Asia

Frontier

The group first met in Bangkok, everyone was very friendly and it wasn't long before we were having several yummy cocktails. It only took a couple of days to acclimatise to the heat of Bangkok and experience the culture. First we visited the Grand Palace, which is immaculate and the intricate detail put into the buildings is incredible!

After a short mini bus ride, we arrived in Kanchanaburi where we stayed in little wooden huts suspended over the river Kwai. This area is made famous by the film 'the bridge over the river Kwai' which we visited on a long boat tour of the area, as well as the history museum and some huge Buddhist caves.

We returned to Bangkok for one last night before heading off on an overnight bus to Pai, where we lived in the chilled out lifestyle of the locals, even spending an afternoon swimming in an eco pool. The following day, we went for a long scenic cycle ride up in the hills, stopping to feed an elephant and also visiting Pai Canyon.

From Pai, we travelled through the treacherous mountain roads down to Chiang Mai where we celebrated the Thai new year (Songkran) with a massive water fight with thousands of locals and travellers, in a truly memorable experience. A group of us had the chance to watch some Thai boxing in the main stadium, this really gave us an idea of the traditional sports and entertainment.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Asia
Posted: Jan 10, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

As the trail comes to a close we have all been commenting on what a whirlwind tour of Vietnam we experienced. With just under 3 weeks to see as much as possible we squeezed in activities galore - aided by the overnight bus journeys which had beds and blankets! A great surprise after the bus journeys in Thailand!

Starting in the cosmopolitan city of Ho Chi Minh we soon became accustomed to the pace of Vietnam. With moto’s whizzing past in 10 deep throngs then crossing the road was enough of an activity alone! We had an interesting day seeing the Cu Chi Tunnels and learnt a lot about the Vietnam War with a visit to the War Remnants museum.

Next stop was Mui Ne where we spent the afternoon bombing it down enormous sand dunes on ‘sledges’ that consisted of little more than a sheet of plastic and some string. We all commented that the landscape was stunning and watching the sunset over the dunes was a memory that will stay with me for a long time.
After a whistle stop tour of Central Vietnam where we visited the mud baths of Nha Trang, enjoyed whole fresh lobsters on the beach for just $5 and managed to get entire suits and shoes tailor-made in one day in Hoi An, we finally arrived in Hanoi. With just one week left to go we all got a bit competitive trying to find the best noodle soup - the verdict was still undecided when we parted! We had a free day to take in the old quarter of Hanoi which with its crumbling colonial façade’s of buildings and tiny alleyways really was a bit of a labyrinth. The next stop was Halong Bay where we spent a day cruising around the islands on an old Vietnamese Junk marvelling at the wonderful limestone formations. That night saw some fun and games as we celebrated a birthday in style - the fancy dress outfit chosen by us for the birthday boy wasn’t exactly attractive but he had no choice but to wear it!

The last stop of the trail was Sapa which is a beautiful mountain side town right on the Chinese border. We arrived in a sudden cold spell so unexpectedly had to stock up on hats, gloves and scarves! These were very useful/a necessity as we set off the next day to climb Mount Fansipan - the highest mountain in Indochina! Not exactly a walk in the park, the trek was tough but we all had such a sense of achievement having reached the top and being the only group up there!

Still can’t believe the 10 weeks has come to an end - it’s gone by so quickly but looking back I know that I have so many brilliant memories to take home with me.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Asia
Posted: Jan 10, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

And so, the Frontier South East Asia Ethical Adventure trail has drawn to a close. The team have travelled three countries, and shared some amazing experiences. From trekking in Thailand, to setting up sports centres in Cambodia, to visiting ancient temples in Vietnam, they have embraced the opportunities on offer in this magical part of the world, learnt a lot about other cultures and met some extraordinary people. As they all head their separate ways, sincere thanks must go to trail leader for all her efforts to make this trail a truly remarkable and life changing trip.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Asia
Posted: Jan 10, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I chose to go on a trail as I wanted to be able to visit several countries in South East Asia with the guidance of someone who had been there before and could give me advice etc. Not having to worry about where I was staying each night and how I’d get to the next town etc. was a massive draw as well, it saved a lot of stress! It appealed to me to be able to meet new people from different places, and being put in a group definitely met this criteria. The trail also appealed to me as it listed teaching and gaining a TEFL certificate as part of the trip, and this was a massive influence when booking the trip with Frontier. HOWEVER, since coming back from the trip, I have just found out this is not an actual TEFL certificate and no relation to the official TEFL organisation itself, so I am hugely angry and disappointed in this and will be pursuing the issue further..

