July 19, 2022
Our dear Thailand friends and families,
Wow, we cannot believe the trip has come to an end. It has been the best three weeks with this group and we are so sad it is over. On our last day, we flew to Bangkok this morning for one last adventure. On the way there, our bus ride had a microphone, which instantly turned into karaoke. We sang all the way there! We toured the Grand Palace with our tour guide, Apple, and saw many famous monuments. The most famous one we saw was the Emerald Buddha. Afterwards, we took a boat tour on a longtail boat through the Chao Phraya River. We saw some of Bangkok’s finest architecture and truly got to immerse ourselves in the culture. It was such a fun way to end the trip. We karaoked all the way to the hotel and packed our bags for the airport. We said our goodbyes with a final Moonup and reflected on our amazing trip. We are so thankful for this group and are so impressed with how the trip went. We will miss them so much and cannot wait to see all the big things they accomplish.
Signing off one last time,
Sidney and Will
July 18, 2022
We woke up a little sad we were leaving Koh Tao but we are excited for the last couple days of our trip. We had a long, tiring travel day to Krabi beach today. This day included a taxi to the ferry dock, two different ferries, a double decker bus, and one last taxi to top it off. Although it was a long day, everyone kept their spirits high and the good energy made it so much more enjoyable! Thanks to our Leaders of the Day: Sophia and Ben, we completed all of our checkpoints flawlessly. Once we arrived in Krabi we walked across the street to a local restaurant to enjoy a well deserved dinner. Everyone is pretty worn out so we are going to bed early tonight but we are so excited for the next couple of days in Krabi! Stay tuned!
We woke up bright and early to go rock climbing and rappelling on Railay beach! We took long tail boats to the beach and passed many beautiful water cliffs. Railay is known for its world famous crags, views, monkeys, and rock climbing. Once arriving, we harnessed up and got ready to climb. Ben, Grant, and Garland were the first to reach the top. Chase impressed us all again with his skills, as expected, and the guides made new routes for him to try! Afterward, we ate lunch by the water and had a visit from some local monkeys. The kids loved taking pictures with them, especially Sage! We also saw a monitor lizard. For the second part of our day, we hiked up to a bat cave for rappelling. Miles conquered his fear of heights and went down with ease. The views were amazing and the kids took so many awesome pictures. Before heading back, we treated ourselves with some ice cream for all of the hard work we put in! For dinner, we went to the local street markets and tried chicken shawarma wraps. Erin and Kate said it was their favorite meal of the trip and they are sad they will never get to have it again. Then the next street market was the Roti stand which is a traditional Indian pancake. The fan favorite was Nutella and bananas. The kids have ordered them in every city we’ve visited! We finished our fun food night with a Moonup and the girls did face masks from 7/11. We cannot believe it is the last full day of the trip!
On our last full day in Krabi, we started our day with more rock climbing by the beach. We loved our climbing spot today; it was a perfect activity for our morning. When we left around noon, it was time to relax by the beach! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the much needed beach time and we couldn’t have asked for better weather! While Chase and Trey showed off some wrestling moves to the guys, Wells led the girls on a walk on the beach. After the beach time, we walked down the street to a restaurant on the beach for our banquet dinner! We watched the sunset, ate amazing food, and reminisced on our amazing time here. We couldn’t be more thankful for this group and we are so sad that tomorrow is our last day. It has truly been the trip of a lifetime!
Soaking up every last minute,
Will and Sydney
July 15, 2022
Today was a big travel day for the group! We woke up bright and early to catch our flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui. We are finally going to the islands! The flight went well but we encountered some serious weather issues as we boarded our two-hour ferry to the island of Koh Tao. It was a typical Thailand monsoon, but the group kept up the great energy and had fun with the tough situation! Sophia, Ben, Kate, and Will spent most of the ride playing jello as the ferry rocked back and forth. Despite many passengers on the ferry getting sick, we did not have a single incident in our group. Everyone took it like a champ. When we finally made it to Koh Tao, we explored the island and got some much-needed rest after the long travel day. We are so excited for the next few days of scuba diving and beach time!
