Maybe you’re considering a gap year for 2020. Making this decision only gets easier with more information and insight – and what better way to learn about a gap year than to follow a Winterline student through the course of their travels? Lucky for you, our 2019-2020 student Liam is creating a vlog series showcasing his Winterline experience. While some things will look a little different this year due to COVID-19, the overall purpose and goals of Winterline’s program remains the same.
“One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster”. This opening line from Murray Head’s hit song One Night in Bangkok is the perfect description of the capital city of the beautiful first country of trimester 2, Bangkok, Thailand. During your stay in this massive city of over eight million citizens, your list of activities will range from exploring shrines and temples, to working out in the outdoor gym at the beautiful Lumpini park, to immersing yourself in the shopping district of Ratchaprasong, and so much more. There truly is an activity for everyone, and throughout our stay I was continuously in awe of my surroundings, and excited to see more every day!
Our activities in Bangkok began with a tour of the city with the wonderful tour guide company Bangkok Vanguards. During this tour, the squad was split into groups of three or four, each with a guide of their own, and taken to various locations in the city to complete a scavenger hunt. During this scavenger hunt, we went to places such as Wat Saket, or the Golden Mountain, as it is also known, a beautiful mountain temple renovated by King Rama 1 of Thailand. This temple had a vast view of the city in every direction, and was filled with many different buddha statues, with bells at the peak to ring for good fortune while praying.
Following the Golden Mountain, the tour took us to Chinatown, a bustling district reflective of Chinese culture in Bangkok. Very crowded and dense with many activities and sights to see, it was nothing like the Chinatowns of America; it felt much more authentic and interesting to explore. And with authentic Chinese and Thai street food on every corner, you will never go hungry. Other areas included Ratchaprasong, a massive shopping district that is home to six beautiful shrines of various gods in the Hindu religion, as well as large shopping malls and hotels. This area of the city felt very American in a way, while still managing to capture the feel of Bangkok, the heart of Thailand.
As far as entertainment goes, there is much to see and do in Bangkok. From dense night markets, to exploration, to park visits, you will never be bored during your stay here. On one of our first nights here, we enjoyed a Muay Thai (or Thai boxing) fight, where there was never a dull moment.
It is no lie that Bangkok is host to a number of spectacular temples. One of these temples is Wat Pho, one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, which happened to be directly in front of the hotel we stayed at during our time in Bangkok. This temple is home to the Reclining Buddha, a whopping 46 meter (150 foot) long depiction of the Buddha laying down during his final stages of life. This temple is not only home to important Buddhist history, it is also architecturally beautiful; one of the most amazing human creations I have ever seen with my own eyes.
Bangkok is one of the greatest cities I have ever had the pleasure of traveling to in my entire life. I would consider it a must see for anybody that happens to catch the travel bug, and thankfully, Winterline was able to provide this for their students!
Our three squads are spread across three different countries this week, and they’re each practicing different skills. Squad 1 is nearing the end of their time in Cambodia, where they took a class in bicycle maintenance before riding to Angkor Wat. They also took a class at Phare Circus School, then split up to pursue advanced skills. Our students had a choice between a 5-day meditation retreat, bicycle touring in Battambang, or getting an Advanced Open Water SCUBA certified off the coast.
Meanwhile, Squad 2 is in Nan, Thailand, where they learned the sport of Muay Thai boxing! The students also got to practice weaving and pottery, and spent some free time exploring the beauty of the countryside. Finally, Squad 3 is in Northern India, where they’ll be trekking the foothills of the Himalayas. Before taking off on this adventure, the students are getting a course in disaster medicine from the Hanifl Centre. It sure has been a busy and exciting week: see for yourself through the eyes (and photos) of our students!
This week, our students have been taking in the jaw-dropping beauty of the Taj Mahal and the grandiosity of the Angkor Wat temple complex. But they’ve been learning, too: creating marble inlays and vision boards, practicing advanced scuba diving, and cooking up a storm. The diversity of skills and culture across Southeast Asia and India are sure to be lifechanging for our students – see for yourself!
In the second week of Trimester 2, our students have settled back into their squads, new countries, and travel, meaning they’re ready for even more skills and adventure! Just like last week, our students cooked some delicious meals at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School in Bangkok and Ecole Paul Dubrule in Siem Reap. Other skills this week included ceramics, Muay Thai boxing, bicycle maintenance, and cultural exploration of the temples and city streets. Take a look at some of our photos from the past week!