific Discovery | Thailand Summer Program

Pacific Discovery takes a Gap Year!

Pacific Discovery will not be offering any programs in Summer 2018, Fall 2018, or Spring 2019. After 18 years of running programs, we will be taking a gap year ourselves to focus on time with family and our own adventures. We will continue to offer our custom faculty-led high school and university trips.

Thank you for supporting Pacific Discovery and we wish you all the best for the year ahead.

Experience the exotic and varied landscapes, tastes, wildlife and culture of Thailand. Be inspired by the magnificent and majestic elephants you will get to know and cherish while participating in conservation volunteer work at the award-winning Elephant Nature Foundation.

Explore the bustling markets, and intricacies of Thailand's most fascinating cities which are brimming with unique and colorful cultural heritage. Adventure into the jungle where you will have an unforgettable hiking and kayaking experience, wander across pristine beaches and snorkel among islands. Immerse yourself in Buddhist meditation, Thai cooking, yoga, Muay Thai, rock climbing, caving and scuba diving. You will be inspired by your summer journeying through authentic Thailand.

For an incredible summer experience, you can combine this program with the Vietnam & Cambodia Summer Program for an inspirational 8-week educational travel experience in Southeast Asia.

  • Rewarding week-long conservation service-learning project working with elephants at the award-winning Elephant Nature Park
  • 3-days hiking, tubing and boating in the amazing jungle, rivers and lakes of Khao Sok National Park
  • Thai cooking course and Muay Thai (Thai Martial Art) class
  • 2-day rock-climbing and caving adventure (no experience needed)
  • 3-day Buddhist meditation retreat run by Thai Monks
Chiang Mai
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Cultural Exploration
Hands-On Learning
Post-High School
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
Airport Transfers
Domestic Airfare
Park Fees
Tour Guide
Travel Insurance
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max
Application Fee
Starting Price
Price Details
Program fee inclusions:
All in-country transport – including 2 flights within Thailand; All accommodation; Most meals as above; 1 week of volunteer projects; All excursions, activities and adventure travel as described in the itinerary; Experienced Pacific Discovery program leader/s and local guides; Online image library for your program. Refer information booklet for international flight options.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 15 reviews
  • Housing 9.3
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 15

Best summer with PD

Traveling to Thailand with Pacific Discovery was everything and more that I could've imagined! It was the most courageous summer of my life! I was so out of my comfort zone I'm never going back. Everything from the volunteer projects, global citizenship and the impact you have in the world,expeditions, amazing cities,the cultural immersion, inspiring leaders, the food, the group, the adventures made this experience unforgettable. I’ve learned how to challenge myself physically and mentally, conquer my fears and not letting them stop me. It was the best 30 days where I lived in the moment, challenged myself and made life time friends! I highly recommend PD! <3

Yes, I recommend

10/10 would recommend.

Traveling with Pacific Discovery to Thailand was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. So much was packed into just thirty days of travel that by the time the program finished, we all felt like we had been gone for months - our itinerary was well-planned and varied, and no two days were alike. The group leaders were extremely knowledgeable about Thailand's history, customs, and the like, which allowed us to interact more meaningfully with the locals. Additionally, instead of following the typical tourist routes around Thailand, we went off the beaten path, allowing us to experience so much more of what the country has to offer. The sheer range of activities you would get to take part in on a Pacific Discovery trip is, in my opinion, reason enough to sign up.

Yes, I recommend
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Best Experience Ever!

One of my favorite experience of this entire trip was during the Climbing and Caving Adventure. We repelled down into the cave and only using head lights we were able to see the crystallized stalagmites and stalagtites which our guide told us all about. But the best part was when we got so far in to the cave that there was no light and we all turned off our headlamps. It was the darkest I've (n)ever seen and all you could hear were the bats flying around you! Coolest experience ever!

Yes, I recommend
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Just do it!

One of the most rewarding trips of my life! Great people, amazing opportunities, and an overall wonderful trip! The trip was incredibly organized, I never had to worry about logistics. We did everything I had hoped to do in Thailand. It was very smooth. The only thing we changed from the itinerary was that we didn't go scuba diving. While unfortunate, I never felt like this impacted my experience. No complaints. The company is great and I highly recommend it. I would definitely go on another trip through PacDisco.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly I wouldn't have changed a thing

Yes, I recommend
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Best trip of my life

I have been on a lots of trips to different places around the world. It is always the case of some things turning out better than expected and then a lot of things really letting you down. However with Pacific discovery they have already found out all the amazing things to do, so the trip is just constant highs. I wish I could do the whole thing again and plan to save up to go on another trip if with brilliant company.

Yes, I recommend
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Thailand changed my life in so many different ways.

