We traveled many places in Bangkok during the GCW week. Atudhya, Bang Pa-In, Bangsai Arts and Craft Centre, etc. We learned a lot about Thai culture. Thai structures had unique and intricate architectural style, mainly focusing on their religion; Buddhism. They had a unique religion, which associated the Animism and Buddhism. Many gods depicted in their pictures, wall paintings, and decorations had the body of animals. For example, Hanuman, the monkey king, is frequently shown in pictures, and is used as our school seal. I was shocked by their long and sophisticated myths. Gods had different relations with others and had different roles. Thai also embraced and respected other religions. The Erawan Museum had four different religions and their stories engraved in it’s four pillars. The four pillars support the three-headed elephant, in which the way up to heaven is resembled with a variety of pieces of work from antiques, priceless collections, and ancient religious artifacts.

In the Bangsai Arts and Craft Centre, we saw how traditional hand-made Thai craftwork were made. Especially, he bamboo craft was impressive. They took out the fiber from the bamboo, and weaved pots and hats with it. We also had a chance to make candles and clay dishes. I found out I really enjoyed clay work, and many Thai artisans praised my work. In many ways, the GCW Bangkok was an impressing and inspiring tour.

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It’s my first GCW trip, Bangkok Adventure. I think it’s a wonderful experience. The most things we did were to learn the history of Thailand. For example, I knew the Ayutthaya Kingdom and the Bangkok Dynasty. This helped me know the world’s history as well, though it seemed not that old than the history of China.

The most impressive thing I think was the Muay Thai (Thai Boxing). I wasn’t interested in Muay Thai and either now. However, it was the most tired day of the five. We did some training of Muay Thai and the first time I recognized how hard this sport is. The content was all very basic one but it still made us very tired. We trained for about 3 hours under 30 degrees centigrade without air conditioning. I entirely got wet in just 10 minutes. However the coach seemed very well, so I could just go on doing it. I don’t know how long we trained for the first part, I got really tired, but I’m sure it was just a very short time for the coach. We went on training after a short two-minute break. I used to use my T-shirt to wipe sweat but this time there were no dry place anymore. I had thought of asking for a rest. But I didn’t want to lose face, especially in the group were a Korean and a Japanese. So I insisted on to the end, tired but happy as well.

There was no rain this week. The sun was shining all the day and it was really hot. We not only learned the history of Thailand, Muay Thai; visited the ancient Ayutthaya, Summer Palace and the Grand Palace; but also beat the challenge from physical and mental. It was really a wonderful week.

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Bangkok adventure was a great experience it gave us the opportunity as students to learn about a country full of tradition, interesting cuisine and amazing sites of ancient temples and gave us an opportunity to learn about thai arts and craft and many other things. During the course of 5 days we visited and learnt about Audhya, Bang Pa-In, Bangsai arts and craft centre, the ancient city, we took part in Muay Thai Boxing, The grand Palace, Wat Po Temple, experienced a Thai massage, and finally we visited the Jim Thompsan House.

On the first day we visited Audhya, Audhya used to be the capitol of Thailand before Bangkok, it was a very interesting place to go visit. We learnt about the architecture and history and saw many interesting temples and houses but many of them were breaking down because of the flood and because they where very old.

On the second day one of the places we visited was the Bangsai arts and craft centre which was fun because we where given the opportunity to make candles and make shapes out of clay. We also went around an area of small houses which were representing the architecture and the way of life of the Thai people. we observed the way silk was made in Thailand and we also saw sculptures that where made by the people working at the arts and crafts centre.

One of the last places we visited was The Jim Thompson House which was also very interesting.  First we were given a tour of the Jim Thompson house. The House is 6 houses put together with all the furniture and pictures left the way Jim Thompson left them before he disappeared in 1967 . He left the house to his nephew who then made it into a museum for everyone to come and see. Jim Thompsan collected old broken Buddhist status and collected many old and broken things that no one no longer wanted because it was thought to be bad luck to keep broken things in the house. I think the story of Jim Thompsan is  interesting and I’m glad we learnt about it.

