Thailand is a personal favorite of our staff. Is there anything more delightful than street food on a southern beach? Our longest tenured placement is at the foremost sea kayak ecotourism company in the country. Our students go on the excursions and blog for their website. They join the staff and visit local hotels to promote the trips. We have likewise placed student at a leading English language newspaper in a major coastal city. Our students have done video production for their fledgling television station as well as writing articles for the paper. At-risk youth is another popular option. We have connected students with several organizations that work with kids on the edge of exploitation. One of the most rewarding placements has been with an organization that promotes conservation using Buddhist principles. Excursions have seen our students travel north to Chiang Mai for trekking and Buddhist temple tours. And they have gone to Phuket to enjoy beach nightlife and diving.

Thailand is the world’s 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, a special administrative area. Thailand is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a military junta. With a high level of human development, the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, and the 20th largest by PPP, Thailand is classified as a newly industrialized economy; manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy.

 

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ATTRACTIONS

IGS Bankok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is among the world’s top tourist destinations, and has been named the world’s most visited city in several rankings. The city began as a trading center and port community hundred years ago. Today, as the capital city of Thailand and the center of modernization the grandeur and glory of its dazzling temples and spectacular palaces still prevails. Bangkok’s historic center remains the Rattanakosin Island, the place of the country’s seat of power as well as the city’s most popular tourist landmarks including the Grand Palace that never stops to impress visitors with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail; and the City Pillar Shrine that enshrines its emerald Buddha, Phra Kaew Morakot. These are the primary symbols of the city’s founding, as well as important Buddhist temples that command respect from all those who have walked in their sacred grounds. The city’s shopping venues which are known to locals and tourists range from shopping centers to department stores, if you want to be able to experience the culture of riverside shopping floating markets can be found in several places. The city is also famous for its dynamic and vibrant nightlife. Once the sun goes down, it’s time to raise your spirits! Beach parties, cultural shows, night markets, nightclubs, street food and cocktails at a rooftop bar will take your breath away, or aboard a luxury river cruise, admire sparkling temples and the bustle of river life while sipping champagne is magical. Bangkok is obviously one of the world’s best place to eat tasty Thai food from street-side food stalls to fine dining restaurants. One shouldn’t miss the chance of exploring the streets to get a taste of authentic Thai cuisine. The look of these exotic foods enough to turn most people off, leaving only the brave, daring and very hungry. Eating insects, worms, and bugs are a huge part of Thailand’s culture. Is something you should at least try you are in Thailand after all.

PhuketPhuket is the largest island in Thailand, mostly mountainous with a mountain range which stretch from north to south. The west coast has several sandy beaches have been developed as tourist destinations, with Patong being the most popular and overcrowded with tourists, perhaps owing to the easy access to its wide and long beach. Most of Phuket’s nightlife and its shopping is in Patong. The Phi Phi Islands which are part of Krabi Province, to the southeast never stop to allure tourists with its limestone mountains with cliffs, caves, and long white sandy beaches, home to an abundance of corals and marine wildlife. The astonishing Similan Islands are surrounded by awesomely clear blue waters and unspoiled white sand beaches. Paradise for island hoppers and scuba divers. One of the best dive sites in the world for their lively and colorful coral reefs and perfect visibility. The southernmost part of the island is Laem Phromthep a strikingly excellent viewpoint to catch and enjoy the world famous Phuket sunset. Visible from most of the south of Phuket, the Big Buddha statue sits atop of the Nakkerd Hill, is among the very significant and most revered landmarks of Phuket island. Climb on top it offers a panoramic view of the whole island. Next to it stands a smaller golden image of buddha which is made of brass and several statues of monks around.

Ayutthaya Historical ParkAyutthaya Historical Park is the perfect place to visit if you are eager to learn more about the history and culture of Thailand. The remains of this fallen territory takes you back in time. Being surrounded by these ruins you can easily imagine the beauty and grandeur that was once the majestic kingdom of Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was the capital and the grandest city of Thailand before. All of its temples were elegantly decorated, have their own Siamese style and artistic detail. The city has come to an end when it was captured by the Burmese much of it was devastated by fire. Most of the city was severely destroyed all is left are the relics and stone temples still found today. After the city was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site many locals and tourist flight to see the ruins of this ancient kingdom. Nearby is the second largest museum in Thailand, Chao Sam Phraya National Museum that housed the archaeological finds from the ruin sites of Ayutthaya.

TRAVEL ADVENTURE

Doi Inthanon

With fascinating culture, historical temples and palaces, astonishingly great food, beautiful beaches, majestic mountains and a tropical climate, Thailand is no doubt a wonderful place people dreamed of. The north is the chief destination for trekking and adventure travel with its diverse ethnic minority groups and forested mountains. In Chiang Mai Province there stood proudly the highest mountain of Thailand, Doi Inthanon. People particularly flock towards this National Park due to its picturesque scenery and cool weather, a perfect escape to relax. Along the entire park you will see various trails to take you to different waterfalls.