I had the unique experience of staying away from the group for a night in Pai for personal reasons, and during that time, I took a really long (20 kilometer) walk up to an amazing waterfall. During this walk, I came across so many different people and I always got looked at.. well, I had green hair.. Although I may have looked strange, I always got smiles. The natural loving vibe that was in the air really helped me push myself to get to the waterfall and I found my peace. It was a very cherished moment of my life. Right after the group met back up in Pai, we traveled to the Elephant Nature Park, and that was the most eye-opening, impacting moments on my life. I found a passion for Elephants that I didn't know was in me, and I can't wait until I get to go back again! Pacific Discovery has encouraged me to travel more and experience as much of the world as I possibly can and I plan on doing so.

How can this program be improved?

There was one day that we did a Yoga and Meditation class in Chiang Mai and although it was absolutely awesome, we had to go run off on the "amazing race" around Chiang Mai right afterwards, and it was really exhausting. We were all really relaxed and I think that it would be really fun if there was a museum tour or something a little bit less rushed.

Yes, I recommend
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A Growth Experience Like No Other

I would recommend this trip to anyone. The amount you see and taste and touch and explore during those four weeks is phenomenal and pretty much unparalleled. It is hard to convey how much this program offers, but I will lead with saying I had never been to Asia before and spending four weeks in Thailand make me want to spend months more there, traveling and learning and taking it all in. Which, I will note, is definitely possible even on a student budget because once you're there everything is very inexpensive. A hotel room might be $15, and a meal well under $5 if you want it to be.

This program offers huge benefits both to those who have traveled internationally frequently before and those who haven't. If you are looking for an opportunity to explore a foreign country without necessitating that you speak the language and struggle through identifying and booking all the arrangements, this is the perfect mix of hands-on, supportive, and hands-off. I thought about trying to do a similar trip alone or with a friend, and there's no way we would've had as smooth or as enjoyable of an experience had we not had such a fantastic trip leader to handle the logistics. They find the coolest opportunities for you that you would never have thought existed (or, would never have thought to do or wouldn't have found the right people to connect with to do it), and make sure that you're safe and supported while allowing you to explore. In other words, the support is there, but if you want to be more independent then those opportunities do arise during free time on weekends or afternoons. We would often have an activity or two planned (like Thai cooking lessons or yoga) but would then be given time to just go explore. I remember one evening we spent hours in the marketplace in Chiang Mai, watching the people who'd taught us Muay Thai hours before fighting in the ring. We then shopped, found a really cool jazz platform, and stopped at a western tea shop before returning to the guesthouse. The accommodations, by the way, are amazing.

How can this program be improved?

I just recommend learning which shots to get before you go. They mention vaccinations very briefly in the information they send you (trust me, I read it cover to cover) but it's actually important to make sure you're covered against certain diseases. No one had a problem on my trip (no one contracted a disease that I know of), but when they learned the first day that I hadn't gotten a certain vaccination I had to spend some time in a Thai hospital getting the shot while everyone else toured a Wat. The hospital was efficient and well run and not expensive at all ($40 for my shot), though.

Yes, I recommend
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A beautiful way to spend a summer

I had wanted to go to Thailand for years and when I was finally given the opportunity, I wanted to explore the depth of the country in an environment that was safer than traveling alone, and gave me the benefits of a group. This program met all of my expectations and surpassed them. Each day is filled with group activities and the chance to explore individually, so you can make friends but also give yourself a chance to grow outside of the group. Our leader Rebecca was amazing, she was always fun and filled with excitement about our tour, and inspired me to keep traveling. I cannot believe we spent an entire month over there, we did so much. Each day was amazing, and I constantly reference my time with Pacific Discovery when people ask how my journey abroad was. This program is perfect for those who wish to grow and explore, for it gives you all the opportunities to do so, while making friends, and learning in depth about a new culture. I cannot give a higher recommendation.

Yes, I recommend
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Best Summer Ever!

This experience was quite possibly one of the best decisions I have made yet! The support of PD from registration to closing was extremely helpful and friendly. There's so much I could say about this experience but I'll highlight the most important things I got out of the trip. The program gave you just enough independence and free time mixed with structured time. It was the perfect way to dip my foot into experiential learning through traveling. I was treated as an adult and gained the confidence to navigate foreign places independently which has set me up for a new and exciting future! I can't stress how amazing this program is enough!

Yes, I recommend
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Thailand Adventure

The support and administration before the trip was great to have as it eased a lot of stress of going on a month long trip on your own for the first time. They provided you with all the information you would need for planning your trip, from scheduling your flights to knowing what to pack. The support from the program leader during the the trip was also an amazing asset to have as it allowed you the freedom to just relax and enjoy yourself without feeling like you were missing out on something or being completely and utterly lost on foreign soil.

Traveling with Pacific Discovery never felt rushed or frenetic, but also never felt boring or like time was being wasted. There was a great mix of activities from caving and rock climbing, snorkeling and kayaking, Muay Thai and Thai cooking lessons, meditation retreats and nature walks, and the absolutely amazing week spent at The Elephant Nature Park. There was also enough free time to explore parts of Thailand on your own or with the small group of individuals you quickly become friends with on the trip.