Today we woke up excited to start our scuba diving adventure in Koh Tao! After a big breakfast our advanced dive team (Ben, Sage, Trey, Sophia) went out for their first dive. Meanwhile, our open water course team (Garland, Wells, Chase, Erin, Kate, Miles, and Grant) went to the classroom for a run down on everything they need to know for scuba diving. The advanced divers jumped right in and practiced skills underwater. Trey impressed everyone with his diving! They did two dives and headed back in, and everyone did great! After the quick morning classroom session, the open water group had a big lunch and got ready to test their knowledge in the pool! Everyone did great in the pool, and they are all very excited for their first ocean dive tomorrow. We are proud of how quickly they mastered their skills!
On our third day in Koh Tao, the advanced group started the day with a sunrise dive. Their first dive was a deep-water dive, where they went down to 100 feet! Ben and Sage were most excited for this one, and everyone did great! For the second morning dive, they did a fish identification dive. Sophia was in charge of the labeling sheet and found so many fish. They saw sting rays, puffer fish, grouper, banner fish, and barracuda. Trey was able to identify the most out of everyone! They spent the rest of the day swimming and hanging out by the beach. Our open water certification team started the day with a recap on what they learned and took a written exam (yes, you heard that correctly). No need to worry, everyone passed with flying colors and headed out for their first dive in the ocean! We were so impressed with everyone’s comfort level on their first dive. Some were a little nervous but thanks to our incredible instructors, everyone left feeling great.
We finished our day with a fun dinner, ice cream, and a Moonup on the beach! It has been so much fun exploring Koh Tao with this group! We are so proud of all of them for getting certified!
On our fourth day in Koh Tao, the open water group was the first to go out on the boat! After a big group breakfast, we split into our dive groups. The open water team dove right in (literally) to their final certification dives. Everyone successfully completed their certifications flawlessly! We are so proud of their attentiveness and effort this week, they never failed to impress us. While the open water team dove, the advanced group swam on the beach and even did some beach yoga led by Sage and Sophia while waiting for their night dive. Once the open water group finished, the advanced we’re headed off to their exiting night dive. They were given flashlights and special instruction on their boat. Trey and Ben were the first to spot sting ray and grouper! It was so fascinating to see the ocean at night and all of the wildlife that comes out. After finishing the dive, we all had dinner together as a group and shared all of our fun dive stories. We ended our night with a Moonup by the beach and are excited to all get to be on the boat together tomorrow.
We can’t believe we made it to the last day in Koh Tao! We woke up bright and early and went straight to the boat. It was so much fun getting to all dive and ride on the boat together one last time. We did 2 fun dives in some of Koh Tao’s best dive sites. Chase, Kate, Will, and Erin’s group even saw a sea turtle. We headed back to shore for lunch and enjoyed a nice meal on the beach. We were even surprised with some ice cream! We spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sun and playing on the beach. Everyone looked nice and tan by the end of the day. We finished the day with a surprise dinner at our favorite restaurant and Moonup to cap off this section of the trip. Despite the weather, we have loved our time in Koh Tao! This island is so beautiful, and we are going to miss it. Stay tuned for the final section of our trip: tomorrow we head to Krabi beach!
July 11, 2022
We’re back with an update on our amazing adventures in Chiang Mai! Yesterday we woke up bright and early and headed towards the mountains of Chiang Mai for rock climbing and rappelling. It was a long van ride, but the music made it go by fast. Wells made the group laugh by starting her day off with 7/11 ice cream at 8:00am. Once we arrived, we got our helmets and harnesses, and trekked up to the base of the mountain. Kate, Ben, Erin, Wells, Chase, Trey and Sidney started with rappelling, while Will, Miles, Sage, Sophia, Garland, and Grant rock climbed first. Trey was the first to go down and had no fear at all. Sophia killed it and did multiple climbs. The boys timed themselves during climbing and made it a fun competition on who could make it up the fastest. Will was winning until Chase came and beat him by ten seconds. The guides were so impressed with Chases’ skills, they created a new climb for him! It was such a fun day for the group, and we are so proud they all conquered their fear of heights. They are all professional climbers to say the least! Everyone was exhausted from the big day and slept the entire ride home. We treated ourselves to a big Mediterranean dinner and ice cream. It was quite the hit. We finished the night with a Moonup led by Chase and Sophia. It was a great way to wrap up our time in Chiang Mai!