We spent a fair amount of time preparing for the lessons at the school in Cambodia, so this definitely took up some activity time! However there were definitely a fair amount of restrictions on the activities we could do due to what was deemed ‘unsafe’, sometimes unfairly so, and whether everyone in the group wanted to participate. There was however, no clear definitive list as to what activities were covered by Frontier, and this cause a lot of stress and friction in our group. There was a huge amount of miscommunication.

The accommodation was really great, thanks to the efforts of our group leader. 90% of the time we had a great choice of rooms which weren’t too cramped and were clean and comfortable. They were usually very close to the main areas we wanted to be in, and the staff at all the hostels really made it a memorable stay – they were so kind. Our group leader was so helpful and always happy to find out more info and source activities for us. She was eager to explore and experience the culture of the places we visited, so this matched my interests and rubbed off on the group in general! The other volunteers were all lovely, mostly younger than me but we all got on very well. It was great to meet people from all difference places and even countries.

The teaching we took part in was very poorly organised, we weren’t allowed to go to the planned school for the first week, so we worked at a night school further away. This was rewarding work, however there was a miscommunication with them that meant they thought we’d be there for the next three weeks. This meant that even when the planned/normal teaching resumed, we had committed to teaching at the other school as well. This made it a very long, tiring day and we had to cycle in the dark, quite far to the other school to teach there in the evening. It was also extremely disappointing to hear that Frontier made no monetary donations to the school, and for the teacher to bring this to our attention was highly embarrassing. After each of us spending so much money to be on the trip, we all expected some of this to go to the school we were teaching at.

I wanted to feel like I’d made the right decision coming on this trip, and feel like it was worth the money – sadly this did not happen. I was generally hugely disappointed with the trip and felt like there was so much miscommunication with Frontier, rules they didn’t tell us, restrictions, and misleading information. The budgets for everything on the trip were so small, and really, I didn’t see much evidence of where all the money we’d spent on the trip was going.

For any future applicants who are considering going on a Frontier trip, ask lots of questions before you book your trip, and make sure you know what is and isn’t covered by Frontier. I would do as much digging for other reviews on 3rd party sights, and just seriously consider whether you use Frontier or choose a different company. I had a bad experience travelling with them, and if I could go back I would not use them. I have also been made aware that the same problems we incurred had happened many times before on previous trips, and no changes had been made to prevent these issues arising again.

I think Frontier really needs to ensure that all the information they provide to everyone is more up-to-date and correct. Much more research needs to be done, for example the entrance fee for Angkor Wat had increased (a year before we went, consequently several groups had been before us since this change) which meant that our budget was smaller for other areas, however this should have been considered and dealt with before. Rules, regulations, and restrictions should all be translated correctly to any group members and they should be made aware of this BEFORE payment. And I strongly believe a more detailed analysis of specifically where the individual’s money is being spent, should be provided. Considering the offer was made to a member of our group that if he invited a certain number of friends, he could be a trail leader (with no experience, training or capabilities for this) I strongly get the impression that as a company, Frontier are simply out to receive as much money as possible, and are not focused on the welfare and satisfaction of those who take part in their trips.

Program: TEFL
Location: Asia
Posted: Jan 7, 2018
Overall:
3
Support:
1
Value:
3

RCDP Nepal

I was in Nepal for 5 weeks where i participated in the 2 weeks language and culture program, 2 weeks of trek and 1 week to volunteer in the monastery in the Himalayan region. The experience has been a great one. The language and culture are well organized and you are more immersed and well informed of the culture. But I liked being in the Himalayan the most, where there's no cars, motorbikes and no honking, only donkeys, yaks, horses, Sherpa and trekkers on the road. The trek was organized with a guide and porter for you and the teaching at the monastery was a fun and rewarding one. The monks ages from 8 - 16 and they are very engaged, eager to learn and interested to know where you are from and your culture.

