Join the next trip
02 Oct – 10 Oct, 2019
02 May, 2019
Every Insight Trip is a unique experience, from the people you’ll meet to the places you’ll go. Your trip’s itinerary is customised to meet the needs and interests of the final group of travelers, and you will get all the details with time to spare. In the meantime, check out the example itinerary below, based on previous Insight Trips to Thailand. We hope it gives you a taste of what your Insight Trip will be like!
Day 1: Depart Sydney, Australia for Chiang Mai, Thailand
There’s anticipation in the air as you connect with the group at Sydney Airport, swap stories of wrestling suitcases and say goodbye to your loved ones. Your trip leader meets you in the departures lounge and makes sure you connect with the others in your group.
With plenty of time, you take the chance to stretch your legs, and then get to know the group with a cuppa. Before you know it, you’re buckling your seat belt, checking your travel pillow, and watching Sydney Harbour drop away beneath your feet. You breathe out slowly. You’re off to Thailand!
Twelve hours later, Compassion Thailand staff are waiting to welcome you as you stretch and shuffle off the plane. Everyone is buzzing, despite the late hour. You’ve arrived!
Day 2: Compassion Thailand office, Chiang Mai
Up early. It’s already hot; temperatures will climb to the mid-thirties for most of the week, but you’re well prepared and the local staff ensure you have plenty of bottled water on hand.
The Compassion Thailand office is awash with activity, which seems to ripple behind you as each team greets you, shares a laugh and describes its role, and then gets back to the task at hand.
Compassion Thailand Country Director Sanya Ladaphongpattana welcomes you and gives a brief overview of poverty in Thailand and some of the common issues affecting children and their families. His genuine passion for his staff, the Compassion assisted children and the call God has placed on his life to serve them is alive in every word he speaks.
Day 3: A child development centre outside of Chiang Mai
As your bus pulls onto the main road out of town and heaves itself up the hills, the local staff give you a brief introduction to the centre you’re visiting. The problem for most families in the area is one of access: villages are remote and some lack basic services, including schools, hospitals, running water and electricity.
The dry heat and the way the bush looks thirsty reminds you of home, but the trees are different. Locals cut them down to build houses, and the results of their efforts stand on long stilts like flamingos perched precariously on the mountainside. The thought of sleeping with all that empty air below makes you uneasy, but the views are stunning.
As your bus pulls up, children shout and run to the bus. Some hang back, watching. The centre’s main room is divided into four classrooms by plywood sheets. Younger children sing songs and play games. The centre director who greets you explains that the older students usually come later in the afternoon, when it’s quieter and they can concentrate on their studies.
You help serve the children lunch. In the afternoon your groups splits up, and you sit in the classroom and participate in the lessons and games. When your class chants their goodbye song, they stamp their feet so hard that the planks of the floor shudder and dust clouds leap around their ankles.
Day 4: Visit Krittamet’s home, outside Chiang Mai
You return to the same centre for a second day with the children. In the morning, you meet with the various program staff and tutors to learn about the centre’s day-to-day operations: everything from the monthly budgets to children’s letters to sponsors and plans to expand the centre by building proper classrooms.
In the afternoon, you walk to visit Krittamet, one of the sponsored children, in his home with the centre staff. The house is two rooms built on stilts, with a thatched roof and plank floor and the rudiments of a kitchen below. The gaps in the walls and floor let the breeze and light come through. When the wind blows, you fancy you can feel the whole frame sway and it reminds you of sitting in a boat.
Krittamet’s father lives in Chiang Mai and occasionally sends money back for his wife and children. Thanks to the program, Krittamet’s mother has materials to practice traditional weaving, and sells her wares on the side of the road. The centre staff explain that they occasionally gather up these items and drive them to Chiang Mai, where the market is bigger, demand greater, and the profit a little more. It’s just one of the ways that they are seeking to grow the confidence and income of families like Krittamet’s.
Day 5: Church in the village / Rest day
You drive to another local Compassion church partner on a warm and sunny Sunday morning. You sit on the floor with your group and maybe 80 locals, and listen to the Compassion Thailand staff’s whispered translations.
Hymns are sung acapella, just soft sweet voices raised in the breeze. You have no idea of the words they sing but the sound slows your pulse and plasters an enormous smile on your face.
The afternoon is yours and you’re more than happy to read and sleep and let the events of the past few days wash back over you. You think of Krittamet, and the fact he hasn’t seen his father in months. What must life be like for his mother, raising her children alone by day, weaving at night for a handful of baht while her babies sleep, wondering about her husband living miles from their mountain home?
Day 6: A day at the Child Survival Program
Today you drive to a different village to visit a Child Survival Program. When you arrive, the registered mothers are gathered in small groups, bouncing their babies on their knees and discussing a Bible passage. Your group spreads out and sits, not wanting to interrupt.
