Each year we welcome over 2,500 students and staff from schools worldwide.
11 - 15 February, 2019
Exploring Life in The North (Chiang Mai)
The students were invited to reflect on their relationship with and impact on the environment and learned about the natural world, focusing specifically on mountains. One of the places we visited was a Hmong village in the mountains of Chiang Mai. There we discovered how traditional clothes are woven and experimented with a traditional go cart as well as crossbow shooting. Our time with the Hmong people was enlightening and allowed students to observe how indigenous people lived as well as how they have adapted agricultural practice to remain competitive in a modern market.
The students had the opportunity to visit a local crafts such as basket weaving as well as a rice mill and Buddhist temple in the northern style. Later that day we learn about the process of growing and processing rice. From ploughing the field with buffalo, which every student took part in; planting seeds and harvesting; then milling and winnowing, the students got first hand experience of each and gained the perspective of the traditional rice farmer.
After learning the agricultural process, students were able to take it the rest of the way by cooking and eating rice grown at the farm along with a number of other northern Thai delicacies, on wood burning stoves. Gathered around a communal tray of food we ate in traditional Thai style, sitting on the ground and with our hands! We also took part in a Khantok dinner followed by a performance of traditional Northern Thai war chanting with fire and dance.
The centrepiece of our northern experience was our trip to the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon. At the Siriphum Waterfall we collected macro-invertebrates to investigate water quality which was then compared to our expectations of the Chao Phraya River, and discussed way water quality may change as we progress down the watershed. Then we hiked a mountain trail, through jungle, over rivers, and along waterfalls to get to the Karen Village where we would be staying the night. Divided into small groups we spent the night in traditional Karen houses and had dinner with our hosts. The students were able to learn some words in the local language as well as some traditional Karen customs. What a wonderful night and fruitful experience. When sharing our stories we observed the contrasts between our life in the city and the lives of the Karen people.
The next day the students visited the local school and played games with young students. It was a great exchange and opportunity to realise we can all have fun and communicate even if we live in very different ways. Before heading back to Chiang Mai we stopped at the summit of Doi Inthanon, where we learned about forest adaptations and water sources.
One of our visits included The Royal Project site where we had a delicious lunch and visited the greenhouses, hydroponics and the gardens. What a beautiful place and amazing project! The children also had time to explore the night bazaar in Chiang Mai after dinner on the way down from Doi Inthanon. We will miss you Year 6 and we hope to see you again next year!