Thailand: From Ancient Temples to Bangkok

Video and Photos

The village temple we visited to give merit
The village temple we visited to give merit
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture

About

Your Experiment begins in Chiang Mai, home to hundreds of ancient temples. Visit famous sites, explore street markets, and discover Buddhist temples. A cooking instructor will help you shop for ingredients at a local market, then teach you how to cook Thai dishes. Stay overnight at a Buddhist temple and learn about the art of meditation. Introductory Thai language lessons will prepare you to communicate during your homestays.

Live with a family in a lowland northern village in Chiang Mai province, then with a family in a hill tribe in Chiang Rai province. Work on a community service project, such as teaching English to young children or assisting with reforestation work.

Enjoy the tropical valleys and highlands as you embark on outdoor activities such as trekking, zip lining, and visiting an elephant park. You will visit Hua Hin to explore the breathtaking beaches. Your Thailand exploration ends in Bangkok, where you will visit key sites.

Highlights
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Wildlife
  • Community Service
  • Language
  • Homestay

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 14 reviews
  • Growth 9.5
  • Support 8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 14 of 14
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Dawson
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlight of my life so far!

This program is such an immersive and amazing experience! I would recommend this program to anyone looking to culturally immersed, build connections and communication skills, and/or looking for a great time. Every day is packed with something new. There are so many interesting and exciting things about this trip. My homestay experience was extremely eye-opening. I have learned how to be more accepting and open to new people and new experiences. A family who has never met me accepted me in their home, fed me, trusted me, and boosted me up to help me grow as an individual. My homestay mother even reminded me of my own mother. Before I knew it, I was calling her mom in Thai as familiarly as I would my own mom. It felt a little weird at first. Then I realized that you don’t have to be related by blood to have a “family connection.” After all, she looked after me like her own son--- so why not? Every day I woke up with breakfast, smiling faces, and knowing that each day would be different from the last. The positivity that each experience gave me is difficult to fully describe. Even though we were foreign and could barely speak their language, they were so warm and welcoming.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate a scorpion on this trip! I'll remember that forever. There is such a wide range of new and interesting experiences.
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Isaac
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Time To Never Be Forgotten

At first, Thailand was not one of my first trip choices. Just like a lot of people, I've wanted to go to all the big places like France, Italy, and Spain. I've always heard people talk about how great those places was and I was starting to base my choice off of other people's experiences, but I have no regrets. In my opinion, Thailand was better than any other trip could have been. Starting off, our trip didn't go as planned. We were originally supposed to fly out of San Francisco to Taipei on July 1st but because the airline (EVA Air) was experiencing a worker strike, we had to stay at a hotel in San Francisco and fly out the next day. While it may have been a slight inconvenience, this allowed me to meet all of my fellow experimenters. Before our trip even started, we had created a group chat so it was a bit easier to loosen up around each other, and by the time we arrived in Thailand, we all seemed to have been well-acquainted. For our first few days, we stayed in a hotel in Chiang Mai. While we were in Chiang Mai, we took "survival Thai" lessons at Chiang Mai University. That was pretty cool because we got to work with teachers from the university, as well as sharpen up our Thai skills. Obviously, we were in no way fluent. We had just been taught the bare essentials, like foods, how to ask for directions, and my favorite: how to ask for a discount. Later on, I'd say about a week in, we began going out to the night markets. These markets are gigantic! They take up about at least a couple blocks and it's all bustling with activity. You could buy snacks, meals, clothes, gifts, pretty much anything you could think of. I remember I would always try to bargain and most times it'd work. All you need is a smile! Overall, this trip has given me the chance to dip into a whole new world. A lot of times I was given the independence and freedom to try things I wanted to try, and this has fostered my curiosity and desire to continue exploring the world, one country at a time.

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Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing month abroad!

