2024 Key School Thailand Conservation Expedition

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2024 Key School Thailand Conservation Expedition!  To learn more,  you have two webpages at your disposal. The Pre-Enrollment page shares exciting highlights and important info that you will want to know before signing up. Once enrolled, you'll begin using the Post-Enrollment page which offers a greater level of detail.  Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for Thailand! 
Travel Dates: March 27, 2024 - April 7, 2024
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,590 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,799

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers and given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
March 27USA - BangkokFly from USA to Bangkok, ThailandAirplane
March 28USA - BangkokIn transitAirplane
March 29BangkokAt long last we arrive this morning! Sawatdee ka! Sawatdee ka! Welcome toThailand! We will travel from the airport for the welcome breakfast. After filling our stomachs, we will go to the hotel. We will drop our luggages at the hotel and walk over to the Lumpini Park for orientation meeting and cultural introduction. We will get lunch nearby the park and return back to checkin at the hotel in the afternoon. After taking some rest, we will head out for dinner and explore the neighborhood around the hotel, soaking up the new sights, smells, and sounds!56 Surawong Hotel
March 30BangkokToday we will spend the day exploring the busy and bustling capital city with a longtail boat ride through the small canals of Chao Phraya River. We will start our sightseeing in the morning with the canal tour, visiting the famous religious temples Wat Pho and Wat Arun. After lunch, we will visit Museum Siam to explore the history, culture, and development of Thailand. Then, we will head to back to rest at hotel before dinner, and prepare for the next portion of our trip.56 Surawong Hotel
March 31Bangkok - KanchanaburiToday we will head to Kanchanaburi Province to settle in the Chongsadao community. Here, we will partner with the organization Our Land, and learn about wild elephant conservation, the farmer/elephant conflict in the area, what action is being done to help, and how we can contribute such as helping village leaders and local community. We will float in the river and visit Ourland, a privately owned nature reserve. We will dock near Ourland and take a short hike while learning about nature on our way to Ourland and we will end our day with dinner with our new friends.OWL HOUSE Community Cabins
April 1KanchanaburiAfter having a traditional Thai breakfast in our homestay community, we will have a busy day learning about beehive keeping and working in the tree nursery as part of human and elephant co-existence projects. The highlight for today will be building a check dam in the wildlife sanctuary alongside with the locals. These projects are essential to keep healthy ecosystems where both humans and animals can coexist.OWL HOUSE Community Cabins
April 2KanchanaburiToday we will team up with local community members in a tree planting activity aimed to help sustain both local farmers as well as provide a larger habitat for the wild elephants. After checking in at the hotel for tonight, we will learn about Our Land’s snake rescue and rehabilitation program.Aurora Resort Kanchanaburi
April 3KanchanaburiToday we will continue learning about conservation efforts with Our Land sustainable agricultural program to help better ecosystems for local commutes and elephants in the area. In the late afternoon, we will pack a day pack and head to Sai Yok National Park, where we will spend the night camped on a houseboat, swimming in the river and sleeping underneath the stars.Sai Yok House Boat
April 4KanchanaburiAfter an early morning boat ride, we will make our way to Elephant Haven, elephant sanctuary. Meet the elephant herd, feed them delicious treats, and observe their behaviors while they bathe in the river. After checking in at our hotel, we will head to downtown Kanchanaburi to visit River Kwai Bridge. Then, we will enjoy vegan food dinner at a local restaurant with vegan cooking class. After dinner, we will visit night market for shopping.Aurora Resort Kanchanaburi
April 5KanchanaburiOn our last day in the Western region of Thailand, we will visit Somboon Legacy, a sanctuary where we will learn another approach to elephants conservation that avoids direct physical contact with animals. We will spend time walking in the forest, preparing their food, taking care of them, and helping with an ongoing projects. Today we will have discussion, dinner, and bid farewell to Ourland staff.Aurora Resort Kanchanaburi
April 6Kanchanaburi - Bangkok - USAAfter breakfast, we will travel back to Bangkok. We will get lunch at the Or Tor Kor fresh market and do the last minute shopping at Chatuchak weekend market before heading to the restaurant near the airport for our farewell dinner. After dinner, we will head to the airport and be on our way back home.Airplane
April 7USAArrive homeYour own bed!

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Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.  We vet and inspect the accommodations to ensure they uphold the ethos of our programs, are great values for our travelers and nice places to rest after enriching days of travel.  

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
56 Surawong Hotel

56 Surawong Hotel is centrally located as it’s walking distance from Bangkok’s Skytrain, market places, restaurants and other street food vendors. 56 Surawong Hotel can accommodate 2-3 students  per room and everyone will have their own bed. Some of the amenities include private bathrooms, air conditioning and hot water.

 

OWL HOUSE Community Cabins

This community lodge is owned by Mrs. La-or, community leader of the Chongsadao, one of the host communities in the Kanchanaburi Province in Western Thailand. It’s simple and colorful cabins can fit 3 or 4 people each and are surrounded by nature and are only a short walk from a river where the group can freshen up after the service activities. Students will be able to engage with the host family that runs this community lodge. Students will be divided by gender.

Sai Yok House Boat

The entire group will spend one night on their own private house boat in the Sai Yok National Park, a truly unique and Thai experience! Accommodations will be rustic and simple, but comfortable and unforgettable! A sleeping pad, pillow and light blankets will be provided. After floating down the river, the boat docks during the night. The boat also comes with a private bathroom. Life jackets are provided.

