Ancient architecture and animal preservation in the Land of Smiles
Chiang Mai existed in obscure splendor for centuries, but THINK Global School students quickly discovered the potential Lanna King Mengrai saw back in 1296. Built on high fertile ground, this ancient walled city with its defensive moat and canals has remarkably retained its Lanna heritage and cultural identity while embracing increased modernization and a campaign to be declared a UNESCO Creative City.
Students had ample opportunity to experience the region’s natural wonders on the grounds of host school Prem Tinsulanonda International School, which shares a 100-acre estate with an organic farm, two hotels, and a spa. On-site academies for cooking, golf, cricket, football, and tennis surrounded by lagoons and rice paddies made this a truly beautiful setting that had students considering issues of environmental sustainability alongside their classroom learning.
During our term here, we headed three hours north to the border of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos – an area better known by its nickname “The Golden Triangle.” Here, we visited Mae Salong, where we received an informative lecture by Peter Holmshaw on the importance of tea production to the region. Providing a stark contrast was our visit to the Opium Museum, where we learned the history of the poppy-based drug that has marred the region and caused rampant addiction throughout the world. Next, we motored up the muddy waters of the Mekong River for a brief look at neighboring Myanmar before docking at the island of Donsao in Laos. Back in Thailand, we stopped at Think Elephants International, where our students stood nose-to-trunk with 18 of these majestic beasts. We also enjoyed a discussion with the Head of Elephant Research, Joshua Plotnik, Ph.D and the Director of Elephants, John Roberts. The ride back to Chiang Mai concluded with a tour of Wat Rong Khun, also known as the “White Temple” due to the snow-white concrete used to construct it.
A Taste of Thailand
Sample our collected writings, images, and impressions from our term in Chiang Mai.
Palong Hill Tribe
A student’s reflections on our service project
A visit to Think Elephants International