I had such a wonderful time abroad in Thailand. I was able to experience so much culture, whether it be through the food, walking through the street markets, or living with 3 different homestay families. The group I traveled with was so kind and supportive, and we still keep in contact to this day. The trip was filled with fun experiences such as an elephant sanctuary, many temples, and the beautiful beach in Hua Hin. There was something new to experience everyday. Staying with my homestay allowed for me to create bonds with so many people, even without a common language. It also allowed me to practice speaking Thai, even though it may not have been a lot, it was more than I began with. I talk with my homestay mother every day and I am so thankful that I got to met her. I would definitely recommend this trip to high school students!

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Caroline
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Like Nothing You'll Ever Experience

This trip is different than a regular vacation to Thailand because of the homestays. You are able to stay in two different villages that have completely different economies and practices within the Thai culture. The complete immersion allows you to view the many different aspects of Thai life and how in varies based on location and immediate resources, such as food and instruments. I am so grateful I was able to participate in the Experiment because I met amazing people and got to live not only as a tourist, but as a local. Over the trip, I developed a love for Thailand's people and customs, from the malls to the rice fields, I will never forget this month. I highly recommend going on this trip because you will never get an opportunity like this again in your life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
When you go to your homestays, make sure you keep an open mind. The families are super nice but not being able to communicate with them can cause some anxiety, but you need to remember not to let that interfere with your relationships.
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Evelynn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Exeperience

When I first found out about the Experiment in International Living, I was surprised I didn't hear about it from my school or family but from a friend miles way for another program I attended in D.C. last summer.She told me about a trip she took to Morocco through her school, all the lifelong bonds she developed, and the memories she made along the way, and I just knew I had to find out what this program was all about. Originally, I was a little wary to apply because everyone I talked to in my community said they've never heard of EIL before. When I researched, I found a plethora of programs catered towards high school students my age who seemed to be making the most of their time abroad. When I received my acceptance for the Thailand program I was extremely overjoyed. I never left the country before, but when the day for departure arrived, I felt confident for the journey ahead. While in Thailand, I met some of the most amazing people. My host family was phenomenal! The people were so welcoming and warm. The food was exceptional, street markets so lively, the history of Chiang Mai and Bangkok were so rich, and the moments I shared with those around me were unforgettable. If I could do rewind time, I would do it all over again. But I think the greatest gift from this experience was this newfound desire to become a world traveler. There were ups and downs with the group and with the itinerary, but overall, I wouldn't have traded my moment in Thailand for anything.

What would you improve about this program?
I would improve the structure of the itinerary. There were times when we couldn't participate in activities centered around Thai culture because EIL didn't approve of them beforehand. There could also be a greater emphasis on the international living part than the tourism part. Having a more detailed list of what to bring on the trip could also help because I brought a few items that I did not need the whole trip, and I ended up having to get rid of some things (pro-tip: buy things in Thailand).
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Kate
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Smiling In The Land Of Smiles: Thailand

My experience was unique because it isn't what a standard summer vacation to Thailand would be like. You are connected with a group of strangers for a week that they'll eventually become your second family. One will be emotionally attached to your homestays and the land of Thailand itself. There is no other program that would be as amazing and interactive as this. Not only will you be experiencing the beauty of Thailand you will also experience the beauty of being with the locals and their culture. Their level of respect was so amazing that their practices were important life lessons and it taught me how to live more in the present rather than the past or the future. Coincidentally I also had my birthday during the trip. The group leaders did such a wonderful thing and gave me a birthday party at a karaoke bar. Although this wasn't in the itinerary their effort to take some time for me to celebrate showed that we were all bonding already. My birthday was in the first week of our trip. So it was reassuring that we were already bonding quite beautifully. Eventually, we have become inseparable and our hearts have just been connected to Thailand.

What was your funniest moment?
My funniest moment of the trip was our road trip from our second homestay, north of Chiang Mai. We were playing music out loud and we started singing and laughing because we connected through music. It was such a significant bonding moment for me because later on, we all became closer as a family.
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Grace
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great time!

