Supporting Education

Opium trade solutions



This adventure is based in the northenmost part of Thailand, within the Golden Triangle and close to Chiang Rai. The tropical jungles, rolling hills and serene waters of the Maekok River provide a breathtaking location for this service based tour. The indigenous 'Hill Tribe' communities are an integral part of the cultural heritage of the region but they encounter social, economic and envrionmental issues. Students will be able to engage in service work that helps the local people deal with these issues.



The Hill Tribe communities of Northern Thailand encounter major issues in social, economic and environmental factors. This adventure will help students to understand causes, consequences and solutions to these problems. Environmental conservation, cultural preservation and wellbeing are some of the concepts that this trip can cover.


It is possible to carry out a wide range of Biology and Geography fieldwork on this adventure. Students can also develop their teaching skills with the local primary schools and practical skills in developing the local facilities. Through interacting with the local hill tribe communities, the students will learn about key issues in authentic context.

The service projects here focus on supporting the Hill Tribe communities.  The students can take part in projects that are improving the education facilities in the region as well as teach English to the local primary children. Students can also gain an insight into the work of NGO's and the Royal projects in the region.


The base for this adventure is the Maekok River Village Outdoor Centre in Tha Ton. It is about 70km from Chiang Rai and 200km from Chiang Mai. From the UK most flights will connect via Bangkok and then onto either Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai.

Hill tribe communities often face marginalization and discrimination due to their distinct cultural practices, language, and traditional way of life. They may experience limited access to educational opportunities, healthcare, and basic services, which can hinder their social and economic development.


Access to quality education remains a challenge for hill tribe children. Cultural and language barriers lead to dropouts, limiting their opportunities for personal and professional development. The community work helps to ensure local children have access to schools with adequate facilities. They have also established a Special Needs Centre for students.

Education improvements

The Golden Triangle has a long history with the opium trade. As well as visiting the Hall of Opium museum, students can study what is being done to help local farmers move away from their reliance on growing opium poppies in the region.

Opium farming implications & solutions

The Maekok River Village Outdoor Centre is a purpose-built education centre with accommodation, facilities and activities all designed with school groups in mind. The centre is owned and run by Bryan and Rosie Massingham, themselves ex-international school teachers. Every year more than 2,500 students and teachers from across the world visit, and many of those schools return year after year.



There are dormitory rooms for students and separate individual rooms for teachers. There is a range of options depending on your budget and all come with essential air conditioning.

Food & Drink

The restaurant has wonderful views across the Fang Valley and Wa Wee Mountains. Breakfast combines Asian and Western cuisine while other meals tend to be buffet style and generally Thai. The food is of excellent quality and always commented on by previous guests.


The 'Bamboo Club' comprises a social area for students with a snack bar. They have facilities for snooker, table tennis, basketball and much more. There is even a swimming pool that students can use.

Optional Extras

The outdoor activity centre has onsite facilities and instructors for climbing, archery, bushcraft skills, Thai cooking, high ropes & confidence course. Offsite they also run rafting, kayaking, biking and hiking activites.

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