Each year we welcome over 2,500 students and staff from schools worldwide.
Our 2019-20 Programs
16-18 Dec 2019 Khao Yai National Park is a world away from the crazy city of Bangkok. Grade 6 students of Ruamrudee International School learnt how bioindicators can be used to assess water and air quality and discussed how and why the results would vary from their home city. The most enjoyable day was spent hiking the different trails and teaching each other about the flora and fauna. We ended the day with songs, stories and comedy sketches around the campfire. Our impact on the natural environment was also a key learning objective and therefore on the final day the students shared their ideas of the future and discovered how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) could help meet their dreams. A fun collection of activities further introduced the students to the SDGs and allowed them to challenge themselves and work as a team to compete in the Amazing Race.
9-12 Dec 2019 The year 6 students from Garden Bangkok had a fun four day trip travelling on the Chao Phraya River on our barge and exploring the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. The trip was focussed on settlements and looked at why it is common for communities to settle near rivers. We travelled from Bangkok to Ayutthaya on the barge and stopped off at locations on the way. This included the island of Ko Kret where we learnt about the Mon people who lived there and did a mapping activity to understand the different features and uses of maps. We also stopped at Sala Daeng, an interesting river-side village which had some traditional Thai-style buildings and boats. It also gave us the opportunity to discuss flooding impacts as the river has been the location of some bad historic flooding. Once we reached Ayutthaya we visited the Japanese village and Portuguese village to discuss influences of other cultures into the Thai ancient capital. We also used traditional techniques to make bricks, visited a brick maker and the gold museum to understand the use of natural material that made Ayutthaya successful. No trip to Ayutthaya would be complete without a trip to historic temples, we visited Wat Chai Wattanaram and Wat Phra Sri Sanphet. Both stunning temples built in very different architecture styles.
2, 3, 4 Dec 2019 The barge team have been busy on three separate day trips taking the grade 1 students from International School Bangkok (ISB) to Ko Kret. They spent the day learning about how the island was created, the Mon people who inhabit the island and the pottery they are famous for creating. The day started and ended with a short ferry ride across the river. All the children then got an introduction to the Mon legend about why they travelled to Ko Kret. The legend tells of their travel to safety from Myanmar, aboard a giant crocodile! The legend goes on to say that the crocodile then crawled under the Chedi and this is the reason it leans to the side. The children had a good hunt for any signs of the crocodile. The students also learnt about the pottery the Mon people are famous for. They had a go and making their own pot on the pottery wheel and got to check out the kiln and mixing machine in the factory. The clay wasn’t always mixed by machine so the students got to learn about the traditional method – Buffalo. The buffalo used to mix clay, sand and water together by stamping. All the students got to have a go at pretending to do the mixing with the Barge Buffalo head.
UWC Phuket G11
2-4 Dec 2019 Transect surveys in heavy rain and muddy walks through the mangroves – the grade 11 students from United World College Phuket enjoyed exploring a range of coastal marine ecosystems in Ranong with the Barge Team. The students gained knowledge on rocky shores, seagrass beds, mangroves and grasslands. They learnt how to form scientific investigations and were able to practice different data collection fieldwork techniques. Back in the classroom students were introduced to the statistical analyses used to draw final conclusions and were keen to discover if their original hypotheses were correct or not. Highlights from the trip included a snorkel bioblitz on the seagrass bed where we spotted sea fans, sea pens, crabs, sand dollars and much more; the reward of a beautiful rainbow after surveying in the rain; and wading knee-deep in mud through the mangroves. Whilst visiting the different sites it was encouraging to see the students concern over the impact we have as humans on the environment. This aided many discussions on behavioural changes we can make for a better future.
Berkeley International School Grade 5
27-28 Nov 2019 Lifejackets on, students were ready to board the ferry and visit the island of Ko Kret. Known for its pottery, people on the small man-made island use the river in many ways. Berkeley grade 5 split up into 4 groups, each exploring different points on the sustainability compass (nature, economy, society, wellbeing). Acting as investigators they came up with questions to ask the locals, and discovered how the things they have seen and heard effect the overall picture of sustainability. After a short ride to the resort students played some games, learning what is happening to our river and how we can reduce our impacts. To end the evening we had a fun teambuilding game of stepping stones, students had to get their whole team from one side to the other, avoiding the mutant crocodiles trying to steal their stepping stones! Day 2 and we were ready to board the barge! After a day full of river observations, creating a watershed, and hunting for macro- invertebrates in the water hyacinth, students were expert river investigators.
