Southeast Asia Explorer with Gapforce

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About

Travel to three of Southeast Asia's most sought-after destinations; Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Engage in the community as well as help with conservation efforts. Some highlights include, wandering around Bangkok & Chiang Mai, helping out at an elephant sanctuary, watching sunsets over the temples of Angkor Wat and take boat rides around the famous rivers.

Highlights
  • Explore Bangkok & Chiang Mai
  • Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary
  • Relax on paradise Thai beaches
  • Watch the sunset over amazing temples of Angkor Wat
  • Assist on a vital house-building project in Cambodia

Questions & Answers

Reviews

90%
based on 12 reviews
  • Housing 7.8
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 12 of 12
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Emilie
9/10

Southeast Asia

This was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I got to meet some amazing people from around the world and travel to 3 different countries all whilst learning new things and having fun. The leaders were really nice and funny. They were always available if you needed help or even just if you needed someone to talk to. The volunteering was so rewarding and humbling. It was also really hard work but in the end, it was totally worth it. The places we visited were also very varied and so were the activities. We went to several big cities, had some outdoor activities such as hiking, we went to some museums and also several beaches.
I really recommend this trip to anyone who wants to travel and discover a new culture all whilst having fun.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Nina
10/10

10/10!

This trip has brought so much knowledge and joy into my life. From the people involved, to the places traveled it was an amazing experience.

We traveled all around Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam for 2 months, staying in 14 different hostels. We visited beaches, temples, elephants, major tourist attractions, and went on hikes leading to beautiful waterfalls. There was always something to do or something for us to see!

Although the people in the group had chatted online, I was still nervous spending two months with people I barely knew. Luckily, I enjoyed spending time and learning about different cultures within the people in the group.

We had events that included everyone in the group, as well as free days that we could explore the cities by ourselves, and optional activities that we would pay out of pocket to participate.

Our guides were awesome! They were supportive at all times, and people could go to them with any problem they had. They were proactive and did everything in their power to make the trip fun for everyone!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Morgan
9/10

Life changing

Okay so you know when you read those super cheesy reviews and you’re like “oh, they’re probably being so over dramatic” well no I’m not, I’m being damn straight with you. This trip was incredible. I’ve not only become more equip to deal with traveling (solo or group) but I’ve learned a bucket load of life lessons. (If your piss is orange please drink more water) Oh and don’t forget the life long friends I’ve made who I can now crash at their houses while traveling ;) #budgeting but for real, like Ellie said in her comment and I believe Kate said it too, this trip changes you, you come out of it more humble, experienced and damn well more confident. I really do recommend this trip for anyone willing to take that screw it leap of faith because I promise you, you will have the time of your life.

P.S.
-Bring good reliable water bottle
- Do your research, I mean going in blindfolded can be fun but probably not the best choice when entering a foreign country....
-Don’t over pack, you will be angry at yourself
-Air con will make bus/train rides cold so please bring a jumper and warm pants (or a travel blanket)
-There is never such a thing as too much bug spray or sunscreen
-Highly reccomend 3 pairs of head phones because if you’re like me you will lose 2
-Group trips are so much more fun with a speaker ;)

How can this program be improved?
As a few others said
-Water should be included into the food/money budget I can’t tell you how much money I spent on it...
- Over budget, I think $150 is appropriate, maybe $200 if you want to live lavish...
- Please, pretty please with a cherry on top rewrite that packing list, it is absolutely dreadful. I didn’t use half of the stuff it told me to bring (aka hence the over packing comment where I was slightly upset with myself for bring that much stuff)
- More activities would be better however set down-time days would be nice too (kind of enjoyed how we ventured away from the itinerary)
Yes, I recommend this program
Ellie
8/10

Best experience ever!

The Southeast Asia Explorer trip has been one of the best experiences of my life so far! We have seen some AMAZING things like Elephants, waterfalls, mountains, halong bay, temples and so much more. There is a multitude of things to do here that you can never be bored!
This trip has given me the confidence to travel on my own and to navigate my way around any situation. I feel like I’ve become a more strong, confident, independent woman who can face the world.
In conjunction with that, this trip has also made me a more open minded person. There are so many ways of life that people don’t see on tv so it’s a bit shocking at first but seeing how others live gives you the drive to want to change the world. For example in Cambodia there was an obscene amount of garbage and there were children begging on the streets. It was something I’m not used to but it’s how things are. The situation in Cambodia (and many other parts of the world) is not helping global efforts to stop Climate change. We as a whole world need to stop producing so much waste and leaving it to rot on the ground or in the ocean but it’s a group effort that will get us to our goal.
Back to the trip: I would recommend bringing more money that was suggested on the website since there are many optional activities that cost a bit more money. We went on a hike that cost 900 baht ($27 or £21) and that took a chunk out of the $100 per week. Maybe bring $150?
Another reccomendation is research where you’re going beforehand since there was some flexibility in the itinerary so we were able to go where we wanted. Like in Cambodia we went to the palace and some other places that I don’t believe were on the original itinerary.