One of my favourite things about the Bangkok adventure was the Muay Thai boxing even though it was very hot I found it very impressive to see the way the boxers fought and the way they defended them selves. the history of the Muay Thai boxing was fascinating to hear about. I enjoyed having the opportunity to take part in the boxing and learning the basic steps of it but of course it would take many years to master the art of the boxing its self.

After a week of being surrounded by Thai culture, cuisine , tradition, and architecture I feel I have a much better understanding of the way Thai people lived and live now. Being able to see the way they contribute to their religion and their country through out this whole week was a truly memorable experience.

 

 

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Bangkok Adventure is not a course focused on the global community, but to me who is not from Thailand, it has helped me gain a more global understanding by learning and experiencing how the local culture differs from mine.
The Thai people live much more differently than U.S. Americans. For starters, they have a royal family, which does not rule as the absolute power of Thailand but are greatly respected for helping improve the country. One of the Queen’s projects was the Bangsai Arts and Crafts Center, giving farmers a way to make money by making and selling art, such as decorative pots and embroideries. The center also allows tourists to learn about Thai lifestyle from its traditional houses.
They also have a rich history as Theravada Buddhists, mixed a little with Hinduism. In Ayudhaya we walked around several ruins of wats, or temples. Our tour guide explained that the Buddha statues there were cut apart by vandals hundreds of years ago who believed that there was treasure inside, but when they found there wasn’t they sold the heads to foreigners as antiques. It’s a problem that carried over to recent times, and since the foreigners don’t respect the Buddha heads (they use it as hat holders and such) the government doesn’t allow any images of Buddha to be exported.
At the Erawan Museum, there is a giant bronze elephant standing on top of a building. It’s one of the largest bronze sculptures in the world and has three heads, but what is inside the building and the elephant are just as amazing. The building is a room with four columns that support the elephant’s feet, each depicting the history of the world’s four major religions: Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity. There are also two staircases leading to a spiral staircase inside one of the elephant’s leg, where we found that the elephant’s belly is the actual museum bit Buddha statues and walls painted like space. It was a really relaxing atmosphere, especially after spending so much time in the heat.
If there’s anything I learned about myself during this GCW trip, it’s that I actually don’t mind going to places as a tourist. It’s just when I’m with my parents that I dislike it. I grew a little bit as a person from seeing first-hand how places can be completely different than the U.S., so now I’m more interested in seeing how other countries live like and in learning some of their history.
The trip ended up being completely different from what I thought it would be. Other people were saying how boring it was going to be and that all you do is shop the entire day. So I imagined we were going to go to a mall downtown and just shop until school hours ended. I didn’t expect us to actually do anything, especially run around rings and punch and kick as part of learning Muay Thai, which was the hardest part of the trip.

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Throughout the 5 days of rural Bangkok, I have acquired greater knowledge and Thailand’s history after many years of staying here. We depart to a different trip everyday learning on something that has been an important part of Thailand’s background and cultures in ancient times. During this GCW trip we went to observe ancient ruins, temples, palaces, museums, learn martial arts (Muay Thai), and many other fascinating adventures.

Even though I am not from Thailand, I have stayed here for many years but never understood the cultural heritages of Thailand. After seeing many great monuments, structures, and master pieces; I understood the meticulous work that the Thai people had to conduct to create beautiful pieces of art. It was a lot of work for those who built it but I would just stand here at modern times and admire its craftsmanship.

I rarely knew any of the Thai history so I definitely grew in this course of the trip. I think I slightly understand why all of these works of art are very crucial and valuable to the Thai people. Each tiny detail on each structure or artifact was very well detailed and must have took forever to build, and it makes me think how hard working Thai people really are.

It was a different expectation from what I was going to experience. The trip is more of an educational trip about Thailand’s ancient cultures yet everyone on the trip was interested to learn more about the ancient heritage of Thailand. What I enjoyed the most in the trip was the traditional Thai massage. Personally, I never liked massages; however just one experience changed my mind into liking them more. It helped me relax, relieved muscle pain, and improved my blood flow making me feel great overall. That’s how I grew on the trip. It changed my perception of massages. I also enjoyed learning more of Muay Thai, however I was not used to its form because of my previous experiences with different martial arts.

