Summer High School Programs in Thailand with Rustic Pathways

Video and Photos

Thailand with Rustic Pathways
Thailand with Rustic Pathways
Bathing my elephant, Red Moon, in the morning
Bathing my elephant, Red Moon, in the morning
me learning how to be a mahout
me learning how to be a mahout
Me with my elephant, Red Moon
Me with my elephant, Red Moon
The beautiful scenery  of Northern Thailand
The beautiful scenery of Northern Thailand
Teaching time!
Teaching time!
One of the many beautiful Buddha statues we admired
One of the many beautiful Buddha statues we admired
"Bleeding Trees: Children's Home
"Bleeding Trees: Children's Home

About

Rustic Pathways first offered Thailand programs in 1999, and the country has since become the hub of our Southeast Asia operations. We have an extensive team of incredible local staff who are experts at ensuring our students have authentic, transformative experiences. Thailand offers the widest range of Rustic programs, from gritty service trips and animal conservation programs to outdoor adventures and immersive cultural experiences.

Known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand will immediately welcome and captivate you. The local people are incredibly friendly and deeply enjoy sharing their Buddhist culture, spicy food, and love for laughter. There is a peacefulness about the country, and the scenery is always entrancing.

Scholarships

Rustic Pathways Scholarships
Rustic Pathways Scholarships and Financial Aid

Rustic Pathways is committed to making life-changing opportunities possible for students worldwide. We know how impactful our programs are, and continually strive to make them more accessible to all students.

Value
$1,000 - $5,000

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

98%
based on 101 reviews
  • Impact 9.6
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.6
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 8
  • Value 10
Showing 61 - 75 of 101
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Donna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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Darian
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
There were many things in the itinerary that were not part of our program.
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Kai
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
Can't think of anything to improve, Andrew did not mention any negatives.
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Sam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
not much too be fixed. more freetime? maybe seeing more sights
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Parents
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Laurel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
More American food! I would have paid millions of dollars for some ranch dressing during my trip.
Read my full story
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Mariela
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Michelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I would make more variety of service activities.
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Andie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

WORTH IT!

I went on my first rustic pathway trip as a senior in high school and it was the most eyeopening thing I could ever do. I ended up changing my major in college and am now looking for more opportunities like these to participate in in the future. Their staff is friendly and made me feel safe and that I was actually making a difference, while having loads of fun at the same time. It might be a bit on the pricey side but it is definitely worth it. Wish I was able to attend more of these trips before college.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that the free time back at base could be longer because at the activities you don't get to socialize with everyone, and once you get back and washed up and dinner is over, then it's lights out.. Even though I totally needed the sleep just wished I could have had the opportunity to socialize with more people doing these programs
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Callie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

My time in Thailand with Rustic was unforgettable. It was my first time out of the states ever. I felt incredibly safe and immersed in the culture all at the same time during my entire trip. Every day I learned something new or had a new interaction with a local or elephant. I got to go to the children's home, teach at locals schools, visit a refugee camp, go white water rafting, try new food, go to an elephant retreat, visit local markets, learn to make bamboo products, weaving, learn Thai culture, and so much more. I can't explain how much this trip has impacted my life and the way I see the world.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked to teach the local children more.
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Sabrina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing

This summer I did three programs with Rustic Pathways in Thailand. I started off with Island Hopping and Diving, then I did Intro to Community Service, then I did the Wilderness First Responder Course. In total, I spent a total of five weeks in Thailand with Rustic. It was by far the best summer of my life. The staff, the other students, and the activities were all amazing. Island Hopping and Diving was the perfect adventure trip and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for an adrenaline trip. For the last two programs I spent my time at the Ricefields base. The Ricefields base was amazing to say the least the service projects are not only meaningful but they are also fun and everyone their makes you feel at home. There is a cafe there run by Burmese staff and they are the most amazing people you will ever meet. Durning my stay at the Ricefields I got sick and ended up spending the night at the hospital (it was very nice). There was staff with me the whole time and everyone at Ricefields even signed a get well card for me. I am already planning my next sumer with rustic and I am even trying to go back to the Ricefields base. I would honestly recommend rustic to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
its honestly amazing
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Lynn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing

The Ricefields Base and the classroom facilities for my program was absolutely great. I was definitely never hungry as there was always snacks provided. The itinerary was also contained a good balance of learning, service, and free time. Finally, the staff were extremely friendly, especially the Burmese staff.

What would you improve about this program?
Personally, for my program, I definitely wished that there was more service time or interactions with kids. In addition to that, although it is understandable that because my program was to learn WFA, we would spend most of our time at the base. However, I think it would've been nice to be able to have more excursions in order to interact with and learn more about the local community.
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Jess
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Beauty that is Rustic Pathways Thailand

The nerves that I experienced going into this trip cannot be described, I knew no one and I did not know what to expect. The first reason for my nerves was completely irrational, I made best friends that I am closer with (in the space of one week) than my friends back home that I have known for years. Placed in a situation where no one knows each other, that's when your true self comes out as you look for those who are similar to you. I never realized how in sync I could be with a girl who lives in a completely different continent and how relatable another from, again, a completely different continent. The making of these two incredible friends is something that I will always thank Rustic Pathways for. As much as I made two close friends, we had a group of us that were constantly together. Every night we played Uno and told different stories of our life, as well as, laughing at many different slang words from our relative countries. The second reason for my nerves was completely correct, I had no idea that his trip would be so enjoyable and heart touching. With the relaxed environment in which you stay there is mo stress and you are truly able to embrace all that is around you. You learn things from religion, food, how to help others in the most beneficial way and about culture. It was beautiful and I am so grateful to have experienced what I did and been given the opportunity to go.

What would you improve about this program?
I'm sorry, this program is perfect.
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

At Rustic, I was the me I wanted to be.

This is one of my greatest life experiences and I would recommend it to anyone looking for adventure. I felt very safe and had an incredible time, but found joy in giving to the community as well. Though we worked during the days, the nights were packed with fun activities such as Hong Night Out or Thai Massage. The staff was approachable and very young/hip. The Laos weekend trip is very worth the money. You will visit even more scenic landscape than in Thailand and get the more touristy side.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel the rules should be a little less strict and the staff more friendly than enforcer-like. I felt like they didn't completely trust me even though I was not doing anything suspicious/wrong. Only towards the end did I really form bonds with the staff. They did a great job.