After prayers, the mothers break and come back to the mats on the floor with you. Lots of smiles and nods—and cuddles!—and then the instructor begins sharing about bathing a baby, using a doll and a small plastic tub. She gives the mothers the opportunity to practise and ask questions.
A few of the mothers share their testimonies of daily life before and after they became involved at the church, with a simplicity that belies their hardship. They emphasise their sense of belonging to the program, the peace that prayer now brings them, the hope that they have dared to dream over their babies. It seems fragile, this hope, but later, as you think about it and debrief with your group, the picture that comes to you is of slender saplings—bending with the wind but not breaking, putting down unseen roots.
Day 7: Team fun day
This is the day you’ve been looking forward to the most: the Compassion Fun Day. Some of your group will meet their sponsored children for the first time today, and they’re visibly excited and nervous at the breakfast table.
Three centres from nearby have nominated a number of children to join you for a day of games and adventure at a large public park in Chiang Mai. There’s a festive feel to the conversation as the Compassion staff arrive early to set up, and your group pitches in, eager to lend a hand.
The children spill out of their buses, laughing and chatting. Local centre tutors keep them together and bring order to the madness. You watch one of your group kneel down and hug the little girl she sponsors, and you find an unexpected lump in your throat. It’s a deeply special moment, something you feel privileged to be a part of.
You share a simple picnic lunch and the afternoon slips by. Something prompts you to take as many photos as you can. It’s as if you’re storing the simple joy of this day as a supply to draw on when you return home, to the grind of work, where everything seems a little more complicated and your joy is diluted by daily concerns.
Day 8: Debrief Day
As your trip winds down, you spend the day as a team, discussing all that you’ve seen and done (or as much as you feel comfortable sharing, anyway) and talking about what to expect as you travel home. As you laugh and cry and pray together, you look around the room and feel blessed to have had met such friends on the journey.
Your field experience leader reminds you that you need to buy souvenirs for your friends and family! Fortunately the staff have organised a trip to the local markets, where you can browse and wander, soak up the atmosphere and buy a few small items for your loved ones back at home.
Your last dinner is with the Compassion Thailand staff who have been your constant companions throughout. As you say goodnight, you struggle to think of the right words to thank them for all they’ve done for the group. They’ve helped without hesitation, never tiring, and they graciously wave away your thanks.
Day 9: Arrive home!
What a feeling to see your family, and give them a huge hug! You’re tired but eager to share your experiences. You say goodbye to the group as some of them head for the domestic transfer gate; you’re happy you will speak to them again soon as part of your debrief.
You rest your head on the back of the car seat and gaze out the window. Your home town looks just as it did when you left. One thing’s for sure: your home might not have changed, but you certainly have.
- Return international economy class airfares from Sydney
- Travel Insurance
- All in-country transportation costs
- All costs associated with visas
- All in-country accommodation based on twin share
- All in-country meals including daily bottled water
- Sponsored child fun-day venue costs and visits to any tourist attractions
- Preparing-to-go training series, to help you get the most from your experience
Each Insight Trip cost is subject to airfares and exchange rate fluctuations. The final price will be advised once airfares have been confirmed (approximately six months prior to departure).
What's Not Included
- Travel from your hometown to group departure point in Sydney
- Travel documents such as your passport
- Additional accommodation or travel costs (if you choose to extend your stay)
- Vaccinations or immunisations (please seek relevant medical advice prior to leaving Australia)
- Excess baggage fees
- SIM cards, phone calls, laundry service or internet usage while travelling
- Optional activities, additional snacks, mini-bar, shopping, gifts for your sponsored child or souvenirs
You will be issued with two invoices to cover the total cost of this Insight Trip:
Invoice one will be for the payments below. Each payment will be listed as a separate item on the invoice with its own due date.
- Payment one: $300 per person, which is your deposit and must be paid by the due date on the invoice to secure your place on the Trip Insight.
- Payment two: the bulk of the Insight Trip costs, due approximately six months before departure.
- Payment three: the balance of your Insight Trip package, due approximately three months before departure (if you qualify for the early-bird discount, this balance will be reduced accordingly).
- Invoice two is for any additional costs related to visiting your sponsored child, and will be sent out one or two months before departure. If you do not incur any additional costs outside of the planned Insight Trip, you will not receive invoice two.
- Invoice one will be for the payments below. Each payment will be listed as a separate item on the invoice with its own due date.
You will be provided with a Traveller Agreement, which includes all terms and conditions to be examined and confirmed prior to departure.
Key aspects of this Insight Trip information include:
- Child Protection
- Media/Image capture and use
- Health and Safety (including immunisations and pre-existing medical conditions)
- Travel Documentation
- Travel Insurance
- Acknowledgement and Release
- Insight Trip deposits ($300 per person) are nonrefundable
- Fifty percent of the Insight Trip cost will be required for cancellations less than three months before departure
- One hundred percent of the Insight Trip cost will be required for cancellations less than one month before departure
- Although rare, in the event that Compassion feels it is necessary to cancel a trip, a full refund will be given to all travellers