Basically this trip is amazing as a stepping stone to becoming a solo traveler. It gives you confidence, perspective and love for the world around you.

How can this program be improved?
More included activities, water should be paid for (it shouldn’t be part of the food budget) and more clarity with what is going on.
Yes, I recommend this program
Kate
8/10

My Gap Year experience

I really enjoyed this expedition overall, it was an amazing experience and a great way to start my gap year off. I would really recommend this expedition to anyone who is looking to learn about different cultures, ways of living and try some amazing food! This expedition is definitely for people who love the outdoors and who love being active. The rest days you have will be very much appreciated! I felt that going through a company like Gapforce was really beneficial as it meant I was able to experience these 3 amazing countries with no stress about travel or accomodation. The safety of the trip was pretty good overall. Some areas felt more safer than others but that is the beauty of travelling. As the trip progressed I found I was embracing the local cultures more and more and I felt a lot more comfortable. Being with such an amazing group of people really made it easy to settle in and avoid homesickness. To give some highlights, I really enjoyed our trip to Angkor Wat and our trip to Koh Tao island in Thailand. The volunteering was also an amazing experience and learning about the education system in Cambodia. Halong Bay in Vietnam was also an amazing experience and a great way to end our trip!

How can this program be improved?
Not a lot could have been improved on this trip personally. However I feel as though the advised amount of money per week could have been increased as I found I was spending more than I expected. I would have liked there to be more included activities, mainly so we could spend more time as a group in the day time. I also feel like some of the hostels could have been placed in more convenient locations near the city in order to avoid costs on taxis to get to the city and back. Overall I really enjoyed the trip and have definitely made friends for life!
Yes, I recommend this program
Elyse
9/10

South East Asia 2018

Highly recommend this trip especially if this is your first time traveling alone. I was able to meet so many new people from all of the world and explore beautiful places without worrying about planning my explorations.

I would recommend bringing more money then advised because there are so many optional activities that you do not want to miss out on. One of the more expensive optional activities on the trip was scuba diving in Koh Tao island but paying the extra amount was so worth it!
Also pack minimally! You will buy way more things than you think. Or at least I thought.
Our guides Terence and Laszlo were super helpful throughout our journey. They Always had fun activities planned for us. One of the highlights of our trip was white water rafting and hiking in Chiang Mai!
This trip is the perfect chance to discover more about yourself and come out of your shell. The best advice I could give someone going on this trip is to always say yes because you won’t want to miss out on anything South East Asia has to offer.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kayla
8/10

South East Asia

This was my first time leaving North America and it was a great way to step out of my comfort zone. I had an amazing time learning about each of these unique countries and their cultures. The staff made me feel safe and comfortable ever step of the way. This is an extremely valuable trip for anyone wanting To experience different culture and make friends from all over the world. The time I spent here allowed me to explore who I was independent from the comforts of home and gain a better understanding of who I am. I would highly recomend this trip to anyone who is unsure of what to do out of high school or just looking for a break. For me the highlights of the trip where the Thai islands, Angkor Wat, and all of Vietnam. The best part of the trip however was probably all of the different foods. There are options for every kind of diet and all of them delicious. Over all great experience. Thank you Gap Force!

How can this program be improved?
Allowing for more time in one place so participants have more time to explore the area.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jessica
8/10

4 Weeks in Thailand

This program was an extremely fulfilling experience, in which I was able to learn about a different culture, enjoy exciting activities, and make a large group of friends. There were ups and downs, as there is with any trip, but the positives that the trip provided far outweighed the negatives that I personally experienced. The only thing that I wish was different was that we spent some time in the jungle as was advertised on the website. Despite this, there was still a good variety in terms of what we did; we visited cultural landmarks, participated in high energy activities, and also had time to relax. There is something for everyone. Overall, I believe my 4 weeks away was a character-building life experience, and I would recommend this program to others who are unsure, or lack the confidence to travel independently for the first time.

How can this program be improved?
It could stick more closely to the itinerary summary that is provided on the website.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Peter
9/10

Growing

I've wanted to go travelling on my own or just without family for the past 10 or so years.
Mental illness has played a big part in stopping me from following that dream. A friend of mine told me she was going on this trip with a company called Gapforce to Thailand, Vietnam + Cambodia. In the time I had, I worked out I had enough money to go to Thailand for the first 4 weeks of this adventure.
Skip forward to now. I'm packed and ready for my flights home tomorrow. The one thing I'm not ready for are the goodbyes. This trip has helped me in ways I couldn't have imagined. I've met a lot of beautiful people. I've eaten a lot of amazing food and I've toured around such a stunning country.
The kindness shown by the companies employees, from the manager right the way down to our team leaders has been such an uplifting experience! Honestly couldn't have asked for better leaders!!
Nothing but positivity has stemmed from this trip and I'm all the better for it.
Thank you helping me find a better me.