The highlight of the trip for myself had to be the week we spent volunteering at The Elephant Nature Park. If I had not traveled with Pacific Discovery, there would be a good chance that I would not have known about this place or the plight of the elephants in Thailand. In fact, I could see myself having fallen into the tourist trap and chosen to support companies that treated their elephants cruelly. Pacific Discovery provides such insight into Thailand that many tourists may not understand or see if they were planning their own trips. Absolutely amazing experience that I would go back for in a heartbeat.

For individuals who have never experienced backpacking on their own, or have limited experience, Pacific Discovery is a great program to travel with that allows you to experience situations possibly outside your comfort zone in safety while also providing you with an opportunity to meet new people, and make new friends, with similar interests from around the world!

How can this program be improved?

Personally, I feel like the experiences were absolutely amazing and will be what I'll remember the most from the trip. However, I do feel as if we didn't get as much history or educational input as I initially thought we would into the history of Thailand, etc. Not that I'm complaining because we were on vacation. Just thought there would be more "tour guide" like insight.

Yes, I recommend
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An incredible experience

Going to Thailand with Pacific Discovery is one of the best decisions I have ever made. There was so much support available, before, during and after the trip, something I think we all really appreciated. I got to experience so many new things with P.D: caving, going to a meditation retreat, exploring the streets of Bangkok and Chiang Mai - I even got a tattoo out there! We went to some amazing places, ate so much delicious food and met some lovely people. Our accommodation was fantastic, too - my favourites were staying in the treehouses in the national park, and at Railae Beach - places that I never could have found or afforded if I hadn't gone with Pacific Discovery.
While the first few days were slightly difficult - as I tend to be quite shy at first and I was the only one from the UK - we all soon settled in and got to know each other really well. We had different roommates in each accommodation which helped break the ice so well with everyone.
My ultimate highlight, without a doubt, would be staying in the Elephant Nature Park. A truly incredible place, I learnt so much, both about elephant conservation and myself. Met so many inspiring people (and elephants) and had some of the best food of the whole trip.
Overall, an excellent way to spend the summer and introduce myself to Thailand. Would recommend Pacific Discovery to anyone.

Yes, I recommend
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One of the best decisions I've made

This trip was amazing; I met so many incredible and fun people, spent a week at an Elephant Sanctuary, took an authentic cooking class, went on a rock-climbing weekend trip, explored many temples, and we all spent the last week of the trip at a couple gorgeous beaches. The other participants in the program were awesome and very friendly, and our trip leader, Rebecca, was so welcoming and helpful. I highly recommend this trip!!

Yes, I recommend
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Adventure of a Lifetime

I have nothing but amazing things to say about my Thailand experience and Pacific Discovery as a company. Going into the trip I had no idea what to expect. I loved that 15ish people that lived completely different lives all met up in Bangkok and by the end we were great friends and knew so much about one another. There were so many neat experiences that I know I would never have done without this program such as: work on an elephant reserve, go caving, go on a meditation retreat, and live with villagers. I learned how to go with the flow and be okay with not being clean all the time. The food was amazing and the street shopping is a blast since there were so many neat artifacts and it was so cheap! Although most of out time was planned, I enjoyed our free time and our leader, Rebecca, would help make whatever we wanted to do possible. Overall the trip far outweighed my expectations and I would recommend it to anyone!

How can this program be improved?

Honestly, I think that the program followed the culture of Thailand...ya it was a bit hectic sometimes and things didn't always go to plan but that is the lifestyle and I wanted to get the cultural experience so there is nothing I would have changed.

Yes, I recommend
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Spectacular Introduction to Travel

I can say immediately that participating in this trip fundamentally changed the direction that my life has taken since. Prior to June 2013, when I took this trip, I lived a life that was very insular to the United States and places very similar - I had, up to that point, visited Canada and Israel.

This trip was the first time I had gone somewhere that was really fundamentally different than my own home, and I can't imagine a better way to have done it. The concept of traveling is very romantic, but when you pass through customs in a place where you don't speak the language or know anything about where you're headed, it's very comforting to have a spectacular trip leader waiting there for you.

Because of this trip and Ele's guidance during my month in Thailand, I have had full confidence in all the trips I've taken since to move from place to place and make friends independently, even across language and political barriers.

As someone who very much expected to have an office job before going on PD Thailand, I am now lined up to teach English for a year in South Korea, then hopefully work on an sustainable, organic farmstead in Hawai'i. Thanks to Pacific Discovery for making all that possible.

Yes, I recommend
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Such a fun trip!!! Traveled through Thailand. Learnt so much about the culture and how to travel alone!! Spent some time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Railay, Khao Suk National park. Volunteered with the Elephants, went skuba diving, visited night markets, made lots of awesome friends!

Yes, I recommend

About Pacific Discovery

Pacific Discovery gap year, semester and summer programs are experiential education programs, suitable for high school graduates, university students and recent graduates, developed with a focus on six core components: educational travel, service...