I came also with a hope of finding spiritual revival, of finding peace and was able to find it here. Each individual will have his/ her own experience, but i think being flexible and open minded to the culture and expectation will be a plus to help you adjust if you are new to the culture. It has been a great experience and I hope to come back one day.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Asia
Posted: Oct 26, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

International Humanity Foundation

Before arriving in Medan Indonesia, I had made the worst preparations about the life here, though. After the orientation given by the director, I still got shocked. Many things are just far beyond expectations, much worse, if I have to say. What all I thought the first night after reaching here, was that how could I spend 6 weeks living here? But until now I have been here for more than 3 weeks, I love this city and I love my life here. I have never experienced such a wonderful time before. What’s more, in Indonesia I can always get a lot of surprise: people passing by always try to say hello and smile to you; you can pick mango, lemon…if you want, from the trees alongside the street; students and their parents in the center always invite you to their houses and invite you to attend their family gathering. Oh, yea~ this Sunday, one of the former local volunteering teacher is going to get married, and all the volunteers are invited to attend her wedding ceremony. I am so excited. I even bought a muslim style dress for the wedding!
It’s very nice to teach the children. Some of them are very naughty, but the thing is, if they like you, they will try to listen to you. So when the other teachers told me that the children like me because they listened very carefully, I felt so proud of myself. Usually, we do not have any class on Friday, but since the girls knew that I can speak Korean, they have always been asking me to teach them. So here we are now, Korean class, every Friday afternoon! I feel accomplished that I can teach them.
In a word, after coming to Medan, what I have got from these lovely people is much more than what I have given to them.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Asia
Posted: Aug 1, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Volunteer Projects

I’m Kelly and I’m a volunteer from China. I choose to come here because I like to stay with children and make friends with others and I really look forward to experience different culture. I’ve been here for 2 weeks and I love Banda Aceh and our center very much. Aceh center is very lovely with 2 warm-hearted directors. On week days, we have storytelling class, Mandarin class, Italian class and music class aimed at different ages and levels of students. I teach kids who are under 10 years old Mandarin and they are active and focused, which makes me delighted and feel that everything rewards. Every time I teach, I feel a sense of achievement and I’m really happy to see kids like to have Mandarin classes. At free time, we make flashcards, gardening and even make a trash bin. And at day off, directors and local volunteers take us to a nearby beach and coffee shop for relax. Banda Aceh is very beautiful and people here are very friendly. I think it’s a very precious chance to be here teaching lovely kids, making friends with other volunteers and experience local culture.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Asia
Posted: Jul 23, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

It was a really good experience to work in the school which is located in Galle, Sri Lanka, and teach them some basic English and mathematics, and they were very keen to learn. The host family provided very delicious local food and every volunteer here get along very well as well. In my point of view, this is the best part, meeting people from all around the world and I learnt a lot from them. I would definitely come back again!!

This three weeks that I stayed was the best time in my life ever, not only helping people, but also getting to know another country, specially Sri Lanka which has quite a long history behind it. The weekend trip that is organized by Michael was amazing!! We have visited all of the well known places here.

After the voluntary, I met so many friends here and it brings a lot of fun in my life. Looking forward to coming back next year, going back to the school and visit the students and teacher, most importantly, the best Sri Lankan food here:)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Asia
Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

The past 10 weeks have have been the best 10 weeks ever!! I have been on the South East Asia Ethical Trail visiting Thailand, volunteering in Cambodia and then visiting Vietnam!! We have done and seen so many different things, there are far too many highlights but here are a few - elephant trekking in Pai, visiting Angkor Wat and spending four weeks teaching English to the cutest children in Siem Reap! The trip leaders have been amazing, sorting everything out for us over the past 10 weeks and they are now known as the "dream team"!!

Program:
Location: Asia
Posted: Mar 17, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

Frontier

The Frontier trip was brilliant. I went on the South East Asia Ethical Trail and would recommend it to anyone who was interested in experiencing the culture of Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam or simply wanted an amazing trip packed with unforgettable activities and the chance to meet a great group of people who will be friends for life! The team leaders were brilliant, they sorted everything out so that you don't have to worry about any of the responsibility, and you know that you will be looked after if (in the unlikely event) anything should go wrong. I would definitely go on another trip with Frontier in the future!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Asia
Posted: Mar 17, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

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