Thailand Mini Semester

START Bangkok, Thailand |
FINISH Krabi, Thailand |
DURATION 6 weeks |
AGES 17 - 22 |

Thai Culture, Jungle Trekking, & Elephant Volunteering

Thailand's mountainous jungle up north is populated by numerous tribal groups and has stunning national parks, while tropical islands in the south have some of the world’s best beaches and diving spots. Traveling with us you’ll have the chance to taste a less-touristy slice of the country and uncover the true essence of Thailand.

This 6-week journey takes you through Thailand by exploring some of the most stunning beaches in the world in Koh Lanta, volunteering at an elephant sanctuary, then learning about the traditional techniques and philosophy of Buddhist meditation at one of the oldest meditation centers in Thailand. Immerse yourself in local communities; discover Thailand’s fascinating cities and culture; explore the incredible jungle and beaches; gain skills with lessons in Buddhist meditation, scuba diving, and rock climbing.


Dive into adventure with a scuba diving course in the crystal-clear waters of Southern Thailand! This certification will allow you to unlock a hidden world, challenging you to master new skills and appreciate the delicate balance of marine life.  Explore shipwrecks, encounter playful dolphins, and create unforgettable memories with fellow adventurers. Emerge certified, exhilarated, and with a newfound passion for the underwater wonders of the ocean.

Take time to give back and forge a genuine connection with rescued creatures. You'll be assisting with their care, learning about conservation efforts, and witnessing their playful spirit firsthand. This rewarding experience allows you to contribute to their well-being, create lasting memories, and develop a deeper appreciation for the importance of elephant protection. You'll leave empowered, knowing you made a positive difference in the lives of these magnificent animals.

Hike through lush jungles teeming with exotic wildlife, following scenic trails that lead to hidden waterfalls.  Then, swap your boots for a tube and float down crystal-clear rivers and serene lakes, surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and vibrant flora. Immerse yourself in the rainforest canopy, then cool off with a refreshing dip as you drift downstream. Emerge from this adventure exhilarated, with a profound appreciation for the diverse landscapes of this captivating national park.


This is a guide to what you can expect to do on program. The order in which the activities occur might vary.

Click download to view the full 6 week sample itinerary.

Download Sample Itinerary

Bustling Bangkok & Ancient Temples

We arrive in Bangkok, having journeyed from the West to the East. Our time will focus on getting to know each other and creating a positive and reflective group culture to support us in realizing our program goals. Then enjoy a yummy lunch at the market, where we can sit back and watch the hustle and bustle of market life around us. Hidden in the busy Bangkok streets are some of Thailand’s most beautiful religious and cultural sites, and this week we get to visit them and see their beauty in person. Including Wat Pho, The Grand Palace, The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Arun, and many more!

After orientation, we take the train to the jungles and ruins of Ayutthaya, a historic city and kingdom in Thailand. This UNESCO World Heritage site was the capital of Siam for around 400 years and holds many grand monuments and temples. In Ayutthaya, we will head out on a tour of this magical city, seeing all of the sights and wonders that it has to hold, and all from a mountain bike!

Departing Ayutthaya, we journey to Sukhothai, another UNESCO World Heritage site that is famous for its ancient temples. 1000 years ago, Sukhothai was the capital of Thailand. Today it is a tranquil quintessential Thai town. We will explore the complex of temple ruins before continuing by minivan, north to Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai & Elephant Conservation

We start the week out by making our way to Chiang Mai to enjoy a delicious dinner at Chiang Mai’s famous night market. Concealed by the mountain ranges on all sides, Chiang Mai is rich in culture and tradition, filled with quaint shops and restaurants, and friendly, smiling locals.

We will be staying at an ethical elephant conservation park near Chiang Mai that aims to solve some of the problems surrounding elephant exploitation in Thailand. Despite a ban on logging, elephant habitat is still being lost and as few as 500 wild elephants are left within Thailand and they are threatened. Over 2,000 domestic elephants, trapped in the traditional elephant tourist industry, have a bleak future. We will be up close and personal with these kind and unforgettable animals for a few days, helping care for them and exploring the complex issue the animal conservation world is currently facing.

The end of the week is all about empathy and understanding. We will be based in the forest just outside of Chiang Mai and work to support one of the local communities in the region and learn about economic issues facing northern Thailand.

Community Volunteering & Meditation

We will work with a local community doing small projects throughout the region. From debris cleanups, to reforestation work, to engaging with the youth at the local school - the tasks will differ based on current needs in the community so come with an open mind and helping hands.

After finishing up our time volunteering near Chiang Mai, we head to Pa Pae for some yoga and meditation! We begin our days with chanting and meditation, before getting a Buddhism and meditation workshop. We will then head out into the open to discover meditation with nature, the perfect way to find inner peace. Traditional Buddhist meditation can be quite challenging, so remember that it is a challenge by choice! This is a chance to learn about an important influence on Thai culture and to challenge our narratives around what meditation can be.

Program Details

What's Included?
  • All in-program travel and transport, excluding flights
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • All expeditions, activities, excursions, volunteer projects and entry fees as described in the itinerary
  • Experienced Program Instructors and local guides
  • Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism
  • Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves
  • Certificate of Program Completion


For full program details, please request the information booklet.


Request Information Booklet

Low Activity Level

Anyone with an enthusiasm for the outdoors and new experiences will have a great time on this mini semester! You will need to be prepared for some physical work during the volunteer projects on the program.

Low Camping Level

You won't be camping on this program. You will spend your nights on this mini semester program in comfortable guesthouses and modern hotels.

Medium Service Learning Level

You will be able to make a difference to the local community during your stay. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and do some hands-on learning about local issues.

Have you got any questions before applying?

Thailand Mini Semester