Summer High School Programs in Thailand with Rustic Pathways

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About

Join Rustic Pathways in Thailand, where we’ve been running cultural immersion and service adventures for over 15 years. Thailand boasts a wide variety of programs ranging from one to three weeks long. Students can choose one program or easily connect programs across the country and Southeast Asia. Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in rural village life, learn about elephant conservation, or have an island hopping adventure, you’re bound to find an ideal experience in Thailand.

“When you go and you stay in a small village and learn how people live, it stays with you. You don’t take anything for granted anymore and you’ll never see things the same.”
--Brian Haggerty, Thailand Country Director

Questions & Answers

This trip is very safe! Base houses are owned by RP, so it's is completely RP-Staffed. Trips that are not in base houses are still very safe and there will always be RP staff with you. I have never felt unsafe on any of my Rustic Trips.

Reviews

97%
based on 62 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 8
  • Value 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 62
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10/10

Children's Home and Elephant Sanctuary

This trip was amazing and impacted me in ways I didn't expect. It was the perfect combination of learning, service, sight seeing, and activities. It was a great experience to be able to connect with children who don't speak your language, while also working to improve the lives of elephants. Our group recognized that the Sappraiwan Elephant Sanctuary did not provide the best care for elephants, so we changed our itinerary in order to fix that. It was cool to be able to do what we wanted by working on a project we all cared about. If you have the opportunity to go on this trip, I really suggest doing it because it changed my life.

How can this program be improved?
The leaders should be more equipped with the right medication to treat people who get sick.
Yes, I recommend
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Josephine
10/10

Ricefields, Monks, and Smiling Children

I want to start by saying that Rustic Pathways has truly impacted and changed my life forever. I've traveled to both Fiji (I did the Sun, Sand, and International Service program) and Thailand (Ricefields, Monks, and Smiling Children) which were eye opening experiences for me where my perspective of the world completely changed. I highly recommend traveling with Rustic Pathways.
For my program in Thailand, I stayed at the base house in Udon Thani and it was unbelievable. It was absolutely beautiful, always clean, and I felt perfectly safe. Both in the mornings and afternoons, we had the option of 3-4 service projects, usually construction in the morning and a variety in the afternoon. I loved them all! The two that stood out to me the most were Welcome Homes and Teaching and Tutoring.
For the project of Welcome Homes, we built a house for a woman whose home had been completely destroyed by termites and was currently living in quite a small shack. I loved this project because I could actually see the impact I was making in the community. I got to see the improvements we were making on the house as well as see the expression on the woman's face as we were doing it. As I was talking to her, I could tell that she was truly grateful for what we were doing.
For the project of Teaching and Tutoring, we traveled to a local school and I had the opportunity to teach 3rd graders flowers in English. They were absolutely adorable! Although this was very challenging because the kids barely spoke English, I noticed how passionate they are for learning and how grateful they are for the opportunity to go to school.
I highly recommend this trip if you are looking to break out of your comfort zone, immerse yourself in a new culture, and experience incredible opportunities.

How can this program be improved?
More time with the Thai children!
Yes, I recommend
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Brooke
10/10

Mother of a Rustic Globetrotter

My daughter went on the Wonders and Riches of SE Asia trip in July 2017. In 2016, she went with Rustic Pathways to Fiji. I have been very impressed with Rustic Pathways - the education they provide, their safety-mindedness, the amazing experiences they line up for the kids.

My stomach was in knots when I dropped my daughter at the airport to fly to Fiji trusting others' opinions of Rustic Pathways ... she knew no one on the trip ... it was scary! As it turns out, her friends were right: the trip was an experience of a lifetime and she made a forever friend who lives not too far from us here in the United States. Seeing the villages and meeting the people there gave my daughter a different perspective and I was thrilled she wanted to immediately sign up for another Rustic trip.

The Asia trip was just incredible - breakfast with monks, cruises, a visit to an alligator farm. She sent me a photo of her about to eat a fried scorpion on a stick and another with a giant (live) snake. It's a real leap of faith for parents to allow kids to roam the globe, but I do think the kids' minds are expanded - and they appreciate not everyone has the same life experiences we have here in the United States. Parents of Rustic travelers can expect to see an increase in independence, self-reliance and self-confidence in their young world citizens.