The Most challenging part of this course was to absorb all of the information that our guide was telling us because I was usually wandering off to see more interesting sights of where we usually are. Some students (particularly the new ones) say that the most challenging part of this course was the heat. I would have to agree with them. However I always liked Thailand’s heat.

The most rewarding spectacle of the trip was the air-conditioner rooms, buses and the ice cream and chilled drinks after the trips because it was very hot during our trips, and some students would sometimes buy cheap hats and fans to relieve themselves from the heat. Yet overall, the most rewarding spectacle was the gained knowledge of Thailand. I now understand more of Thailand between urban and rural areas, and how Thailand’s ancient heritage greatly impacted Thailand’s arts, its structures, and its people.

 

 

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GCW Bangkok Reflection

From this trip I have learned more about how Buddhism is a main part of my country and the extent knowledge about myself. From the day of visiting the Grand palace and the temple, I began to realize that our culture was very important. It was a big lead in the past as how it is today. For me it was a huge step in the knowledge of my own country, because I had very little information about the background of my country’s past. However knowing more about my country makes me know more about myself. I knew that I was a type of person who would not show any interests to history. Yet after coming back from this trip I began to like learning about Thailand’s history. This was a part of me that changed after getting to experience all of the ancient ruins and Architecture that was left behind or was made for Foreigners so that they can learn about our past. I had expected places where I might have been before, but it was the total opposite because I have never been to most of the places where we went. The Most challenging part of this trip was learning Muay Thai boxing. I think that many people would agree with my opinion. It was most challenging at times where we had to make everything perfect. I began to realize that Muay Thai is something that challenges your mental abilities as well. If you do not have a strong mind then your body will not react as tough as you might like it to. On the flip side the most rewarding part of this course was the Jim Thompson house. It was the final destination of the whole course and the food was delicious and that during the walk through the Jim Thompson house it felt quite relaxing. That was a great change to the other days because you would sweat in the hot heating weather all day. This trip has been fun and I think that it is a great trip for foreigners to learn about Thailand’s past.

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A week of exploring and discovering Bangkok was an unforgettable experience for me. We took place in different activities each day and were shown parts to Thailand that we otherwise would not have been able to see. The key part to the whole trip for me was getting to know the Thai culture. I myself come from a very different background compared to Thailand, and getting this opportunity to see such a different culture to mine was very interesting and beneficial. Learning about Thai Buddhists was the most remarkable. I saw that Buddhism included some parts from all religions and combined them to create one of its own, which I found was quite fascinating as I listened to its stories and history. In addition, having the opportunity to taste Thai food at its best and most natural place was another exciting point. I struggle to eat food that is overly spicy, however Thai food is slowly starting to change that. I am also getting used to eating pretty much everything with rice now, for which I must say I am amused.

Initially I had assumed we would spend more time simply visiting museums and getting tours, however activities such as the Muay Thai boxing and the candle making were especially enjoyable as they involved practical skills and it gave a change to the overall experience. Visiting some Holy grounds through the trip also made it more interesting for me, as I was illustrated the importance of certain cultural aspects to Thai people.

Overall, I believe by the end of this week, my respect for the Thai culture grew by a large amount along with my knowledge. Now I can say I appreciate and value its background much more than I did before. I am also happy to say that I had a lot of fun along the way and experienced an unforgettable adventure, which will stay with me for years to come.

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During this GCW trip, I’ve learnt a couple of really important things, one was the loyalty that thai people have to their culture, I’ve met really nice people that now are good friends, this trip taught me how culture can affect that much to a person, I mean, that people here are so influenced by their history. I think one of the most important thing that I realized during this trip was the important of their religion, their culture and history are based, most of them, on their religion and how affected to their life is kind of amazing and inexplicable.

Another big thing that impacts me was that amount of gold and beauty that Thailand and her architecture are.

I really love to form part of that culture and to know the history of this country for a week.  I enjoyed this trip so much, I had the opportunity to knew the three times champion of Muay Thai and the chance of share the gym with great Muay Thai instructors that showed us another part of that interesting history and culture, however I feel so tired and painful after the boxing, I still like it very much.. This trip gave me a lot of good moments with people that in that moment I didn’t know but nowadays that people I can say they are really good friends.