Going to Thailand with the Experiment was the experience of a lifetime. Being that I had never been out of the country prior to traveling with the Experiment, I was very nervous to go abroad. However, the Experiment provided me with the support and care I needed to have the time of life. The Experiment allowed me to experience a culture that I would not have gotten to experience otherwise. One of the most special aspects of the Experiment experience was the homestay. I got to be fully immersed in Thai culture, and I became very close to the Prao District community.

What would you improve about this program?
This program can be improved by having a clearer schedule. The program would be better if there was a steady schedule from the start to the end of the program, one that the Experimenters have as well.
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Torie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Program that Changed my Life

Being given the opportunity to go on this trip to Thailand was the most life changing thing I have ever experienced. The things I learned and the people I met are memories I will hold onto forever. My leaders were also amazing and did everything they could to have the best time possible. From visiting the grand Palace to going to the meditation retreat to zip lining and visiting an elephant reserve I gained so much knowledge about Thailand and everything it has to offer. I would recommend this trip to anyone. The memories and photos I have are something I will share with people forever.

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Jeffrey
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Experiment - Thailand

It was really interesting to see for myself how countries have different governments from ours, and how people are affected by the customs surrounding politics and speech. Unlike in the states, in Thailand people don't have freedom of speech. In Thailand, natives and foreigners alike are not allowed to speak negatively about the crown or what he decides to implement as law. People can be incarcerated for up to 15 years for even being perceived as being disrespectful. It's essentially treason. What was especially interesting was that we visited Thailand in a period of "mourning" because their king has recently passed. His son, the king-to-be, is not as well-respected as his father was, so it was intriguing to hear in on why people are not as appreciative of him.

What would you improve about this program?
We could have leaders that are more understanding of the idea that while you're in a new country things are pretty unpredictable, so it is not always the fault of the in-country leader if things don't work out.
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Willa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Thailand Experience

This trip has been a mind opening, life changing experience. Not only did I meet incredible people that made the trip the best month of my life, but I also learned how to understand other cultures in a new way with more respect towards everyone.

Thailand is a very religious country so with that there are many fine lines between being a tourist and being rude. The first week we got there we learned all of the do's and don'ts of Thailand. Some of them were what I was expecting like being conservative in temples and taking your shoes off when entering but there were some rules that I took as a surprise and it took me a while to adjust like: no waving, when you see someone you put your hands in a pray sign and bow your head. We also couldn't point to anything with our feet which was surprisingly hard to adjust my manners to. These little rules didn't seem like much to me in the beginning but as the trip continued and once we began to live with the homestay families we learned that it was crucial to respect these rules. Not only was I overly aware of my actions with Thai people, i was also more aware of what I said in the group of Eil because sometimes you don't realize that something you say someone else may take offense to.

During my incredible week homestay experience I was able to share a home with a wonderful, kind, family with two twin daughters Ing and Ang. I've never had any sisters in my mile so all of the sudden I had two little sisters with never ending energy spreading their love everywhere they went. It almost felt as if I had a shadow all week which I was not used to and took a few days to adjust. Everywhere I went they were there. It was really nice to know they were always going to be there but I have never had younger siblings before so at first I felt a little weird of a connection between us. But in time this connection became so real whether we were biking around the village or playing with their english coloring books I always had fun and felt as if it was just a great learning experience for all of us.

My host mother and I had a beautiful connection because even though we couldn't verbally communicate we were able to communicate in hand gestures and the little words I had learned in Thai, but for the most part it was smiles. Honestly smiles get you everywhere in Thailand and I really think it is a universal sign of kind and happiness no matter the language you speak. Just an example of this non conversational communication was when my host mother found out I liked mangos. She observed me eating and noticed I really liked mangos, so I never went a meal without mangos after that.

Once I return to my home I am going to be more socially aware of my surroundings and just think before speaking which is a very powerful act to be able to do. Thailand has opened my perspective and has really inspired me to travel and explore the world.

There were so many great life lessons I learned throughout this month in Thailand and I hope I can't take back with me those new understandings into my daily life back home.

What would you improve about this program?
To improve this program I would just like a more structured second homestay experience at the Koran village because I felt as if a lot of our day we didn't do much and weren't given much guidance.
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Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Having little shadows for a week!