Yes, I recommend
girl in colorful shirt standing in dark
Sydney
10/10

Come with Nothing, Go Home Rich

This trip was everything I could have asked for, but it became even more. Within those three weeks, my mindset on life evolved and I learned values I had never considered. I went with the intention to do community service to better the lives of others, and through this experience I bettered my own. I could go on to tell you my favorite memory, but what is more important is what your future memories can and will consist of: never ending laughter and new friends made, stimulation of your mind and what it means to be who you are, times of fear and even sadness, the growth from low moments, and my favorite, the visible change in your mind and you as a human being from the start of the trip to its finish, because it will happen. Now, all of these may be quite broad, but that's only because I don't want to tell you what I've learned, I want you to experience them yourself. The take away from this rant, quite simply is, go on this trip, and brace yourself for the time of your life! it will change you, and all for the better.

How can this program be improved?
Less down time!
Yes, I recommend
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Hannah
9/10

Children's Home and Elephant Sanctuary

This trip has completely changed me, and I am so happy that it did. Before this trip I was so ungrateful for my education and would most often than not, dread going to school. Seeing how limited the Thai people were to education changed my beliefs forever. When I first arrived the Kapuang School, my heart filled with love when I saw all of the students for the first time. All of the students had the biggest smile on their faces and you could see how much determination they had to learn. This experience of teaching at this school actually made me realize that I wanted to be a teacher. Making education available to everyone is now one of my main priorities because it is so important to having a good life. On another note, waking up at the Children's Home every single day put a smile on my face. Whether it was playing kane ball with the locals or singing and playing the guitar with the leaders, I had a smile on my face the whole entire time. I don't think I have ever been that happy. Another component that made my trip much better was being able to disconnect from my phone. I am usually always attached to my phone, and not having to worry about it for 3 weeks made me a much more relaxed person. I recommend everyone to turn off their phones on any Rustic trip, because it betters your experience. I made so many strong friendships on this trip with all of the leaders and I am so grateful and happy to have been able to meet all of the people tha I met. Although when arriving to the Elephant Sanctuary I was very shocked, I still had an amazing experience. A 4-star hotel was not what I was expecting but it was nice to have an actual shower! If you are looking for a more "rustic" trip (as in roughing it, or homestays) I would not recommend the elephant sanctuary for you. But if you are a first time traveler, it may be very comforting!

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I would change is banning the usage of phones because they are a distraction.
Yes, I recommend
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Sandra
10/10

Children's Home

This was a completely new experience for me as it was my first trip traveling by myself. It started off organized once I got to the airport since I could see everyone in their Rustic t-shirts. Like most people, I was nervous to go because I did not know what to expect. However, my trip started out well before I even got to Thailand because I made long lasting friends at the airport. Once we got to Thailand, we took a 4 hour drive to the Children's home. This was not a dreadful drive, however, because the scenery was amazing. We were able to drive through the city and see the different culture right away. Once we got to the Children's Home, my first impression was how beautiful it was. The place itself was urrounded by rice fields and mountains. The Children's Home has bamboo huts which people sleep in and there's a main area where people get to socialize and do many different things like play soccer.
The best part of all was getting a buddy from the Children's Home. I got to spend time with her such as going to the local market or helping her with English. Today, I still keep in touch with her. Not only did we get a buddy but we also taught classes one day which was an incredible experience. It was really fun to see what the schools were like and getting the chance to help the children with English. They all giggled and smiled during their whole lesson. My favorite part was when we taught them games such as "Down by the Banks" or "Duck Duck Goose" because they loved to be able to go outside and play while still learning.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this program because it is an unforgettable experience. The different culture I got to experience and the people I met through this program made it a life-changing trip. I'll never forget all the special memories that I had at the Children's Home in Thailand.

How can this program be improved?
I would've wanted to have more free time with the people on my program
Yes, I recommend
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Donna
9/10

Thailand

My trip to Thailand was amazing to say the least. The trip was extremely fun and unforgettable. My favorite part was seeing a different part of the world that I am usually not in and experiencing the unique Thai culture. The food was delicious, I even tried eating a cricket, yum! The views were spectacular, I loved the beaches. Also, the children in Thailand were kind and cooperative. Thailand was one of the best experiences of my life. I highly suggest this trip to others!

Yes, I recommend
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Darian
9/10

Best Experience of my Life

With Rustic Pathwyas, I chose the Elephants and Amazing Thailand Program. Working with the elephants each day was the most amazing experience I ever had; they're peaceful and loving, let alone gentle and amazing. I bonded with my elephant, Tantawan. Waking up early every morning with her was a blessing and I'm humbled to have had this experience.

