CHLOE ADIE - MAY 2016
My Camp Thailand Experience
Chloe Adie – May 2016
From the moment I booked onto the Camp Thailand programme I knew this was going to be one of the best decisions I’ll have made. It was now just a 7-month wait until my adventure was to begin. From the moment I applied to the programme the staff that were based here in Britain were extremely helpful; from replying to all my silly questions in emails to talking through the extended tours and life you will experience at camp. It was getting closer to camp and we received an email saying that there was a Facebook group being set up for our intake, Camp B April-May intake 2016, from this a Facebook Messenger chat was made. We all got talking and realised we all had the same worries, nerves and of course excitement! This also made me nerves go away as I realised as soon as we got to Bangkok there would be other people waiting to start this adventure as well.
Once arriving at Bangkok we were all greeted at the airport by the Camp Thailand team that are located out over there who then took us all to the hotel and got us all settled in. I chose to do the extended Bangkok tour so had an extra couple of nights there. By this point we were too excited about spending our first night in Bangkok together we forgot about the jet lag and all went our for a meal with the reps and staff then our for some drinks on the famous Khaosan Road which is an experience everyone needs at least once in your life! Our first full day was packed full of everything you’d want to do in Bangkok; from a boat tour along all the canals, visit to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho where you can see the reclining Buddha, which is a must you have to see! These couple of days were such a good way to get to know everyone and have fun before heading up to camp the next day!
We caught the train on the Saturday morning up to Krasang, a 7 hour journey which was made easier with all the new friends that you have just made catching up on stories and sharing your excitement whilst you waiting to see where you’ll be living for the next month!
As part of our Bangkok tour we got a bonus day at the lake on the Sunday where we went and rented houseboats and spent the whole day floating on the lake, we had rubber rings, banana boats and sofa boats! I’d never been on a sofa boat so decided to give it a shout with the result me back flipping off into the lake and it getting caught on camera, safe to say I did not live that one down at camp! This was the best way to end the Bangkok tour and start our journey up in Krasang.
On arrival Dean and Philip as well as all the Thai staff that is located up at Camp B who were straight away incredibly helpful welcomed us. As soon as I got to Krasang I felt at home, everyone was so welcoming – getting us settled in, we were taken on a walking tour of the town getting shown were the 7/11 was (which became my second home making daily trips there at least once), as well as the local restaurants. Every Monday we had our TEFL and Thai language training days, these were lead my Philip who prepared us for not only life out here but gave us everything we needed to know for teaching from what to do when you get into the classroom to the moment you left. When we arrived the Thai staff at Camp B had some English but as the month went on and the Mondays past, when we taught them English and they taught us Thai, their English was improving drastically. Shout out to May and Mem who were the mothers of camp, making sure you were okay at all times, and if you had any problems everyone knew you could turn to them for advice and they would help without a doubt, thank you!
The next day we started teaching, what I had waited 7 months for! It was safe to say I was beyond excited. I was teaching the younger children in the group and we decided to go with animals, it’s a good topic to do in the first few days of teaching! We had come up with our plan, full of games, work sheets, songs and dances and now all we had to do was to wait and get to the school! We arrived and nothing could of prepared me for the excitement on the children’s faces when we arrived, they were so excited to see us and we were so excited to see them. Not knowing their level of English and thinking they wouldn’t be strong at it, so when they were shouting out animals such as ostriches, grass hoppers, koala bears we realised that these children were smarter than us! The kids loved it when we danced and laughed at one another so at the end of every lesson I would do a song and get all the children up dancing along which always went down a treat, not only with the kids but with everyone else we were doing the lesson with!
One of the highlights for me personally was the week I opted to stay at the Surin Project and participated in the elective programme with the elephants. During this week I learnt so much, from how to clean and bathe elephants, to feed them (through their trunks unless you want to lose your hand putting it in their mouth), to have a shower with just a bucket, to understanding why these elephants were in this project. Another bonus when we took our trip to see the elephants was one of the elephants had just had a baby, after 18 months of being pregnant, which was 4 days old when we got there! Have to say seeing a baby elephant that small was something I’ll never forget. After spending the most incredible week with these beautiful creatures it was time to head back to camp, by this point I was so excited to see everyone again and catch up with everything that had been happening at camp.
Whilst at camp we had most evenings free and there were always things to do, camp organised for us all to go to a football game in Buriram one evening which was an experience you have to go too, I have no idea about football but the atmosphere is something else! We went and visited temples, even if you did have to climb 1000 steps to get to some of them, it was worth it! The reps always knew what to do, so if you ever had free time just ask them and they will sort whatever out for you! Shout out again to Tom, a rep, whatever question big or small he would answer it, if you had a problem he would fix it, when you’re out here he is your guy!
Riding in the back of a pick up truck to get around everywhere was everyone’s favourite part, ignore the windswept look you had by the time you got to where you were going, but travelling around rural Thailand in the back of a pick up with your new friends was incredible. Coming back home and driving around doesn’t have the same feel anymore.
Now it was time for Cambodia, another tour that I had booked on to and had been looking forward to for months! Our group was 16 that headed off on the Thursday morning with Nana, the Camp Cambodia representative, we spent most of the day travelling before heading out to the famous Pub Street in Siem Reap which was the best night out, Angkor What Pub is a must! We then spent the next day touring the city in our own Tuk Tuks where we saw all the sights that Siem Reap had to offer. Then came what I had been most excited about, Angkor Wat, we woke up at 4am to go watch the sunrise over this wonder of the world and without a doubt the most beautiful sight I have seen! We then spent the whole morning exploring the temples than Angkor Wat has to offer. To top off this amazing tour we spent our last day at the a waterfall an hour from Siem Reap in the heart of the forest; relaxing in the water, cliff jumping and topping up our tan before heading back to camp in the VIP air conditioned mini bus.
We only had a couple days left of teaching left by this point with graduation at the lake to look forward too. On the Tuesday night we all headed off to the lake for a BBQ, fireworks and to set lanterns off. This was our last night all together and the best way to say goodbye to everyone.
When applying to Camp Thailand I didn’t know what it was going to be like, didn’t think I’d make such good friends as I did, and didn’t realise how many incredible opportunities that I’d be given. Thank you to everyone who made my month in Krasang so memorable! EVERYONE COME AND DO CAMP THAIALND!
Chloe Adie – May 2016