Gap Year

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

Frogs! Turtles! Mammals! Fun! Food! The people, the wildlife, the general fact that this place is a magical haven!

The kit-list would have been better if it highlighted the importance/unimportance of certain items. Maybe it could be written by volunteers themselves. Also, maybe more training earlier in the project.

All staff were lovely, friendly, helpful, welcoming and smiley; as was everyone else! Camp is my favourite place in the whole world! Beds are good, food is amazing, what more could you want?

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Nov 10, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I had an amazing time and really enjoyed this project it was a culture shock when we first arrived however we were very well informed of what to do and where to go. On the first day everyone had a meeting by the second day we were out doing surveys. For me the most enjoyable part of the project was being away from society being in the jungle and doing the turtle nest survey. I recommend future volunteers make sure that they buy a good quality hammock to bring out with them as you are sleeping in it everyday. Make sure it's comfortable this is an essential item don't to save money on this item.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Nov 10, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

After several bus rides and a boat trip we arrived on the island of Omotepe. We stayed in the Hostel Magdalena which had beautiful views over the volcano and Lake Nicaragua. Whilst on Omotepe we visited the picturesque fresh water beach where we chilled out in the sun and went for a swim in the clear blue waters. We had lunch in a cosy beach side café and lazed around in hammocks for the rest of the day, enjoying the relaxing atmosphere. Our journey continued to the colonial town of Granada which had a bustling central square full of street sellers selling colourful jewellery and ornaments. We stayed in Hospedaje Central which had large comfortable dorms. Whilst in Granada we enjoyed a guided Kayak tour on the Laguna Apoyo, sightseeing round the town and enjoyed the traditional Nicaraguan dances and local music in the nearby bars. We then continued to Leon on the local ‘chicken bus’. We stayed in a fantastic hostel, called Bigfoot, which had a really relaxed atmosphere. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to go volcano boarding, after a long and tiring trek to the top of the volcano dragging our boards up with us we were rewarded by breathtaking views. We all boarded down the volcano, which was very scary but exhilarating. Some of us were better at it than others and one or two of us had a couple of tumbles but it was all good fun.

The night life in Leon is fantastic with there being numerous bars to enjoy the party atmosphere in. We all danced the night away to lots of Spanish tunes before crawling back into our comfy beds at Bigfoot.

We then headed up into the hills of Miraflor for our conservation project. Over the next three weeks we visited three different locations - Centro de Gestion, Finca Esmeralda and Orro Verde. During this time, we did daily birding sessions for an hour every morning and evening. Amongst others, we sighted many grackles, hummingbirds, toucans, flycatchers and vultures. We also performed daily butterfly catching sessions to compare their relative abundance and distribution between the three different areas. Also, whilst in Miraflor, we enjoyed a day of horse ridding with a local guide. The trip was very enjoyable and we were each given a delightful placid horse and spent six hours in the saddle. We trekked through the dense picturesque Nicaraguan forest and splashed through rivers - we had a lovely day, although we ached a bit afterwards! In Miraflor we were lucky enough to be able to bathe in the beautiful crystal clear waterfalls. After the boiling hot trek to the waterfall it was so refreshing to cool off in the icy cold waters. At the last location, Orro Verde, we went on a guided tour of the communities organic coffee plantations, which was very interesting and gave us an insight into how the coffee plants are grown, whilst in the cloud forest, local families cooked for us. We enjoyed a combination of rice, potatoes, beans, eggs, plantain and tortillas for breakfast and tea. We were also taught by the local women how to make tortillas which was great fun although quite a long process. After recharging our batteries in Leon we travelled to Utila, which is one of the bay islands on the Caribbean.

Frontier voluntiers training for PADI Open Water certificationWhilst in Utila, we all decided to work for our PADI Open Water certificate. Obtaining the PADI qualification involved taking a written exam and completing lots of practical work under the water. Scuba diving was one of the best experiences ever and the feeling of being under water is like being in a whole different world. We were meters away from colourful fish, breathtaking coral and enormous sea turtles. We would all recommend the experience to everyone. The nightlife on Utila was almost as exciting as the diving and there was one particularly impressive bar called Treetanic which was built around a tree and had mosaic design inside it. It was beautiful!

We then travelled to the tranquil town of Copan where the cobbled streets and beautiful countryside made for a very relaxing couple of days. We also visited the Copan ruins and had a guided tour, which gave us an interesting insight into the Mayan culture and history. After our relaxing stay in Copan we headed for the bustling town of Antigua. We spent all day looking around the exciting street stalls and buying unique gifts for friends and family. We than caught a boat across Lago Atitlan to San Pedro. We spent a cool three days there chilling out (or hotting up!) in thermal pools, kayaking on the beautiful lake and relaxing in the hippy hangouts. We then travelled through Coban to Semuc Champey. We visited the natural pools which were amazing - they were all connected by waterfalls and we spent hours relaxing in the sun by the clear waters. Finally, we went tubing, which was very exhilarating but got us soaking wet!

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 20, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Just reached Costa Rica with the trail, and looking forward to a month at the rainforest conservation camp. It's been a blast so far, visiting three different Mayan sites, in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. We've been diving, volcano boarding, trekking, tubing and lots more. I'm loving my group and the trail leader and wish it wouldn't end!

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 11, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

The project is excellently managed and when participating you can see the reasons for all the surveys you do. The staff work tirelessly to ensure you get the most out of the project.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 10, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I thoroughly enjoyed the Ethical Adventure Trail and am therefore pleased overall with my experience. The countries we visited, activities we did and the people we met were brilliant.

I could not fault the trail leader from start to finish. Her travelling experience and Spanish were indispensable. She was also friendly, fun and compassionate which I found to be essential when I was unwell. The trail would not have been the same without her!

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 10, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I really enjoyed camp, the food and the relaxed lifestyle. The staff are great -
very friendly and helpful as are all the other volunteers. It has been great to mix with such a variety of different people.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Sep 22, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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