2020 Thailand Service Trip To

Koh Tao and Surrounding Islands

The Gulf of Thailand is historically one of the most biodiverse bodies of water on earth. Today, due to unsustainable fishing practices, pollution, warming oceans, and swift increases in tourism, many species are on the brink of extinction and less than 10% of the reefs of the entire area are in fertile condition.


Koh Tao, a small island off the coast of southern Thailand, has been an epicenter for divers and ocean enthusiasts for many years. As its popularity continues to grow, thanks to the foresight of both international and local leaders on the island, a number of protocols to protect the environment and implement sustainable tourism and fishing practices are helping to preserve this bit of paradise. 


Padma is leading trips for high school students to participate with those at the forefront of these efforts to keep Koh Tao beautiful and study ways to help protect coral and marine life around the world. Trip members will participate in daily educational and conservation activities both in the ocean and on land.


Included on the trip are two certifications offered by the international organization Conservation Diver. The first of these certifications is the Sea Turtle Ecology and Head-Starting Program. This course consists of learning about various sea turtle species, threats to their existence, and preservation methodology, along with measuring, cleaning, and feeding rescued hatchlings. This course concludes with with snorkeling/scuba diving to identify and contribute data for ongoing research of local turtle populations.


The second Conservation Diver certification is the Shark Ecology and Population Study where students will learn about shark species, their necessity in the oceans, and threats to their survival. This course concludes with snorkeling with a local black-tip reef sharp population to help collect data for ongoing research.


Other activities on Koh Tao include a one-day "freediving" course where students learn breathing, deep relaxation, and equalization techniques to improve their ability to dive deeper and longer on a single breath. In addition to several more snorkeling and scuba diving ventures to collect data on coral and fish species, one day will be devoted to learning about and visiting examples of both destructive and sustainable tourism practices across the island.


Befrore heading to Koh Tao, the adventure begins on the island of Koh Samui where students can de-jetlag and enjoy a two-day leadership training workshop led by a master educator from Cornell University.


From Samui we head to Koh Tao for the bulk of the trip then onward to Koh Pangan. Best known for its wild "full moon parties" we will stay far away from the masses on the peaceful northwest corner of the island. While on Pangan students will learn about and participate in mangrove restoration, then study the national sport of Thailand, Muay Thai, with a two time world champion Thai boxer. Our stay on Pangan ends with spending a day in a Buddhist monastery learning to meditate and exploring the island. After a short ferry ride back to Koh Samui Padma staff will drop you at the airport, where you'll head home happy, a bit tired, a bit sun-burned, and hopefully a bit wiser.


Day 1

Arrive on Koh Samui and meet Padma staff at the airport to head to your beachfront bungalow.


Day 1-2

Relax by the beach and explore the island while adjusting to the time change. Clint Sidle will lead a multiple session workshop covering a number of principles, training techniques, and thinking patters that support productive and healthy leadership and teamwork. Ideas that will prove invaluable throughout your journey with us.


Day 2

Catch the last ferry to Koh Tao for a sunset cruise across the Gulf of Thailand. Spend our first night on Chalok Baan Kao beach.


Day 2-10

Days will begin with optional yoga classes and then after breakfast and orientation talk or lecture about the days focus. Our conservation activities will focus on sea turtles, sharks, coral, and sustainable tourism practices. Each activity has an educational component to maximize understanding of the purpose and efficacy of everything we do. In addition to conservation work, one day will be devoted to learning to freedive and one day-off to explore the island.


Day 10

Catch a ferry one island over to Koh Pangan.


Day 10-13

Stay above Sunset Beach where the evenings are sure to impress. CoreSea will host a program on the importance of mangroves to island biodiversity followed by leading a re-planting session at a nearby devastated mangrove shoreline. For those willing, you can spend a day learning the basic techniques of Muay Thai from a former world champion, spend a day at a Thai Buddhist temple learning to meditate, and studying traditional Thai cuisine.


Day 14

Head back to Koh Samui via a short ferry ride, where Padma staff will see you off at the airport.