For our last day in Chiang Mai, we did a Thai cooking class! Our first course was spring rolls, and it was a hit. Team Blue Chiang (Trey, Grant, and Miles) won the competition for best spring rolls. For our second course, we made coconut soup. Garland and Kate won the competition for the best soup. Next, we made everybody’s favorite, pad Thai! Everyone’s pad Thai turned out delicious, but Ben and Chase won this round. For dessert, we made mango sticky rice and butterfly tea. Sage, Sophia, Wells, and Erin killed the dessert round and impressed us all. After our cooking class, we explored the largest market in Chiang Mai. Tonight, we are heading to Bangkok, before flying to the islands. It was hard saying goodbye to our outfitters, Teem and Ad, who have spent the last week with us, but we are so thankful for everything they taught us.
We cannot believe we are leaving Chiang Mai and are shocked by how fast this trip is going by. We love this group and cannot wait for the next week in Koh Tao. More adventures, laughs, and stories to come- Talk soon!
Sidney and Will
Here are some shoutouts from the group!
Kate- hey fam I miss you guys so much. I am having the best time. See y’all soon love you guys!
Wells- hi friends! I’m just happy as a clam.
Garland- hi, I’m doing great!
Erin- hey fam having so much fun Thailand is v cool
Thailand is awesome!! Having so much fun!!
So much fun Hi sky
Having a great time in Thailand so far, hope you had a great birthday mom!
Having great time going to knock out my scuba diving
Miles- Hey everyone having lots of fun here love y’all
Chase- Howdy y’all I’m having a great time. Red Chiang for the win!
Grant- What’s going on, having fun. Love y’all.
July 8, 2022
Sawadee Ka from Thailand!
We are so excited the group has finally made it to Thailand. It has been so much fun getting to meet the group…we love them already! Once everyone made it to our hotel in Bangkok, we surprised them with late-night pizza before getting some rest. We woke up early and headed to the airport to catch our flight to Chiang Mai. Upon arrival, we took them to a traditional Thai restaurant where Sage was eager to try different foods. Afterward, we relaxed by the pool and snagged some fun snacks from 7/11. Ben decided to find the weirdest snack he could find at 7/11 and share with the group. It got very different reviews! We took the group to a fun dinner spot and explored the night markets of Chiang Mai. Everyone got a pair of elephant pants and cannot wait to wear them. We ended our night with our first Moonup and could not be more excited for the days to come!
Today was our first day of service! We woke up early and drove to the countryside of Chiang Mai and met all our wonderful hosts. Our first activity was gathering eggs from the ducks and chickens, this farm has so many animals! We also made fish food to feed all the fish. Wells and Garland took charge on making the food. Before we settled down for lunch, we had an Iron Chef competition to see who could make the best omelet: Sage, Ben, and Trey took the gold! It was so fun learning how to make a traditional Thai omelet using all the resources we harvested from the farm. After our relaxing lunch we went right back to work! The whole group participated in making composts and learning the benefits from composting on this farm. After our long workday we walked into the local town to visit some street vendors. Our favorite was the fried chicken and crepes. Once we returned to camp, it was nice to relax and throw the frisbee around. We finished with a great Moonup led by Trey and Sophia after dinner and went to bed to get some well-deserved rest. Everyone is so excited for the 4th of July tomorrow; we have some fun plans up our sleeve!
Happy 4th of July all the way from Chiang Mai! We woke the kids up with American tunes and everyone shot out of bed. Sophia was super excited for this, as she had requested it the night before! We decked out in 4th of July attire for our second day of service. The first part of our day we spent making salted eggs, which was a fun, cultural experience. We even had a contest on who could make the best salted egg salad. Erin, Kate, and Sidney’s team won! After lunch, we went to the rice patties and learned how to plant rice. Wells and Garland were the first to dive headfirst in the mud and start a mud fight. The rest of the group did not hesitate to jump in. It was such a fun day of service! To make the day even more fun, we surprised the kids with ice cream, games, glow sticks and a bonfire. Our LODs (Leaders of the Day), Wells and Chase, closed out our 4th of July with a fun Moonup. It was so fun getting to celebrate all the way across the world!