How can this program be improved?
There were many things in the itinerary that were not part of our program.
Yes, I recommend
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Kai
10/10

Great Life Experience

The kids at the children's home were all amazing. They were eager to meet you, talk to you, and get to know you. Every night we would have dinner with them, and it was great time to get an idea of their lifestyles. The counselors as well were all amazing. Some were fresh out of college, but this just meant they were that much more excited to be there. I saw the counselors more as fellow camp members, but when it came to travel somewhere or do something, they were authoritative and proper. Overall the entire experience was memorable and humbling: Memorable because of all the new people I met, and humbling because of the kids I met at the home.

Yes, I recommend
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Jennifer
10/10

Island Hopping in Thailand

Our son took a Rustic Pathways trip to Thailand in July, 2015 for the first time. He absolutely loved it and was very impressed with the program and the chaperone/guides. He can be quite critical when it comes to group activities and teacher/guide skills and had nothing but great things to say about his experience. He loved it so much that he wanted to sign up for next summer as soon as possible! He will be traveling to Peru for two different programs in 2016!

How can this program be improved?
Can't think of anything to improve, Andrew did not mention any negatives.
Yes, I recommend
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Sam
10/10

Perfect

3 weeks before I left for thailand my mom texted me out of the blue saying she had just seen a magazine for a travel program and and asked me if i wanted to go to thailand 3 weeks from then. To me this was crazy I've never been any were outside of america other than europe and in such short notice too. I didnt want to because i was so nervous but was convinced to do it and it was the best decision of my life. Definitely the most amazing week of my life!

How can this program be improved?
not much too be fixed. more freetime? maybe seeing more sights
Yes, I recommend
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Parents
10/10

Loving the Thailand Adventure

My daughter who is 16 years old and the third one of our children to do a Rustic Pathways trip when they turn 16. She thought the kind people, fun staff, learning about Thai culture and Budism were highlights in her 2 week Thailand adventure. Waking up in the morning to go and take of your elephant and the other students she became close with will provide lasting memories.

How can this program be improved?
Emma's one criticism would be the service hours were weak. She would of liked to have done more service and more meaningful service. Having said this, we realize this was not one of the more service oriented trips.
Yes, I recommend
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Laurel
10/10

How to Fall in Love

I left for Thailand with a duffel bag of clothing and return plane ticket for a week later. When I arrived at the Ricefields Base, I knew that neither one of those was going to be enough. I set aside some money for laundry, and called my mom to let her know that I needed to be in Thailand for not one week, but two.
I made that call to my mom only 3 days after I got to Ricefields. In just 3 days, I had fallen in love with the Base, with my new friends, with the entire rustic staff, and of course, with Thailand. After we set up my extension, I was off to Bangkok on a side trip with some of my new friends. Little did I know, that side trip would bring me so close to them that I would be buying plane tickets to New York to visit them when I got home. When I parted ways with my friends in the Bangkok airport, I cried until after I got on the plane alone. Then I opened up my envelope of notes that they had written to me the night before and cried again. Sincerest apologies to the flight attendant that had to keep bringing me tissues.
I only spent 2 weeks in Thailand, but it felt like 3 months, and honestly, it wasn't quite long enough. I completed 4 different community service projects, and received my Wilderness First Aid Certification, and I still feel like there's more that I could have done.
In the end, it's good to be home and eating something other than the amazing Thai food from base (a white girl misses her Starbucks!), but next summer, my friends from Bangkok and I will be running wild in Cuba, making more memories together, and falling in love with Rustic Pathways just a little bit more.

How can this program be improved?
More American food! I would have paid millions of dollars for some ranch dressing during my trip.
Yes, I recommend
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Mariela
9/10

The Hill Tribe and Refugee Camp Experience

We taught English, carried endless buckets of cement and dirt, ate the strangest of fruits, but most important of all we were engulfed into a new world. Thailand's world along with the Burmese one. My perspective and outlook on life changed. I realized that I should be more grateful for the easy life I have led, that I should appreciate technology much more, and that people no matter how different are still the same and can still laugh together.

How can this program be improved?
I would not allow the second one weekers to overlap with the two weekers because it was difficult to get to know them and not all the campers were bonding together.
Yes, I recommend
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Michelle
10/10

Thailand Base Camp

When I went to Thailand I was very scared because I knew no one. As I arrived on a Son-thaow I was welcomed with open-arms. All the staff were so kind and the Burmese staff make the trip. Day-to-day we work hard with having AM and PM services which range from 2-3 hours per shift. Every service project has a purpose to improve the lives of the Thai people whether its teaching them english or making them lunches. Being on a base camp makes you feel very safe and at home. I shared a room with 6 Girls which is an experience of its own. Throughout my trip I made amazing friends and amazing experiences. I highly recommend traveling with Rustic Pathways.

How can this program be improved?
I would make more variety of service activities.
Yes, I recommend

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