Thailand has been a must visit destination for decades, as tourists flock to the beaches, temples and crowded markets to get a small taste of these exotic lands and experience some of the best that street food and cultural experiences Southeast Asia has to offer. A land covered in beautiful mountain peaks, unrivaled white sand beaches and deep jungle bustling with sensational creatures. Thailand’s inviting landscape is matched by its local people and therefore it’s easy to see how it’s earnt the nickname the "Land of Smiles”.
Thailand is the newest destination to be added to our popular Adventure Guide Program (AGP) offerings, which already successfully runs in Queenstown and Nelson in New Zealand, as well as Patagonia, Argentina throughout the year. We’ve chosen the Kingdom of Thailand (originally called Siam) to run our six week AGP not only for the reasons above, but because it’s also an internationally renowned and celebrated climbing destination. From single pitch sport routes and some bolted multi-pitch routes; some in jungle and some others hanging knowingly over the white sand beaches, you’ll find this limestone rich rock waiting patiently to be explored in the most magical of settings. Thailand is a destination that is so full of opportunity for life changing experiences that it’s impossible not to throw caution to the wind and get stuck into outdoor adventure, whatever that means for you.
So, that’s Thailand. No doubt you can already envision yourself climbing overhanging rock over the glistening turquoise waters, celebrating the fact that when your body starts to fatigue from your effort you can allow yourself to simply let go and feel the cooling water catch you as your body submerges into the refreshing depths of the ocean beneath. And when your day of climbing is over, leisurely cruising on over to the closest beach shack to sink a beer or two, sharing in conversation with others from the rock-climbing community who have also flocked to this adult playground of adventure and exploration.
If you’re keen to explore Thailand but are unsure as to whether or not this six week program is for you, keep on reading. We’ve put together a list of 5 rockin’ things to know about our Adventure Guide Program.
1 - It’s constructive travel, where you’ll learn new skills
We’re not saying that you need to be able to justify the act of going to Thailand for 6 weeks, however, the opportunity to combine cultural exploration, beach time and a few too many bottles of Chang alongside developing brand new skills in the outdoors, is never a bad one. At the end of the six weeks you’ll not only have mastered the art of balancing work and play, but you’ll have a solid understanding of risk management practices, instruction styles and demonstrate total competency at climbing briefs. Oh, and in addition you’ll also gain internationally recognised qualifications as you tick off your NZOIA Rock training and assessments, as you guide real life customers!
2 – You’ll be able to explore your new home with a whole group of tight knit, brand-new friends
Anyone who’s spent time hostel hopping, taking long and bumpy bus rides, and exploring popular travelling hotspots will know that it’s never too difficult to make friends whilst you’re on the road. Having said that, previous Pure Ex participants always feed back to us that fellow program participants become much more than friends on the road – they become your family. The Thailand Adventure Guide Program is specifically designed to create deep and long-lasting connections with your fellow course mates as you live, climb, study, explore, eat with and enjoy life in Thailand together. Your group is made up of like minded individuals from all around the world, who have also decided to embark on this life enhancing adventure, for reasons similar to yours. There’s no better feeling than the enthusiastic, authentic group support you receive when clambering up a rugged rock face, pushing yourself to your limits.
3 – Find yourself immersed in the local community
The Thailand Adventure Guide Program is six weeks long and although that doesn’t seem long enough to become a member of a local community, it does give you a chance to immerse yourself authentically, with both the local Thai’s and the strong and present rock-climbing community. Alongside climbing and exploring Chiang Mai, Lampang, Nam Pha Pa Yai, Bangkok, Krabi and Railay you’ll also spend some time getting stuck into authentic life in Thailand. Over the six weeks we’ll spend time learning about permacultural farming in Lampang forest and mangrove restoration – where we also spend the week living with the local farm owners. In addition to sustainable farming and home-stays we also spend time brushing up on our Thai cooking skills at a local cookery class and even get to be pro's at building clay ovens. You’ll also take on a leadership role as you conduct client days, taking both locals and tourists out to your (now familiar) neck of the woods to guide them climbing as part of your NZOIA assessments.
4 – The program is suitable for climbers of all levels
Thanks to the diverse landscape and rock-climbing locations in Thailand we can accommodate climbers of all levels on our Adventure Guide Program. From well-seasoned climbing pro’s to those who’ve never worn a harness before, we believe rock climbing is an enriching experience to be enjoyed by all, despite experience and skill level. For curious newcomers don’t panic, we’ll 'show you the ropes' and get you off the ground in no time! And for those of you who are ready to test the waters and up-skill themselves, we can take your knowledge to ‘new heights’! Regardless of where or what you’ve climbed before there will be abundant opportunities to challenge yourself and do things you didn’t think were possible.
5 – We practice applying the ‘leave no trace’ principles
We recognise the importance of responsible climbing and we practice what we preach, ensuring that participants on our Adventure Guide Program also try and apply the ‘leave no trace’ principles where possible. What does that mean exactly?
- We ensure we pack reusable bottles, containers and bags to avoid bringing additional trash to landfill and encourage you to do the same.
- We attempt to avoid climbing on cliff edges, cracks or ledges that are prone to erosion to avoid further damage.
- We support the local community by purchasing gear and supplies locally where possible.
- We are mindful of plants and other vegetation which can be fragile and ensure we don't encroach on natures space causing avoidable harm to the environment. We respect wildlife by staying a safe distance away always, and not feeding any hungry animals (despite how tempting it might be!)
If you're keen to find out more, or sign up to our Thailand 6 week Adventure Guide Program you can find out more here!