ALYSIA KENNY - NOVEMBER 2016
Alysia Kenney – November 2016
My Camp Thailand Experience
Camp B: Krasang, Buriram, Thailand – June/July 2016 Intake
There really are no words, to describe how much Camp Thailand is one of the best things, I have ever done. When I applied, I had no idea how much of an amazing summer I was going to have. I was in regular contact with Sophie through email who answered all questions that I had. I didn't really have a clue about Visas, flights, insurance and she helped me out so much with organizing everything. I also got a welcome pack from Camp Thailand that explained everything I had to do. I got regular emails to keep me up to date with everything and the Social media group on Facebook helped me out lots as it made me realize everyone is actually in the same boat leaving home and going to another country which is so unfamiliar.
Visiting and paying respects at a Buddhist Temple
Once I arrived at Bangkok airport I was met by Camp Thailand reps who got us sorted into our camps and into minivans and to the hostel in Bangkok. One of the first things I remember about arriving in Thailand was the heat I have never felt anything like it in my life but it's weird after a few days you just get used to it. I had opted to do the Bangkok tour so I was there for 2 nights before I headed to Camp. I would defos recommend this to anyone as it gives you a chance to make friends and go out and see Bangkok. The time in Bangkok absolutely flew by as we were so busy, we went a full day of exploring and seeing the most amazing temples. We were able to do all the things you want to do when I Bangkok, eat bugs ect. If I could give any advice it is if you need to buy elephant pants for Camp get them here they are cheaper and you can pick up really nice ones. The time at Bangkok flew by and I was on my way to Camp with my new friends.
Camp B – Krasang, Buriram Province, Isaan
Day trip to the lake
We were on the train from Bangkok to Krasang for about 6 hours which seems like a long time travelling but the whole time in Thailand I done a lot of travelling and 6 hours doesn't seem a lot to me anymore. Once we arrived at Camp we got to pick our rooms which worked out really good because we had made friends in Bangkok so I knew who I wanted to share a room with. The camp is exactly what I would imagine it to be like. The Thai staff and reps at Camp where amazing, anything you needed they done their best to help. At Camp, each night there is different entertainment on for example they do karaoke night, movie night, Camp Thailand has talent ect. There is enough to keep you occupied. I love Thai food but if you don’t, Camp do different Western food from pasta to burgers ect. At the weekend, they also do breakfasts so you can get things like bacon etc. the kind of things you miss from back home. Krasang is a small town but I loved it, it has everything you need, 7/11, there is a weekly market which you can buy clothes, accessories food ect.
The teaching for me was by far the best park of the whole experience. The first day of teaching we got up and headed with our group in the trucks. Once we arrived at the school we were greeted with the most excited and happiest children I have ever seen. At the schools, you get your lunch and a chance to play with some of the children depending on which school you are at and after lunch you begin the teaching. Teaching wasn't easy but it was definitely worth it, heading to the schools you don't know the age of the children, what the school is like and how good the children’s English is, but it defos adds to the experience. You teach for 2 hours but it defos takes it out of you. The children are the most amazing and grateful children ever. So many times, I walked away with tears in my eyes because I couldn't believe what I was doing. The Thai teachers where also amazing and so grateful to have us there. Even though the teaching can be challenging the satisfaction when you get back in the truck and the children are singing and waving you goodbye makes it all so worthwhile. This part of my whole experience really did put everything in my own life into perspective and made me realise how lucky I am not only back home but that I was able to help children in Thailand.
Elephants – Surin Project
Meeting the elephants at the Shelter & walking with them to the river to bathe them
The Elephants are everyone's favorite part. The day we went to the Elephant Nature Park’s (ENP) Surin Project for the overnight stay the whole group were so excited. When we arrived, we got put into our rooms for the night which are elephant shack style. One of the mahouts gave us some information on Elephants, I think elephants are beautiful but I didn't know much about them so this was really interesting for me. We then got to go see the baby elephant Saifon who is the cutest ever. Everyone spent their time trying to get selfies with the little cutie. We got to walk with the elephants, see them being washed by the mahouts. It was a crazy surreal experience. We then got to go to a barbeque dinner with the mahouts which was amazing. The whole stay at the elephants was like a dream come true. Everytime I look at the pictures and videos from that day I can't believe I got so close.
Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia
One of the other extras I opted for was the 3-day trip to Cambodia. It was towards the end of Camp and it was amazing to go to another country. We got the bus to Cambodia and you have to get your passport stamped and your visa sorted. It does take a bit of time but as I said you totally lose track of time in Thailand. When we got to our hotel we were all straight into the pool and then out that night. The good thing about Cambodia the dress code wasn't restricted so we could wear our own clothes. Pub Street was my favorite I preferred it to Khaosan Road. We then went to see one of the wonders of the world Angkor Wat, it is an early start we were up at 4am but it was totally worth it!!! The view of the sun rising is totally magical. I loved the shopping in Cambodia also and bought loads here. The trip was filled with lots to do and the 3 days flew by and it was time to head back to Camp. Cambodia was a highlight for me as it was a change of scenery and it felt like a bit of a holiday. I would recommend everyone to do the Cambodia trip.
If I could give any advice to anyone going to Camp Thailand is be open minded, it is not a holiday it can be difficult sometimes with the heat, being in a foreign country, the language barrier ect but you really do get what you put in. If you go in with a negative attitude about small, minor things it will be a negative experience. Nothing does run smoothly, Thai time is a real thing, the wifi sometimes doesn't work, the showers might not be hot. It is what it is! The whole experience totally overlooks the minor things. Before heading to Thailand wifi and hot showers where a big deal to me I was never off my phone and the thought of no wifi would have killed me. Once you are there these things don't matter you get to really do things and totally experience life. It sounds so cliche to say but once you come home you realize you have changed you have seen and done things that you never really thought was possible. Since being home all I have done is miss Thailand and the friends I made there. Anyone looking to go to Camp Thailand I couldn't push for you to do it anymore it’s the most amazing experience I have ever had. I was lucky to make friends for life at Camp and have memories that really will last forever.