We woke the group up bright and early the next morning to visit the morning market in the local town. This is an event that only happens once a week so it was very special for all of us to experience. All the street venders set up along the road and sell just about anything you can think of. The students’ favorite was the donut stand. Garland got some fresh grown pineapples that were so tasty. Following the market, we went to finish our service at the farm we’ve been working at the last couple of days. We spent the day doing some small tasks such as making natural soap and trimming mango trees. We also learned how to make an amazing eggplant salad and a bamboo egg dish. Chase led his team to victory in the cooking exercises. This is not our last day of service, but it was our last day working with this family on their farm. We were so lucky to have such kind hosts over the last couple of days and we are sad to leave them! They treated us with a nice foot spa treatment using their homemade herbs as a reward for our hard work. After another long day of work, we walked to the local ice cream shop to treat ourselves. We finished the day playing a big game of ultimate frisbee, listening to music, and a Moonup led by Sage and Miles to cap it all off. Sidney introduced the group to a night game called Candy Man and Chase won each time. Tomorrow, we head to the village to continue our service, everyone is bringing great energy and we are so excited to learn more about Thai culture!
For our 4th day of service, we went to a local village to learn about different parts of the Thai culture. We split into 2 groups and learned about sewing, weaving, and the creation of thread. We even made our own bags with our names sewn in Thai! Kate and Sage did an amazing job with their bags! It was so much fun getting to learn about the culture and art at the village. After lunch, we learned how basket weave with bamboo and make a traditional coconut dessert. Ben was a great helper in the kitchen! We closed out the day with more ultimate frisbee, random trivia, and another great Moonup led by Erin and Grant.
Today was our final day of community service! We said our goodbyes to the 100Love camp and headed to a nearby village to build a dam for the Royal Project reservoir. This was a great activity for the students to learn about the King of Thailand and his environmental contributions to the country. All the boys stacked rocks to build up the dam while the girls mixed concrete to fill in the gaps of the wall. This was a great hands-on activity for everyone to participate in: special shoutout to Sage and Sophia for stepping out of their comfort zone and taking charge of the activity. Our LODs Ben and Kate did a great job of keeping the energy high throughout the project. Once we finished, we had lunch and drove back to the city of Chiang Mai. Once we checked into our hotel, we split up into groups and toured a few markets and temples around the city. All the students loved getting to see the temples and talk to the Monks. We had a fantastic Mexican food dinner which was a great break from all the Thai food we’ve been consuming. After dinner we explored the night market where everyone got to try new things and indulge more into Thai culture. We finished with a great Moonup and headed to bed to catch up on some much needed rest after all of the hard work. Tomorrow we will be visiting an elephant sanctuary and an animal shelter!
What a fun day we had visiting the elephant sanctuary! We started the tour with a lesson on elephant diets and even got to make our own elephant food. Miles and Garland did a great job at making the food! We got to feed the elephants and see them up close and personal. We learned that many of them were mistreated and disabled but are healthy now. We saw elephants of all different ages, including a 94 year old. After spending the morning with the gentle giants, we transitioned to some different furry friends. First, we spent time playing with cats in an area known as “Cat Kingdom.” Erin, Sidney, and Wells were in heaven! There were over 2,000 cats who resided there that have been rescued from different parts of Asia. Next, we went to the puppy rooms and played with puppies. Chase and Ben made so many new friends that they did not want to leave. Most of these dogs were rescued from floods, markets, and streets to be given new lives and care. We even got to meet the founder, Lek Chailert, who has been on National Geographic, Netflix and awarded for being one of the six women heroes of global conservation. We had so much fun here the kids have not stopped talking about it!
We are having a blast together and are loving this group! We are so proud of how hard they have worked and how quickly they have become friends over the past week. More updates to come!
Sidney and Will
July 1, 2022
Hello Thailand Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Bangkok. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!