Aurora Resort Kanchanaburi

Aurora Resort Kanchanaburi features an outdoor pool and an on-site restaurant. It offers cosy rooms with air conditioning. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the entire resort. All rooms are artistically designed and feature a satellite TV and a DVD player. Free toiletries are provided in the en suite bathrooms. Facilities at the resort include bicycle rental, luggage storage and laundry service. Guests can stroll in the garden to relax.

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure Airport & City Departure Date and Time  Arrival Airport & City Arrival Date and Time 
Outbound
Qatar Airways
QR
708
IAD – Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, United States
March 27, 2024 at 09:05 PM
DOH – Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
March 28, 2024 at 04:40 PM
Outbound
Qatar Airways
QR
838
DOH – Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
March 28, 2024 at 08:20 PM
BKK – Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
March 29, 2024 at 06:50 AM
Inbound
Qatar Airways
QR
833
BKK – Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
April 06, 2024 at 09:05 PM
DOH – Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
April 07, 2024 at 12:05 AM
Inbound
Qatar Airways
QR
709
DOH – Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
April 07, 2024 at 01:20 AM
IAD – Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, United States
April 07, 2024 at 08:45 AM

 

Once your flight has been confirmed, the itinerary will appear here.

Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.

Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, and travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION, DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel can be unpredictable.  Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route.  Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night.  Our primary role will be to  keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a  quick and effective resolution.

Host Community and Project Details

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing philosophy we encourage. The list below should cover everything you would require, but you should adjust accordingly based on your needs.  We suggest bringing only as much as you can carry.

Finally, it’s wise to consult a weather forecast for your destination a few days before departure.  Expect it to be hot and humid throughout your travels. 

CLOTHES: (quantities depend on your trip length)

  • Underwear
  • Socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
  • T-shirts (some quick dry)
  • Lightweight, long sleeve shirts (sun shirts)
  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • Swim suit/s
  • Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light (no short shorts please)
  • Comfortable/hiking/everyday pants. Quick drying fabrics encouraged
  • Durable athletic/hiking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Work gloves
  • Hat/s with good sun protection
  • Sarong/scarf (something to cover knees when entering Temples and holy places *this may be purchased in country if desired)
  • Rubber boots/galoshes for time in jungle, can also be purchased in country

*Please keep in mind that the communities we will visit are generally more socially conservative. As this applies to dress, people do not appreciate seeing a lot of exposed leg, cleavage, or bare shoulders. Please be sensitive to this when packing, and remember to have a sarong.

TOILETRIES:

  • Your basics
  • Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
  • Mosquito repellent (you will use a lot)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Prescription meds in properly marked original container

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Passport
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
  • Power adapter
  • Spending money. We recommend about $100-$200, in USD
  • Durable water bottle
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Deck of cards or other portable games
  • Host family gift/small token of gratitude
  • Thai/English phrase book

Support Team

At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

Luke Mueller
Luke Mueller
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents.  Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.

Prae Supcharoen
Prae Supcharoen
Thailand Country Director


Bowdoin College – B.A. Interdisciplinary major in Geology and Physics. Minor in Biology

Born and raised in Thailand, Prae is a native Thai who has passion for science and the environment. After she finished high school, she was awarded a scholarship to earn a bachelor’s degree in the United States. In college, she joined International Student Association to exchange Thai cultures with others. One of her most memorable experiences in college was the spring break volunteer trip in Thailand, where she helped organize and lead the trip to work with non-profit organizations as a volunteer teacher for a northern hill tribe village in Chiang Rai. That meaningful experience inspired her to apply and work at Walking Tree Travel. Currently, Prae is pursuing a PhD in marine science in Bangkok. She loves Thai food and traveling around Thailand.

Bo Somboon
Bo Somboon
Program Leader


B.A. in Tourism Industry from Phitsanulok University

My name is Phanupong Somboon (my friends call me Bo) and I was born and raised in Thailand. I have been a rock climbing and outdoor educator for the past 6 years and enjoy every day of it. For the last four years, I have had the opportunity to work with International students around the world. I enjoy working with students because I have the chance to take them to explore my own country and to show them my culture and language. I also get to show them my beautiful countryside, people and way of life. I have enjoy traveling around Southeast Asia and China for several adventures of my own. I am looking forward to leading with Walking Tree Travel!

Group Roster

Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.

  • 1 Adelaide Bauer
  • 2 Adrina Banwait
  • 3 Austin Neise
  • 4 Brendan Frank
  • 5 Caleb Smith
  • 6 Charlotte Morgan
  • 7 Chloe McCarthy
  • 8 Conor Havard
  • 9 Emmanuelle Jackson
  • 10 Grayson Martien
  • 11 Heather Montague
  • 12 Hugo Raftovich
  • 13 Ian Hedgecoth
  • 14 Ifeoluwa Adeyosoye
  • 15 Jack Moran
  • 16 Jameson Cutler
  • 17 Jane Edwards
  • 18 Josephine Brewer
  • 19 Kaelyn Medine
  • 20 Karah Granger
  • 21 Kyle LaPointe
  • 22 Lee Ann Havard
  • 23 Maya Porter
  • 24 Olivia Garnette
  • 25 Philip Lenham
  • 26 Rosalie Loewen
  • 27 Sarah Judd
  • 28 Savannah Meigel
  • 29 Theo Levering
  • 30 Warren Hilbert-Graham
  • 31 William Montague
  • 32 Wyatt Christrup
32 Travelers

Blog and Communication

During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

 

GLC Curriculum

Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1.  Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of, or are consuming, or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety.
  4. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  3. Threatening physical or emotional harm, or brandishing a weapon.
  4. Possessing, consuming, or distributing tobacco or nicotine, including vape pens.
  5. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  6. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew.
  7. Breaking group rules.

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Thailand website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Beyond these recommendations, our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with  two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.

To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by getting a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.

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