On the morning of 13th January, Year 9s set off to Chiang Mai, the largest city in Northern Thailand via Suvarnabhumi Airport. As a place rich in culture and tradition Chiang Mai was not only a new and exciting experience, it was also an excellent opportunity for Year 9 students to grow and become more responsible.
This trip was four nights and five days in total, and we stayed at a resort called ‘Horizon Village and Resort’ which was great. After being divided into three activity groups, we were given our schedule. This would determine which activities we would participate in and when we would do them. Every day was packed with awesome activities which started before dawn and ended late in the afternoon.
The resort itself was enormous, with spectacular landscapes which included a mini zoo and multiple lakes where we spent the first afternoon. When we arrived at the resort, we ate lunch and then were invited to participate in the ‘Amazing Race’. The ‘Amazing Race’ was a scavenger hunt where we had to go around the resort in teams to find stamps and activity spots where we gained knowledge and skills about nature, rock climbing and setting up tents. This was also a chance to strengthen our friendship, teamwork and leadership skills.
One of the activities we enjoyed was to learn skills such as bamboo weaving, colour dyeing from plants, sewing using seeds and learning about medicinal and edible herbs. Later in the day we learnt three methods of fishing. This included the use of nets, fish hooks and even our bare hands! Some of us went right into the muddy pond while others enjoy spending their time on land, occasionally laughing at the people who were slipping and falling in the water.
While we were in Chiang Mai, we visited the Royal Project, which was started by His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to provide the villagers with clean water and to encourage reforestation. To help support the Royal project, we planted seedlings and travelled to the village to learn some Thai cooking from the local people.
Our final activity was the most intense! Rock climbing and abseiling was definitely one of the highlights of this trip. First, we had to travel to Lampang, and when arrived we put on a helmet, a harness and some climbing shoes. There were about ten different rock climbing courses of varying difficulty. Excitement and nervousness were the most common emotions visible on our faces as most of us have never climbed on an actual cliff!. Although it was a new experience, after the first or second try, we have started to enjoy it and even master certain parts of the cliff.
Overall, Chiang Mai was a beautiful place to see the difference in culture and traditions of Thai people and a great opportunity to strengthen friendships while gaining leadership skills and participating in teamwork. We will never forget it!