27 Nov 2019 Getting up close to one of Thailand’s most venomous animals might not be everyone’s idea of a day out; but the year 9 students of Brighton College embraced the challenge to aid their understanding of our own immune systems. The Snake Farm - Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute showcases a wide variety of snake species, both venomous and non venomous, providing an example of the importance of taxonomy and classification of living organisms. Students enjoyed viewing the snakes and the brave even held the Burmese Python! Through games and shows, including a live milking presentation, the students gained knowledge of anti-venom production, the role of white blood cells and antibodies in response to foreign cells entering our body’s, and first aid to treat a snake bite.
26-29 Nov 2019 The grade 7 students from PREM School headed to Sukothai province for a busy four day trip. Sukothai province holds the ancient capital of Thailand. The students got straight off the buses and we hired bikes to travel around the Sukothai historical park. We investigated the different temples and discussed the varying architecture styles and the history of Sukothai. The following day half the group visited a local Thai school. They helped to support the school by mixing concrete and making a path and doing some planting. They then played games with the children and taught them some English. We then took part in a traditional Bai Sii ceremony with a community elder. The other half of the group were trying out local crafts. They tried pottery making after exploring the kiln museum, they learnt about silver jewelry making and got to paint their own ring and tried out traditional weaving on a loom. The next day the two groups changed round so they all got a chance to do the crafts and volunteer at the school. The final day we took part in a scavenger hunt around the main temples in the Si Satchanalai historical parks, again on bikes. The groups had puzzle pieces to find around the temples that held facts about the temples which they shared with the rest of the group.
25 & 29 Nov 2019 All aboard! Ascot year 3 came to learn all about the Chao Phraya watershed and what better way to do it than on our floating classroom! After playing some games and getting to know each other we started some fun games to learn all about the river. Students enjoyed building anything they wanted on their plot of land, and learning how everything can affect the river in some way. Next we found some exciting creatures living in the water hyacinth that floats along the Chao Phraya. The species of macro- invertebrates we found told us how dirty the water was as they were tolerant to dirty water. We then built our own watershed, pouring water on the mountains we built to see how rivers are formed. After a great game to end the day it was time to say goodbye, thank you Ascot for a fun couple of days on the barge!
Samut Sakhon & Songkram
19-21 Nov 2019 The year 5’s from Regents Bangkok had a busy 4 day trip to Samut Songkram and Samut Sakhon, provinces in the south west famous for their natural resource use. On the first day we visited a salt farm and learnt how they harvest salt and some of the different things we can use salt for including salty eggs, freezing ice lollies and spa scrubs. The second day we visited a fishing community famous for Hoi Lot fishing. The students interviewed locals and tourists to investigate the community and how sustainable it is. We then travelled to a local Thai school where we helped plant mangrove trees and took part in a mangrove litter pick. The students really got stuck in and collected so much trash! The local community then taught us how to make local snacks and weave using Nippa palm. Nippa palm is a plant that grows locally and the community are really good at using all parts of the plant. The following day we did some river related activities, learning more about how rivers are formed and how communities rely on and impact the river. We then moved onto the mangroves where we discussed the importance of this vital ecosystem and also the pressures on them. We took a long walk around the board walk and spotted lots of different animals including huge mudskippers! We finished our trip at a sugar farm, learning about harvesting the sugar from the top of coconut trees, mixing and making the final product - sugar cakes.
Regents Yr6 Chaing Mai
18-22 Nov 2019 Regent’s joined us for a fun week exploring the north of Thailand. Their objectives were to develop their teamwork skills, investigate the natural environments of mountains, participate in activities with hill tribe and northern people and observe differences and similarities between their lifestyles, and to gain motivation and skills to live sustainably! Day 1- On the first day after an early morning flight we arrived in Chiang Mai. We spent the afternoon playing teambuilding games and running around after the journey there. That evening we enjoyed a Khantok dinner (traditional Lanna Thai tradition) followed by watching some traditional dancing. Day 2- On the second day of our adventure we travelled to Doi Inthanon National Park to explore what macro-invertebrates were living in the waterfall. Students found many invertebrates and discovered that the water up here was very clean. We then met the Karen tribe who guided us on a hike to their village. Once we arrived at the village we learned about how they grow coffee, and even got to try some! We then got ready to meet our host families and stayed with our homestay families for the night. We learned all about their jobs, what they farm and where they go to school. Day 3- The next morning after comparing what our homestays were like and what we learned from our families, we walked up to the school to play some games with the students. After this we travelled up to the summit of Doi Inthanon where it was much colder! We explored the cloud forest and its adaptations and how it is the water source for Thailand. Students made some pledges on how they can protect the forest and keep our water sources clean. Afterwards, we travelled down the mountain and visited the royal projects, visited the greenhouses, and watched the farmers packing the vegetables they have grown ready to sell. We then ended the day with a BBQ dinner and some games, before a much earned sleep. Day 4- After a big breakfast we travelled to the Hmong village to learn about their lifestyle and how they grow vegetables, such as peppers, to sell to make a living. This was followed by having a go on the go-carts built by themselves from wood, and trying out the crossbows which traditionally were used for hunting. Next we travelled back to our accommodation and got ready for a bike ride. Fitted with helmets and ready to go we cycled to Huay Sai Village to explore and learn about how this small village farms rice, weaves baskets from bamboo, and fishes to make a living. Students got involved in asking local people questions and learning about their lives. On our journey back we stopped by the farm and got stuck in with rice farming! We got muddy feet ploughing the fields with the buffalo, and learned all about the processes of rice from the field to our plate. We ended our last day with full spirits singing songs around the campfire. Students and teachers got involved with their own songs and skits, before toasting some marshmallows on the fire. Day 5- For our final day we took a trip to the farm where we met the pigs and picked our own vegetables ready to cook for our lunch. Students made a delicious lunch to fill our bellies before our flight home. Thank you for an amazing trip full of songs and laughter- the barge team
Harrow Yr 13
15-19 Nov 2019 Year 13 students joined the staff from Barge Program to explore Ranong’s Marine Ecosystems, which provide an excellent location for fieldwork, allowing students the opportunity to explore different habitats, methods of data collection, statistical analysis techniques and consider human impacts on these environments. The mangrove habitat allowed students to consider biotic and abiotic differences that occur along environmental gradients, with investigations considering possible interactions between soil pH, soil moisture, pneumatophore height and width, mollusk density and crab distribution. At the rocky shore students used belt transects to measure biodiversity changes along another ‘wet to dry’ gradient, using kite diagrams to display their data findings. Differing aspects of the rocky shore also allowed students to explore how wave exposure might affect limpet morphology. After travelling up the estuary taking field data and collecting water samples at various sampling points along the river to complete chemical water tests, data analysis supported student’s hypothesis that salinity increases as you travel downstream towards to estuary. Sweep nets and pooters allowed a close up look and a chance to identify terrestrial invertebrates and make comparisons of species inhabiting different grassland sites using Simpsons Index of Biodiversity. A final exploration of the regions seagrass beds in a bioblitz challenged student’s identification skills for both marine plant and invertebrate species!
12, 13, 14, 19 Nov & 2 Dec 2019 Today Harrow had a busy morning with the barge team, observing and studying the river in our floating classroom. Year 5 set out to learn about human impact on the river, which was achieved through river observations and an exciting macro invertebrate search, discovering crabs, shrimp, worms, and more! These creatures were used as bioindicators to determine the quality of the water in the Chao Phraya. Students identified features of the Chao Phraya and created a watershed to better understand how rivers are formed. Our trip was rounded off with some games, stories, and a yummy lunch.
12-15 Nov 2019 Starting our beachside residential with an informative visit to the aquarium, where students saw an array of marine species while looking at the benefits and disadvantages of such organisations. A shark feeding session at the sea farm demonstration unit allowed students to understand the importance of sustainable farming and the fish trade in Thailand! Our students enjoyed feeding the different species of fish and sharks up close and viewing the thousands of crab babies kept at the unit for conservation. Day 2 adventures included a community service project where our 4th graders helped paint outdoor play equipment for a local Thai school, plant morning glory in the school garden, and create Krathongs to release in the evening! Lots of new skills developed, and new friends made this trip. A busy week calls for a long and peaceful kayak around the mangroves, learning about the importance of mangrove forests in coastal ecosystems and identifying some beautiful creatures such as mudskippers, crabs, and kingfishers! Year 4 did some investigating and exploring around the Maritime Museum, uncovering the important history of Chanthaburi and its role in the economy of Thailand today. Day 4 ended with an inquisitive morning at a local fishing village, interviewing local people and investigating the impacts of fishing life on the locals. Finally, we enjoyed some classic Thai literature and poetry before lunch and a speedy ride back to Bangkok! Each day ended with free time on the beach, lots of fun team building activities and games to encourage communication, co-operation, and critical thinking. Barge staff had a lovely week of exploring and playing with Wellington College pupils, who enjoyed new experiences and learned lots of fun facts about their environment.
Annie's Language Camp
23 Oct 2019 Our day at Bang Pu with Annie’s Language Camp started early by participating in the restoration of valuable mangrove forests, planting native trees and enjoying time in the mud. Later in the morning, the students partook of a number of activities to strengthen their English skills through learning about the importance of the mangrove habitat and the species that live within it. We ended the day in Bang Pu by playing some fun games, whilst understanding litter decomposition and human impacts on the mangrove forest. We had a great day learning English and learning about this important ecosystem!
AISB Years 7-9
Nov 5-6 2019 Exploring forest and marine ecosystems
16-18 Oct 2019 One hundred staff and students from Keerapat International School (KPIS) met the barge team in south-east Thailand. Their trip objectives were to observe and discuss human impacts on marine environments, consider plant and animal adaptations, participate in teambuilding games, and to ultimately have fun! Day 1 of activities was all about getting wet. The day started off with a boat ride over to Samae San island where we split into our groups ready to begin activities. We explored the mangroves and learnt how important they are for protecting shorelines from damaging storms, waves, and floods. We then explored the rock pools to see what creatures we could find living on the rocky shore. Next we did a beach scavenger hunt discovering many different things on the beach and discussing how they got here. Students got so involved in helping us to clean the beach and we picked up lots of trash to protect our oceans! After lunch we had some fun running around on the beach playing some games, learning about the struggles turtles face in the wild. And then to cool off we enjoyed some snorkeling, discovering lots of marine life and students even helped pick up trash while they swam! Day 2 of activities began with a walk around the Thai Natural History Museum. Students were split into groups and given a topic to research and present however they wanted, in a song, rap, play or presentation. They got very creative and we saw some amazing presentations! After the museum we went to the turtle conservation centre where we watched a short video to learn about the turtles found in Thailand, the problems they face, and how the centre helps to protect them. After asking some questions we got the chance to observe some turtles and create an ethogram of their behaviours. We had a fun couple of days and students worked really well together and got super involved in all the activities! Thank you from all of us barge staff, we hope to see you again soon!
28 Sept - 1 Oct 2019 Barge Program were delighted to welcome students from Prem International School Grade 12 Environmental Systems class to take part in their first Ranong marine ecosystem field trip. The intrepid students spent three days exploring the marine habitats of Ranong. Tasked with completing a number of different data collection techniques, including belt and line transects, chemical water testing, sweep netting and mark recapture studies, the aim was to explore biodiversity, species abundance and investigate biotic and abiotic influences on the different marine ecosystems in the area, including Rocky Shores, Seagrass Beds, Mangroves and Estuaries. Conscious of their carbon footprint the students also elected to plant 60 mangrove trees, including members of the locally important the Brugaeria and Aegialitis families, as part of a local mangrove regeneration project. The students also worked hard to complete a beach clean-up, removing several large bin bags full of rubbish, sadly much of which was single use packaging and is recyclable. Highlights of the trip including finding a number of interesting marine species present in the sea grass beds during our Bioblitz such as a small moray eel, anemone shrimp and covering their teacher with mud after a successful crab recapture effort in the mangroves.
12 Sept 2019 Students from years 6-13 visited the Supanburi Buffalo Village for a fun House Camp. Through learning about traditional Thai farming practices and games the students worked together, showing encouragement and support. As the day went by we could see the students interacting and building new relationships. We ended the day with team-building games allowing students to recognise skills they can use back at school.
9 & 10 Sept 2019 We were delighted to welcome Amnuay Silpa to the sunny grounds of Wat Chalerm Prakiat in Nonthaburi. The students enjoyed a hands-on day of investigations, including examining macroinvertebrates and considering the impact of gradient and discharge while working with stream tables. They worked in small groups to measure river flow from the barge (we lost quite a few oranges to the river!) and test water samples using physical, chemical and biological tests. By the end of a busy and exciting day, students were committed to trying to reduce their impact on the Chao Phraya, Thailand’s major waterway and an important resource for us all.