What is hardest? Thailand is an incredibly beautiful country, and while I am up in the mountains, much closer to Laos and even southern China than to the beaches Thailand is famous for, I am often struck by how stunning the simplicity of a rice field can be. But as many of the volunteers who live in Thailand would tell you, when I close my eyes in gratitude for the opportunity to live and work here, it is not the mountains or rice fields that I am imagining, but rather the people.
I have been welcomed into my community and loved without hesitation. I have been fortunate to find several incredibly motivated locals who are interested and excited to learn different methods of teaching. I have had village grandmas come over to conduct a blessing ceremony for my spirits to protect me before I travel.
My parents met while my father was a Water Resource Volunteer and my mother was an Education Volunteer in southern and eastern Thailand respectively. I grew up hearing stories about their trials and successes as volunteers in their time, and I found myself for a while at the beginning comparing the details of their fond memories to the reality of my experience. I am now better able to appreciate the special connection to Thailand that my parents and I will forever share. For me, it is the Thai people that hold the true beauty of this country.
The University of Washington has been recognized for several years running as one of the top Peace Corps volunteer-producing universities in the world. In , UW was tied for second place - down from first place in - with the University of Florida for this honor, with 85 volunteers serving.
Panoramic HDR Rice Field Sunrise, Isan - Buriram, Thailand
Historically, UW is in third place overall, with an amazing 2, total volunteers since Read the Peace Corps press release here. Interested in learning more? Photo courtesy Cailyn Torpie. News Category:. Be Boundless for Washington For the World. The experience of being in the jungle with its countless noises is unique.
The park has an extensive fauna, among which Thailands largest population of elephants , many kinds of deer, cats, gibbons, wild bears and birds among which the hornbill. Follow elephant trails along mountain streams and see magnificent waterfalls where you can take a swim. Haew Narok is a spectacular waterfall, particularly in the rainy season.
The views from the Khao Khiew mountain are breathtaking. The Haew Suwat waterfall can be admired from the top and the bottom. Here you can swim. Return at the hotel around hr.
Overnight again in Khao Yai. Day 2. It is the largest and best restored of all Khmer monuments in Thailand. Phanom Rung, together with the other temple of Phimai, have been the examples for the later built and world famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The whole complex and especially the procession road to the main entrance, the stairs leading up to the complex and the Naga bridges are beautiful and impressive. Just being here and absorb the peace and tranquility is a wonderfully relaxing experience in itself. The complex offers magnificent views over the surrounding area. You stay overnight in a playful hotel near Phanom Rung.
Highlights of north Isan
In that case you stay overnight with your Thai host family already this evening. Day 3. Angkor temple Phimai During the Khmer period, large parts of Thailand were conquered by the Angkor empire. Phimai was directly connected by road with the Angkor capital. Prasat Hin Phimai was built at the beginning of the 12th century, when the Khmer empire had its glory period. The monument is of great historic and esthetic importance, it became the example and prototype for the later built and famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. A cozy place for lunch is the nearby Saai Ngam banyan tree.
Onward to your homestay address in the village Khampom, on route passing the silk village Chonnabot. During dinner, prepared by your family host, you will be warmly welcomed by the local Thai village people. The contact with the local people and their warmth and hospitality will be among the most memorable experiences of your holiday. Day 4. Village life and paddy fields Visit on school days the village school. See the ceremonial beginning of a school day with the children singing the national Thai anthem followed by Buddhist prayer.
Fishing and BBQ
After the ceremony you can enter the classroom. The school children are probably as curious about Western life as you are about Thai life. Your guide will translate everything again.
This school visit will be one of your more memorable experiences. Continue with a walk through the village, accompanied by your guide who has a lot of inside information and can tell you anecdotes about village life. After lunch you will go into the rice fields. Depending on the season you can see how rice is sown or harvested. If you want then you can help and do some manual labor yourself. Later this day you will buy the ingredients for your evening meal at the village market.
Panoramic HDR Rice Field Sunrise, Isan - Buriram, Thailand… | Flickr
As this will be your last dinner with the host family, probably half the village will want to say goodbye to you. Following Isan tradition you will receive a lot of good wishes and a wrist full of little ropes. Overnight stay again with the host family. Day 5. Khonkaen — Nongkhai Onward to Nongkhai, a cozy little city at the banks of the Mekong river.
Explore the lively trading at the harbour market Tha Sadet. Imported goods from Laos are sold daily at the market in Nongkhai.
Related Beautiful ISAN (Rice Fields Version )
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