The best thing about my trip I think it was the Muay thai, I think all of us enjoyed it so much, and we had really fun all together, pretending that we were professional muay thai boxers. I think the worst day for me was the first one, because it was really hot and all the day we were walking and visiting a lot of temples, although it was really nice to every temple, and to know a bit more about their culture.

It was different from what I expected to be, some trips were better than I expected but others were kind of different in another way, the fourth day I expected to be more complete and entertaining, but even so it was better than I expected to be.

My GCW trip taught me a lot of things, I learnt as a person and as a student, It was an experience I would never forget.  Finally and to end this great, amazing and unforgettable trip I would like to thanks everyone who made that trip fantastic, incredible and wonderful like it was.

 Thanks you guys you made this trip unforgettable.

 

Carolina Branson.

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Bangkok Adventure is not a course let me understand some more part of Thai culture as it gave me opportunities to experience Thai culture in different ways, such as art, clothing, history, and so on.

Thai cultures have some parts that differentiate with those of the others. Although they are no longer the absolute power in Thailand, Thai people still respects the royal family for helping improving live national wide. For example, Bangsai Arts and Crafts Center, which is one of her majesty the queen’s projects, show ways and gives opportunities for poor farmers to make money by making and selling artifacts and crafts to the others. They also let the tourists to experience how it would be like to be there. Thai history is not very much different than other Southeast Asian countries; they had wars, invasions, good and bad kings, Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism, etc. As an effect of the Burmese invasion in the 18th Century, the precious artifacts were sold illegally to riches and foreigners. This is still carried on to these days, though the government is trying to stop the crimes. One unique point in construction is the boat-style base of building with the high corners and low middle, which is not found in many other nations. It was a common architectural technique in Ayutthaya. It still is followed by some palaces and temples. Muay-Thai, a Thai style kickboxing, was developed from war situation when one has to fight with no armors. It has quite different form than that of my country (well, I’m Korean and learnt TKD several years).

There are some things that I have learnt about myself during GCW. One is that I really do not like to be in hot places and second is that I don’t really care about whom to travel with. The last is that I grew a bit as a person and now see a bit about how things can be different than that of our perspectives.

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New to Thailand? Or are you old to Thailand and know nothing about Thai culture? Well then the best thing you could do I enjoy a week of Bangkok adventure I know I did. From learning about the different projects put into practice to help the Thai people learn skills and use them to help Thailand , or the variety of scrumptious Thai foods that will blow your taste buds’ minds , or even if you just want to do it to learn so Muay Thai it is an experience that we should all experience .

The day we all learnt how to fight

Thai culture is about respect, obedience, understanding and the acceptance that life is a place where we should all enjoy who we are and where we are from. It showed me i do lack some ” Thai-ness ” which i am hoping to find as i integrate myself more with Thai culture. We can all learn that sometimes the simplest things that we overlook in our lives are what will make us happy. I was overwhelmed by the sense of community amongst Thai people no matter where we went and that is a goal i would like to achieve amongst the pupils of ISB , to make the most of my time by being active in the ISB community.

If you a newbie like me it’s fun learning it is different to the normal way of learning knowing what you can and can’t do but that does not change the fact that you learn about what is going on around and why u learn a lot about how Thai people think and how you should be acting in order to show that you are thankful and respectful. It will be and was a new experience seeing Thailand but it was great.

For all those going next year be sure to be prepared for the heat that Thailand brings it can be annoying at times and it will annoy you but all you have to do is make sure you go with a fun crowd because Bangkok adventure is a trip that is 10% knowledge, 10% understanding, 10 % listening skills and the other 70 % is the company you keep so choose wisely because it could make or break your Bangkok adventure. Yes there are loads of bus rides but who cares who doesn’t love a reason to fall asleep every now and then or even having a good laugh with some friends or best of all taking pictures of your friends sleeping so you can take them on Facebook Bangkok Adventure is the place to be so bring money for soda, a camera for memories, a cap for shade and towel to limit the sweat that will be pouring off of your head. Bangkok Adventure is not an average trip it’s different, simple and can be at times a very entertaining experience but just be prepared to have good time.

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