Explore and conserve Thailand's diverse ecosystems - from the jungle to the beach!

This two-week program is an adventure to explore, learn about, and help conserve the most beautiful and amazing landscapes of Thailand, from the rain forests and mountains in the North to the coral reefs and tropical beaches in the South. Join expert conservationists studying and protecting these delicate ecosystems and the sea turtles and elephants that call them home.

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• Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary
• Snorkel coral reefs and visit tropical beaches
• Hike, zipline, and raft the rainforest and jungle

Who It's For

This program is open to students and young adults age 18 - 23. There are no academic pre-requisites for this program. You must be able to swim and be physically fit enough for outdoor activities such as hiking and snorkeling.

Groups have a maximum of 12 students and will be lead by an American science professor and a Thai tour guide. Courses and excursions in Koh Tao will be lead by the researchers and staff at New Heaven Reef Conservation Program.


Arrive in Chiang Mai on Sunday evening for a welcome dinner and orientation. If you are already in Thailand and connecting this with another program, you'll say goodbye to your first group a few hours before you meet you new Wild Tropics group.

We spend the first week of the program based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Known as the "Rose of the North", this mountain city is the perfect base from which to explore rain forests, mountains, cloud forests, and the beautiful culture of Thailand.

Visit Doi Inthanon National Park to appreciate its beautiful cloud forests, with temples that rise above the cloud line and wonderful waterfalls at the top of the world. Volunteer at a reforestation project run by the university. Raft a jungle river.

Spend a day ziplining through the rain forest and learn how zipline projects contribute to conservation efforts. Take an amazing overnight trek into the jungle, including a visit to a hilltribe village and an overnight at a hot springs. Wander through a mountain templed into the Chiang Dao caves and explore its depths by lanternlight -- the cool air here is home to thousands of bats (who stay up high and away from you!).

In addition to our daily adventures, we will explore cultural activities in the evening such as a trying a meditation lesson with Buddhist monks, shopping in the city craft and food markets, visiting an arts village and trying our hands at making paper, and touring 700-year-old city temples.

In week 2, we fly and ferry to the island of Koh Tao ("Turtle Island") in the Gulf of Thailand. With the little sandy bay just steps from our rooms, we will fill our days with morning beachside yoga (included but optional), snorkeling to track marine life, building an artificial reef, and learning from the experts at New Heaven about marine animals and conservation.

On Saturday, we will say goodbye to our island home and head back to Chiang Mai for one last night of city life. On Sunday, we spend a day at the Elephant Nature Park, witnessing elephant conservation in action and helping to feed and bathe these rescued beauties before heading on to the airport.

Sound like such a blast that you'll want to stay longer? Add another program after Wild Tropics in which case you'll meet your new group at the airport. Otherwise, it's time to head home, leaving a piece of your heart in Thailand forever.

Courses and Hours

If you are planning to apply to vet school, this program provides:

  • 15 animal experience hours
  • 10 research hours
  • You will be issued a certificate for 30 service hours at the end of the program. You may also request a transcript for "Tropical Ecology and Conservation: From Cloud Forests to Coral Reefs," the Pass/Fail academic course that is part of this program. This may be necessary if you are applying for credit at your school.

    Some of the topics explored during this program are:

  • Coral reef ecology and reef invertebrates
  • Climate change and coral reefs
  • Shark population dynamics
  • Giant clam and sea turtle research
  • Deforestation and reforestation research
  • Culture and Development
  • Cloud forest ecology
  • Umbrella species and conservation
  • Plight of the Asian Elephant
  • Tuition and Dates

    "Wild Tropics" takes place June 30 - July 16. The program tuition is $3,850, which includes all housing, meals, program fees, activities, equipment, and transportation in Thailand (including flight within Thailand and boat travel). International airfare is not included and is estimated at $1,800 including all taxes and fees for a roundtrip flight with the group from New York.

    This program is an excellent stand-alone program, or you can combine this program seamlessly with College Veterinary Service: Thailand for an additional tuition but no additional airfare. Combining two programs will give you an automatic 10% discount on tuition. It can also be combined with our Veterinary Service: South Africa program. You will be responsible for additional airfare costs between Thailand and South Africa.

    Housing and Meals

    All housing and meals are included in your tuition. In Chiang Mai, we stay in dorm housing with air conditioning, separated by gender, with shared bathrooms. Staff is housed on-site. On Koh Tao, we stay at New Heaven in double rooms by gender. Students may have twin beds or may have to share a bed, and rooms may have air conditioning or fan.

    Breakfasts are Western (eggs, toast, etc) and lunches and dinners are to-order at local restaurants. We can accommodate food allergies and special diets (vegan, vegetarian, etc). Please contact us for more information if you require special food accommodations.

    How to Apply

    On the Application for Admission, choose "Wild Tropics" as your program.

    If you want to combine with another program or add a bonus week, please select that on your application as well. If you have any questions about how to combine programs, you can contact us at admissions@loopabroad.com.

    For More Information

    Message us on Facebook, call us at (617) 412-0838, fill out the contact form, or send an email to admissions@loopabroad.com any time!