• Thailand
    • Chiang Mai
2 - 4 weeks
Need-based funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Direct Enrollment
Hotel Lodge
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Oct 27, 2023
Jun 24, 2019
33 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Explore the beautiful temples, jungles and markets of northern Thailand while volunteering abroad and making a difference where it matters most: split your time between a primary school and an elephant sanctuary. Dive deep into complex issues regarding captive elephant welfare and the Thai education system and get hands-on experience in both fields. Enjoy local foods, explore incredible temples and learn more about Thai culture and yourself through leadership seminars, local guest speakers and hands-on workshops.

Service Hours: 30
Program Theme: Youth & Education / Animal & Wildlife Conservation

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Visit the world famous night market full of mind-blowing foods and colorful handicrafts
  • Go on a jungle nature hike and experience authentic Thailand
  • Cook--and eat!--tasty Thai cuisine
  • Climb the ornate steps Doi Suthep temple
  • Live among the elephants at a sanctuary

Program Reviews

4.97 Rating
based on 30 reviews
  • 5 rating 96.67%
  • 4 rating 3.33%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.85
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.85
  • Housing 4.95
  • Safety 5
  • Program Selection 5
  • Pre-departure Help 4.7
  • In-program Support 5
  • Impact on Student 5
  • Value 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 30 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing trip

I loved GLA program and I loved Thailand. I went two years ago and on another program now because I’m not in high school anymore and I wish GLA wasn’t only to high schoolers because it was the best two weeks. They had a schedule and followed it, you were never bored although there was designated down time to relax and chat. It is expensive yes, but 100% worth it for what it provides. I liked how it was both touristy but we did volunteering like it wasn’t just one or another. If you went on this trip, you will be able to explore Thailand. They make sure you can. With volunteering, it was fun and educating and hard but worth the trouble. I made friends for life that I still speak to today, two years later. I wish I did the three weeks but I got so much out even just two weeks.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The fruits they have in Thailand, they were spikey on the outside and looked like a clear egg.
114 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing time!

Hi all! I am a Global Leadership Adventures Alumni and I had an amazing time in Peru, Ghana and Thailand with GLA! I really recommend GLA! The housing experience was great! GLA Peru rented out a hotel in Cusco, for both the 2 week and the 3 week groups. In Ghana we all stayed in a house together and in Thailand we also had a hotel! I felt very safe there! I had never been to Peru, Ghana or Thailand, so I felt that by being there I grew, a lot! I understood much of their culture and what their lifestyles are like. The program staff were very supportive! I felt that I was able to talk to them about whatever I needed, or if I was frustrated with other students! Overall I recommend GLA to all High School age students

116 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

A Life Changing Experience

Global Leadership Adventures does the best high school volunteer trips hands down. From their staff to their housing everything is so well done! I got to experience life on the other side of the world and come home to apply what I learned into my daily routine. I participated in the Cultural Kaleidoscope program that worked in Thai classrooms to teach English. Even though there was a language barrier I felt empowered by my students and could see the impact I had made. Away from service work, I got the opportunity to be immersed in local culture-my favorite part of Global Leadership Adventures. We got to learn about local history, Buddhist religion, and the poverty issues Thailand faces. I can also now say I have ridden an elephant! How cool is that?!? If you are looking for a trip of a lifetime, a trip to Chiang Mai might just be the one for you!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have loved to dive deeper into the culture and the issues the country faces. This is only because it is my favorite part of travel.
125 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

elephant conservation

I went on Global Leadership Adventures elephant conservation program this past summer and it was an amazing experience. first let's talk about the food because it was amazing, both the food we ate at home base and the restaurants we were taken to had amazing food. I learned so much on this trip, learning the truth behind elephant tourism in thailand was eye opening and it is an issue that need to be addressed by more people. The community service is demanding and consists of a lot of hiking but it was a rewarding experience at the end of the day, and the mentors and other students make it very fun. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who is interested in doing service centered around these amazing animals and/or looking for an unforgettable experience.

What would you improve about this program?
i think this program is already wonderful so i'm having difficulty thinking of ways it can be improved
128 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Cultural Kaleidoscope

This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to participate in one of Global Leadership Adventures' (GLA) Thailand service trips! I went for two weeks to Chiang Man, in northern Thailand, and created lesson plans and later executed them to teach English in public primary schools. Being able to see thoughts and plans become a reality, while also helping expose children to a new language helped create a strong bond and an experience that can only be understood by doing it. There's a lot of service but it's balanced with fun and cultural immersion. We visit temples and markets, meets monks, eat delicious new food, and interact with people, and animals, that you've never met before! The program directors do a great job of prioritizing the service but making it fun also. Every part of the experience has helped me grow, from fundraising to traveling internationally alone to immersing myself across the world. I hope everyone who wants to can have this adventure!

What would you improve about this program?
The only improvement I could see would be to have the directors foster the relationships of the participants a little bit more. Maybe in things like team building excerises.
129 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent trip!

My son had an amazing experience with GLA. The support was wonderful, the travel was easy, and the group was a perfect size for getting to know each other in a real way. Nice mix of fun and service. Highly recommend. The flagship program gave them an opportunity to interact with kids and teach in the elementary school, pour a sidewalk at a shelter, and spend time with monks at the temples. I would recommend booking travel with the suggested travel partner, and GLA posts a roster of people going and where they are coming from. The kids met at the hub airport (New York or LA) and went to Hong Kong and then Chang Mai. Well run program! The group still keeps in touch now and is planning to get together over the holidays.

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

Gla Thailand

By far the greatest experience of my life! Global leadership Adventures made it so easy and enjoyable to go overseas and help serve a community. They immersed us in the culture and they weren’t afraid to push us to try new things. If you can, it’s a must go! It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and you’ll make great friends along the way! The only problem we experienced was sickness. A few people got sick, but it was nothing that the doctors and staff couldn’t handle! No one let that stop the amazing time we had on our trip

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

Parent Point of View

My daughter went on the Thailand Cultural Kaleidoscope trip this summer through Global Leadership Adventures. I have never seen her so happy upon her return. When she proposed this trip to me, I was very nervous because she would be in a new country without me or anyone she knew. However, I was reading the description of the trip and saw how much service she would be doing and eventually let her go. We spoke to each other every night and she kept telling me how amazing the trip was and that I shouldn’t worry because of how safe it was. They were very strict and secure at all times so there was nothing to worry about. To any parent skeptical of letting their child go away, you should know that my daughter did not feel unsafe at all on the trip and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. She could not stop talking about her experience when she came back, and people are still telling her how amazing it is that she was able to volunteer abroad!

113 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

It's really going to vary trip to trip, but for my Thailand trip we did service nearly every day, except for when we first arrived. You usually start early in the morning and will have a break for lunch. Some days end at lunch time and some days you will have a lunch break and keep working. For some programs they try and set it up so your recreational adventure activities are on the weekends, but...