Lily Barrett, January 2017 intake, Camp B – Krasang, Buriram
Lily Barrett, January 2017 intake, Camp B – Krasang, Buriram
The Roof Top Bar in Bangkok
I was on the January 2017 intake for Camp Thailand Camp B, which is titled The Real Thailand Experience. I was pretty apprehensive about the experience, as I had no idea what to expect, but I can honestly say, hand on heart say that it was by far the best experience of my life, and I met the most amazing people while I was there, and continue to keep in touch with them!
I paid extra to take part in the Bangkok tour at the start of the trip, which everyone on my intake also paid for, as there were only 10 people on my intake, which is a small group, but I was grateful for it, as I got to know everyone well. IT was definitely an experience to see Bangkok, as expected it was nothing like the rural parts of Thailand, but fun all the same. We stayed on Khao San Road, so we were within walking distance of the strip, which was convenient for the nightlife, which on Khao San Road there was definitely abundance of. During the day we went to the temples around Bangkok, and did a boat tour down the river in the city, which was definitely a culture shock, as there are houses built on sticks sitting right on the edge of the water, with huge lizards sitting on people’s doorsteps.
When we arrived at camp, we were told the rooms available to us and then chose who we wanted to share with; the rooms were just as you’d expect to be honest, bunk beds and a safe for any valuables and a bathroom for each room. They were clean and comfortable and the bathroom was too, the shower was just like any other shower too. I really enjoyed sharing a room with people as it makes you instantly closer as you’re in close quarters and I think that’s all part of the experience. The staff at camp are really so hospitable, like all of the Thai people, and they can't do enough to help you. When we weren’t in our rooms – which was near enough only when we slept or were getting ready to go out – we would all be downstairs in the common area, which had hammocks and seats and a TV which always had music playing. There really gets to be a family like atmosphere when you’re all sat around the table eating which I really enjoyed, there was a range of meals to be had at camp and we often had a say in what we would like to eat that night, such as pizza on movie night, or Mexican or burgers etc. however there was obviously still Thai food on the menu. The breakfast menu was extensive and had all the normal foods on there, and toast was complimentary if you didn’t want anything too heavy.
As Kra Sang is a village there obviously isn’t a strip of clubs or pubs, however there are markets, boutiques, massage parlors, and a 7/11 all within a 5 minute walk. The social life at camp was a very chilled one, but that’s not to say boring. We went to local bars often, including a karaoke bar, and went into Buriram and Surin some nights to see the nightlife there. In camp there is a list of activities available for you to do, and a space for you to suggest other things you’d like to try.
As expected, the schools we visited were often quite basic and government funded, however yet again the teachers, and students were incredibly hospitable and welcoming, and all the schools supplied a free lunch, which was always really nice and as a vegetarian there was always a separate option for me to eat, which I was incredibly grateful for. The ages of the children at the schools varied, but the eldest ones often had a sturdy understanding of English, and all the children were very grateful to have you there, lots of them wanting pictures and for you to play games with them, which of course we did. Teaching was definitely one of my favourite parts of the trip, and I wish we could’ve done it for longer as it was so obvious that the kids were really enjoying having us there, and even the teachers.
I paid extra to go on the Cambodia tour, which consists of 4 days in Cambodia whilst at camp, and I am so thankful that I did because it was such an amazing experience. When we first arrived in Cambodia we had the day to ourselves, to explore Siem Reap – the place we stayed – so naturally we all got a massage and ate in one of the restaurants on Pub Street, all of which do amazing quality western food, which was welcomed by all of us. Then we later met up with Nana the Cambodian rep who took us back to Pub Street to explore the nightlife and I can honestly say it was one of the best and funniest nights of my life. Over the next few days we were lucky enough to experience the sunrise over the Angkor Wat Temple, and visit the other surrounding temples, not without seeing monkeys on the way.
We also visited the floating village which in itself made the whole trip worth it, and was incredibly humbling to see the sheer poverty that the people lived in, but they were still all so happy, including the orphans who we had the opportunity to donate rice to. We also got to spend a very chilled out afternoon in a wooden hut on a lotus farm, watching the sunset and eating. The accommodation in Cambodia was really nice, with a TV, en suite, very good food and a pool. On our final day in Cambodia on our way back to the Thai border, we visited a waterfall which we could swim in. I would definitely recommend the Cambodia tour to anyone thinking of doing it because I experienced things, such as the waterfall, that I never would’ve gotten to see had I done it separate from the company as I wouldn’t have known about it.
The final leg of our trip was a visit to the island of Koh Samed for 5 days, and it was by far my favorite part of the whole month. There was nothing planned for us by the reps so this part of the month was entirely ours to decide what to do with. Some of the girls in my intake wanted to stay on the beach one day and the rest of us wanted to explore the island and do some shopping in the town, so we split in two and did our separate things and then met back up in the evening for dinner. We went out to the beach bars in the evening, which had live entertainment such as music and fire shows. There was also places that did western food so we went there to eat if we felt like having something from home. We also went to Naga Bar which is a UV pant bar with beer pong and poles and a good DJ which was a really funny night. One day we went on a speedboat to the surrounding islands and snorkeled which was one of my favorite days because we squeezed so much in.
Overall If I could do the whole trip again, I absolutely would in a heartbeat. I met the most amazingly genuine people out there, both Thai and English, and I would 100% recommend seeing it through and applying for Camp Thailand if you’re interested.