How can this program be improved?
Not really sure, I'll let you know more when I have enough money to book and go on another adventure with you guys!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Mandi
10/10

Incredible

This trip exceeded my expectations more than I could’ve imagined. If you have any doubts about a trip like this, look past them and sign up anyway! It is so incredible, and you will have the time of your life. Southeast Asia is absolutely breathtaking, it will feel surreal to see the landscapes you’ll encounter, like you’re in a movie. I was unsure about traveling with a group of people I’d never met, but I ended up making connections with people that I hope will last a lifetime. This trip has changed me immensely, and made me more sure of myself both as a traveler and in my day to day life. The only bad thing that will come out of this trip is when you have to go home! I made some of the best memories in my life on this amazing trip, and it gave me a better perspective on my goals and who I want to be. Don’t let uncertainty or fear keep you from experiencing this life changing adventure. And when you get there, give the trip your all. Make the most of every day there, go explore, take hikes, wake up early some days and stay up late to see how the city changes when the sun goes down. Fully immerse yourself in wherever you are, and I promise you’ll have the best time. Don’t forget to journal, or at least take some time to reflect to yourself and take a moment to appreciate where you are. You’ll want to remember how you felt when you get home. To sum it all up even though it’s hard to put how great this trip is into words: do it. Thailand is incredible, Gapforce is incredible, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to look forward to!

How can this program be improved?
Some items on the itinerary could be changed or made optional, such as less time in Kanchanaburi or more planned activities there. Also the kit list could use an update, I packed a lot of camping items and such that I didn’t need.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tristen
10/10

Say Yes

I've learned much more on this 6 week trip about myself and the world then I did in four years of higher education. This trip has showed me alot about myself and what really makes me happy. I am already planning my second trip because of how amazing this one was. This trip gave enough freedom to where I would feel comfortable traveling by myself, but the structure it did have made it less stressful for a first time traveler. The volunteer groups made me so excited to get out and try to help the community some more. The experiences and lessons from them are indescribable! I really can not see myself traveling without finding at least one volunteer program. really couldn't reccomend this trip enough! The sights and learning experience will be something you carry with you forever. If you do decide to come on this trip the biggest thing I could advise is to always say yes with a smile! Take risks and put yourself in positions you wouldnt normally put yourself in. Say yes to hikes even if you do not do it at home. Say yes to getting a little messy and learning a new task. You learn so much about yourself and what you really can do when putting yourself in those situations. If you dont you will miss out on some golden opportunities. The leaders are very helpful and amazing people. They will help make you feel as comfortable as you can in those new situations, so just know you are never alone. There are too many amazing memories to really pick one favorite. Some being all the laughs and experiences shared with the people I can now call some of my best friends. I think one memory that does stand out would building a house in just three days. To see what our group was capable of when working together and even the things I noticed about just myself were unexplainable. To finally hand it over to the family and see just how much this act had changed their lives. The feeling is something that could never be beat. Please to all who are thinking about doing this program say yes! Go for it and I promise you you will never forget it.

How can this program be improved?
An updated kitlist from the office. Did not use alot of stuff on the kitlist which was apparently an old list. It also would have been nice to have more contact with the leaders before hand because there were questions the office would try to answer that could have been better answered by the leader.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Samantha
10/10

Gapforce Thailand Adventure Program

I cannot recommend this program enough. I'm 19 years old and had never left the United States before this trip. This experience opened my mind to not only Thai culture, but culture from all around the world. In my program alone, we had people from America, England, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Wales. These are people that I now call some of my best friends, and that now give me a place to stay in 5 countries in the world. That in itself is amazing when reflecting upon the experience. This trip gives you opportunities to step out of your comfort zone, emerge yourself in nature, and try hundreds of new things. I highly recommend this program for anyone who feels stuck in a rut, or just wants to get out there. Gapforce provides opportunities to travel spontaneously, but also with structure. Having leaders to make reservations for you, ensure safety, and be there for anything you need is extremely reassuring when in a new place. Pack light, turn your phone off, and make it happen. Its now or never (:

Yes, I recommend this program

About GapForce

Gapforce is a leading provider of structured Gap Year programs and summer opportunities overseas. The wide range of global adventures includes marine conservation, wildlife protection, community volunteering & healthcare, extreme expeditions,...