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ThailandCommunity Education & Thai Culture

Travel to Thailand and immerse yourself in Chiang Rai, a diverse province set in the beautiful mountains and lush forests of the north. On this high school service program, build connections with local schoolchildren as you develop lesson plans and tutor them in the English language. Experience Thailand’s rich culture while staying in a village on the Kok River near the border with Myanmar. Visit the iconic Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) and cap your program with a trip to the cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, northern Thai cultural hubs.


June 21–July 7, 2023July 12–July 28, 2023
17 days
$ 5,890 + airfare
Departs from Los Angeles
14–16 students, 2 leaders
Service30–50 hours


  • Collaborate with a local school to tutor students in English
  • Take cooking lessons and Thai boxing classes
  • Visit temples to learn about Buddhism in Thai culture
  • Learn how to make your own pottery with a local artist

Meet featured leaders


This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

  • Departure
  • Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your program leaders in Los Angeles, and fly together to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

  • Chiang Mai
  • 3 days

Begin your program in Chiang Mai, where you will stay in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by ancient ruins and picturesque temples while becoming acquainted with your surroundings and your peers. Enjoy views of the city from Chiang Mai’s beloved mountain, Doi Suthep, and visit evening markets to sample delicious street food and try out your Thai language skills with local vendors.

  • Maekok River Village
  • 7 days

Travel into the mountains to a local village nestled near the border with Myanmar. Prepare English lessons alongside trained instructors and spend mornings teaching in local classrooms, or playing games with Thai students. Get your hands dirty by helping with ongoing construction projects at the school, such as laying the foundation for a new canteen or giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. In the afternoons, trek through the lush landscape, go for a dip in the swimming pool, or learn how to make delicious Thai dishes by participating in a cooking class. Share your experiences through photographs, writing, or video, and develop a narrative about your time in the community.

  • Chiang Rai
  • 3 days

Travel to Chiang Rai via riverboat to explore this diverse, charming city in Thailand’s northernmost province known for its rugged natural beauty and remote hill tribe communities. Get into the rhythm of daily life by participating in a village day stay, learning how to make your own handicrafts, or planting rice alongside local community members. Participate in an enriching cultural exchange with local high school students by attending classes with a Thai peer, practicing your Thai script, or learning about Thai holidays and traditions. Visit the exquisite Wat Rong Khun temple and practice your bargaining skills at the local markets.

  • Chiang Mai
  • 1 day

Wrap up your time with a final evening in Chiang Mai presenting your independent projects and reflecting on your adventures as a group.

  • Return
  • Travel Day

Fly from Chiang Mai to Los Angeles with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination.

"While many things are different about the way kids my age live across the world, many things are similar as well. I learned a new way of life."

— Hannah S., Edgemont High School, Scarsdale, NY

A Day in the Life: Maekok River Village

  • Due to the traveling nature of this high school service program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in our host village.
  • Enjoy a Thai-style breakfast with your group
  • Head to the local school to begin your day of lessons
  • Tutor Thai students in English by playing games, singing songs, or creating stories
  • Take a lunch break and play soccer or relax with your students and group members
  • Return to the classroom and continue with your lessons for that day or assist with ongoing construction projects
  • Go for a trek, bike ride, or take a dip in the swimming pool
  • Enjoy dinner together as a group
  • Group meeting to discuss the day, followed by a visit to the daily night market

What to Expect

  • Service

During your time in Thailand, you can expect to work on one main project—teaching English to local schoolchildren. The focus of this summer program is learning about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open-mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. Everyone participates in the groups’ project, and lends a hand in creating a positive and supportive group environment. To learn more about our Service programs, click here.

  • Independent Project

Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—learn how food is a large part of the Thai family focus, create a photo album that documents a Thai classroom, or learn a traditional dance.

  • Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities. You can expect to hike through the jungle, take a Thai kickboxing lesson, and walk around the towns of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.

  • Accommodations

During the trip, we stay at a locally owned guesthouse, with hot showers and electricity. In Maekok Village we stay in a comfortable bunk house with a wealth of common spaces including a game room and swimming pool on site.

  • Meals

We eat breakfast together as a group at the guesthouse, which includes traditional Thai breakfast fare like rice congee or khao tom, with some supplemental Western food. We eat lunches in the school with the whole group and local students. For dinner, we eat at the canteen on site or at local restaurants.

Explore the Destination

"This experience was unforgettable. The locals in the country were incredibly inviting and accepting of us. There was a lot of beautiful scenery to take in, and overall, this trip was a blast to be a part of. I am honored to have been a part of it."

— Timothy W., Perkiomen Valley High School, Collegeville, PA

Next Steps

This program is directed by Portia Watson. If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

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