River Cruise: Arriving in Thailand!

The time has come to visit our last country in Term 2!

We set off in the morning up the Mekong after a heavily anticipated rest in our jungle cabins. Rising early for our 7 AM departure, a hot breakfast was served at the river hotel prior to departing on our second long day. With our stomachs full of eggs and fruit, students nestled back into their napping positions on the cruise ship just before lunch was served.

As teachers marked and students slept, we neared closer to Thailand as the boat calmly made its way up the Mekong. Many fishermen could be spotted off the shores with their nets cast for the daily catch. Our ship docked just before noon to visit another remote village in Laos known as Ban Gon Dturn. The village was settled 300 years ago when the ancestors of this village’s people fled China from persecution.

With a population of just over 850, this village prides itself on its agricultural produce and the popular silk weaving. We noticed that the houses are raised on stilts and learned that this was to protect the rice storage from pillaging mice. We also learned that many of the men have tattoos covering all over their body as a means of protection from the spirits and to demonstrate their strength.

While the silk scarves were eye-catching, our students were entertained by the herds of puppies that wandered throughout the village. Dozens of small dogs were scattered among the houses as our students chased and played with them during our visit. Some of us tried to smuggle the dogs back onto the ship but it wasn’t before long that the mother dogs came looking.

Meagan had this to share about their two days spent on the Mekong:

“I thought the cruise to Thailand was quite pleasant. I spent most of my time on the boat working on homework while watching the beautiful views. The boat was a great way for all of us to connect with each other away from technology. Overall, I really enjoyed the cruise… we learned about the different tribes in Laos had a great time along the way.”

Lunch was then served on the boat after we returned from the village and our voyage to the Laos/Thailand border continued.

Classes were then held aboard the cruise as students and teachers grouped for their lessons. Business was busy reviewing for a quiz as calculus continued with equations and derivatives. Our young social scientists conducted a two-part survey on gender characteristics where they had to survey the boat and engage with other friendly tourists before reaching Thailand.

We arrived in Chiang Rai late last night and enjoyed a quick dinner before heading to bed in our new rooms. Some of us will be visiting an elephant sanctuary on Saturday with an optional trekking excursion to take place Sunday. We will also be visiting the White Temple this week before making our way down to Koh Lanta.

Yours in Thailand,
Nic