Mae Ya WaterfallMae Ya Waterfall is the most stunning of all for the multitude of stepping drops that gave it a unique character and texture. You can participate in sky observing at Thai National Observatory located at km44. No trip to Doi Inthanon National Park is complete without visiting the twin pagodas of King and Queen atop the mountain, awaiting to welcome you. These pagodas are the main attraction of the park. Head for the hills and explore the modern tiered pagodas at the summit one called Naphamethinidon, meaning ‘by the strength of the land and air’, and the other, Naphaphonphumisiri, meaning ‘being the strength of the air and the grace of the land’. These pagodas were built by The Royal Thai Air Force to commemorate the 60th birthdays of the late King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit. These are the Buddhist places of worship containing the relics of Lord Buddha. Because the places are holy, the surrounding is so tranquil and peaceful visitors are expected to be very calm and quiet.

The elephant is Thailand’s national inconic symbol. Since the population of elephant is decreasing there are quite a number of elephant sanctuaries that are rescuing, rehabilitating, and saving animals’ lives. In Khao Sok National Park is where you can find the Elephant sanctuary that mimics the atmosphere of African Safari, Elephant Hills, this location offers guests an immerse jungle experience, opportunities to bathe, feed and interact with these friendly creatures. The sanctuary work tirelessly to promote respect for the Asian elephant and ethical treatment of elephants. The home to over 30 elephants who have been rescued from abuse. Riding of elephants is discouraged for the reason that it could harm the animals. The elephants are lovingly cared for. Poachers have long hunted elephants for ivory and hides, and now increasingly for meat the probably the cause why many elephants are disappearing. It’s time to get acquinted with these friendly giants before its gone. It is a unique travel adventure and experience being with these majestic creatures. Truly the most memorable yet ethical trip possible.

THE PEOPLE

Thai

Thailand is famously known as the ‘Land of Smiles’. Yes it’s true Thais really do smile a lot but is sometimes can lead to confusion and misunderstood by many especially tourists from outside the country. Thai smile can mean many things and has a lot of uses, it is used to convey one’s emotions and to cover up in every situation. Thai culture avoids confrontation and the expression of negative emotions. Thai people are brought up with the concept that emotions should not be expressed, and the best way to hide them is to smile. Thais are genuinely friendly people who are mostly easy-going, happy and sweet by nature. How amazing it is to visit a country full of smiling people and fascinating culture.

Housing & Commute
Cost
Visa
Safety
Languages

Most gap year programs will have accommodation included in the price, and you will be placed in dorms with other gappers or with a host family. Having a new mamá y papá is awesome—and not just for the home baked empanadas! Otherwise you need to research your accommodation options and calculate it in your budget. Rent prices will be different depending on the area and your needed level of luxury.

Thailand is always the number one option when it comes to affordability and amenities. The cost of living in this country remains extremely low despite its popularity. Traditionally, accommodation is of biggest expense on your budget but the rents in Thailand is surprisingly cheap, food is another category where you can get tremendous value, there are also street vendors, which sell both snacks and full meals at incredibly low prices. If you want to live a comfortable and low cost life in the middle of historical riches and eternal natural splendor Thailand is where you want to be.

The currency in Thailand is called the Thai baht.

Visitors to Thailand must obtain a visa from one of the Thai diplomatic missions unless they come from a visa-exempt country or a country whose citizens are eligible to obtain visas on arrival. Thailand currently offers visa-free travel to nationals of 64 countries and territories. The Thai government maintains bilateral agreements on visa waivers with some of these countries. Foreigners wish to re-enter Thailand after their visa-free or visa on arrival period has expired they have to obtain a visa in advance, or remain outside Thailand at least for one night. Thailand Prime Minister ordered the Immigration Police to be more flexible as the strict application of the law was affecting schools and the tourist industry. It was announced that within 30 days (by the end of November 2018), overstay visas will no longer be allowed, and there will be no remaining overstayers in the kingdom by that date. On 20 November 2018 the cabinet of Thailand approved several new visa free and visa on arrival countries. New visa free countries are (30 days): Latvia, Lithuania, Andorra, San Marino, Ukraine, Maldives, Mauritius. New visa on arrival countries are (15 days): Mexico, Vanuatu, Nauru, Georgia. The date of implementation was on the 14th of April 2019. Most of the visa-exempt nationalities may apply to extend their stay for another 30 days since 29 August 2014.

Thailand as a major tourist destination where different kinds of scams and tout are very common. The boiler room scam (a fake stock trading scam) is perhaps the most publicized white collar crime in the country and the most lucrative are the gem scam. The national police have seen a surge in thefts, burglaries, robberies and sexual abuse much of these crime is in urban areas where tourists usually gather as they are easy targets, as well as where prostitution and human trafficking are rampant. You are safe in Thailand, with most of the crimes can be prevented you must be willing not to be a victim. Always keep in mind that your safety is your biggest concern and common sense is your strongest weapon.

The official language of Thailand is Thai also known as Central Thai or Siamese. There are over 24 different dialects of the Thai language within the region, but the most widely spoken is Thai Lao. Immigrant Languages are Burmese, English, French, Hindi, Japanese, Kayan, Korean, Lao, Rohingya, Samtao, Sinhala, Standard German, Tai Daeng and Tamil. There are over 73 living languages in the country, 51 of these are indigenous and 22 are non-indigenous. Furthermore, 3 are institutional, 25 are developing, 18 are vigorous, 21 are in trouble, and 6 are dying.