Multiple Locations +4
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Thailand
  • Laos
4 - 26 weeks
Program Tags
Adventure Travel Arts College Credit Conservation Cultural Immersion Hands-On Learning Language Immersion Music Post-High School Religious Social Justice Study Abroad Volunteer Abroad Wilderness +4

Program Details

Boating Remote Exploring Trekking
Fall Spring
Boat Guesthouse Host Family Lodge Tent
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
Land cost for the Mekong Semester is $16,950 for three months. Financial aid is available.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Equipment Meals Park Fees Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Some Equipment Travel Insurance Visa
Mar 08, 2023
Jan 26, 2017
14 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Travel to China remains effectively closed to foreign travelers. We hope the borders will open, but if they do not, we plan to run the Mekong program in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.

Explore the largest river basin in Southeast Asia as you travel from Southern China to Laos, Cambodia, then Thailand. The Mekong Semester examines issues of transboundary resource management, explores diverse spiritual belief systems, and allows students to participate in meaningful learning service initiatives, driven by the communities they visit.

During the program students will experience daily life in Tibetan, Lao, Thai and Cambodian homestays. Trek through the Himalayas down to the tropics all while exploring exploring hot springs, glaciers and waterfalls along the way. Learn about the history of the region by meeting with community to understand the reality of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, The Secret War and Pol Pot’s Regime.

Financial aid and college credit is available.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Explore the diverse range of spiritual beliefs and religions within the Mekong catchment including: Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Animism, Catholicism and Islam.
  • Meet with community members to learn about the reality of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, The Secret War and Pol Pot’s Regime.
  • Witness the negative impacts of large-scale hydro-power dam developments ecological systems.
  • Experience rural village life in a Tibetan, Lao, Thai and Cambodia homestays participating in the daily rhythms of each place.
  • Trek in arid Himalayas and humid wet tropics exploring hot springs, glaciers and waterfalls.


Where There Be Dragons Financial Aid & 529 Funds

Where There Be Dragons offers need-based financial aid to students that demonstrate reasonable financial need and are excited to engage with communities around the world.

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 2 reviews
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  • Growth 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


I went on the Mekong Semester in the spring, almost a full year ago, and I still am unpacking how it has affected me as a person. I met incredible people, saw fantastic landscapes, ate the best food in my life, and fell in love with everywhere I went. My curiosity in Buddhism has only deepened, as has my desire to learn languages-- I'm now studying Chinese in college because of this trip, and I'm hoping to learn Lao and Cambodian someday. I feel more confident and prepared in college, and I think that I understand myself to a much deeper degree now. The instructors are what made my experience, as they are all so knowledgeable and passionate! I miss the temples and marketplaces I wandered through, and I cannot imagine what I would be like without Dragons.

53 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome Trip!!!

I went on the Mekong trip last year for the first part of my gap year, and it was an incredible experience. I learned so much about regional culture, food, language, and politics during my time traveling through China, Laos, and Cambodia and developed frienships on the trip that have continued to this day, almost a year later. I will always remember my WTBD trip as one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

46 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers