10 – 21 December 2015
Late in 2015 VSP was glad to welcome Billanook College from Australia. They completed a ten-day trip to Northern Thailand focusing on cultural learning and a week of community service.
Billanook College have a unique program as their community service project takes place in neighbouring Mae Hong Son province, near the Burmese border. Since it is quite a drive, the group spent a few days based in Chiang Mai, during which they bought donations for the school they were to visit, among other activities.
The journey to Mae Hong Son included a night in Pai – a beautiful mountain town popular with backpackers looking for some peace and quiet – and bought souvenirs at its famous night market.
The tourist trail was well and truly done with once the group of twelve students was back on the road and on the way to Huay Pong Kan School, mesmerised by the stunning views. Their task for the next seven days was to construct a wall around the school canteen in order to prevent food from being eaten by animals in the night.
Mae Hong Son province is the eighth largest in Thailand but ranks only seventy-second in terms of population, as the majority of its land is taken up by mountains and forest. Well under half of its inhabitants are ethnic Thais, outnumbered by the various hill tribe groups that long ago adapted their way of life to suit the difficult geography of such regions.
Billanook College might not engage in any of our classic adventure activities but it could be argued that they have the biggest adventure of all!