During my home stay, I had two little sisters. One was seven and the other was three. They both were the cutest little things in the entire world. I've always wanted Sisters, and for a week I got two all to my self. They both were really shy at first, but very quickly they started to get attached to me. We would play jump rope, bike, and play with toys together. They followed me around everywhere I went. I loved having them around me. They filled my day with laughter and smiles, i felt apart of the family. I became very attached to them, and leaving them so was hard on me. My two sisters taught me that even though we couldn't communicate through language, it didn't hinder the relationship that I grew with them. They showed me the power of being carefree and to just enjoy the day.

What would you improve about this program?
This program can be improved by being more set on what is going to happen on the itinerary. Some days I was unsure on what we were going to do. I didn't want any days wasted when I was in another country.
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alexandra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

go to thailand!!

I went to Thailand expecting to be happy with my summer, but came out with so much more than happiness. I experienced a new way of thinking about life, and overall a new world. This trip was definitely an eye opening experience. I learned a lot about how I deal with new situations and new environments and I think that is going to follow me around when I visit new places. I definitely recommend this program for anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone, its a great country to study abroad to. I met amazing people and tried new foods and I will always cherish my time in Thailand.

What would you improve about this program?
follow the itinerary
Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

The Experiment in International Living gives high school students a unique opportunity to become immersed in another culture while building friendships with interesting, new people and learning things that aren't typically learned in schools. I spent 5 weeks in Thailand creating memories with my group members who I still talk with every day (five months later). With scavenger hunts, community service projects, and lots of exploring cities, villages and breathtaking temples, we were kept busy, but we still had plenty of free time to bond over bowl of questions and throw our own spontaneous dance parties in our hostel. In addition to the incredible friends I made over the summer, I will never forget the kids I taught and played futbol and frisbee with in the villages and the generosity and welcoming, embracing hearts of my host family. It's beautiful how relationships can be built despite culture differences and a language barrier. This truly was an amazing and unforgettable experience, and I definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to try something new, throw themselves into a new culture, learn tidbits of a new language and religion all while having a whole lot of fun.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing, the worst part was having to say goodbye.
Default avatar
Melissa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience on the Thailand Trip

If you're reading this and wondering if the trip is worth the effort, I can tell you right now that it is. The first day feels so long ago but I remember it clearly. Within a matter of coming off the plane, I became close with my travel mates. They were all wonderful. My guides were so helpful and experienced, all three of them.
My first day in the home stay at Baan Mae Bon, I became a part of a family within a matter of hours. I only had parents, but my host mother's extended family (her sister and mother) made me feel accepted. Teaching the kids at the local villages was a humbling experience that gave me joy at watching these kids have so much fun without the amenities we take for granted here in the States.
If you're a parent worried about your child being safe, I assure you that there's no need to worry. The guides are more than capable to take care of them, and the settings (i.e. the hostel, host villages, guest houses) are surrounded by people who are accustomed to tourists, so the environment is friendly with a hint of westernization.
I hope you consider taking the trip to Thailand. It is life changing.

What would you improve about this program?
I was hoping for a less tourist-like setting. I wanted to be able to fully immerse myself in the traditional culture, but I couldn't do that as often as I would have liked.

Location

Location:
Thailand
Currency:
Thai Baht
Weather:
Jan-Mar
95 F / 57 F
Apr-Jun
91 F / 72 F
Jul-Sep
90 F / 73 F
Oct-Dec
88 F / 59 F
Airports:
Suvarnabhumi Airport
( BKK )
Don Mueang Airport
( DNK )
Phuket Airport
( HKT )

Thailand has become the most tourist visited country in Southeast Asia. This country provides dense jungles, beautiful beaches, world-class shopping, and stunning architecture. No matter your budget, there is something for you to take part in in Thailand.

About The Experiment in International Living

The Experiment in International Living is the most experienced provider of summer abroad programs for high school students. For more than 85 years, our immersive programs have allowed participants to explore the world in an authentic and impactful...