5 Things You'll Love About the Nan Province
The Nan Province in Thailand offers volunteers unique and versatile experiences that you can’t get elsewhere. From the picturesque lands surrounded by lush Thai trees and flowers to the beautiful culture of the Hill Tribes, you are sure to fall in love with this province. As a location that is less known to tourists, you will have an authentic experience surrounded by locals. Supporting one of our volunteer programs, you will have the opportunity to truly interact with the locals, and engage in incredible human-to-human interactions that leave a positive impact on both parties. Jaclyn Wamberg from our partner, Thinking Beyond Borders spent a few weeks in the Nan Province with her Asia Gap Year Semester Students. We caught up with her to see what volunteers will love about the Nan Province.
Culture and Community
The Nan Province is home to members of the indigenous Hill Tribes. The Hmong people are one of the most prevalent indigenous groups that reside there, making up 10% of the population. They have their own dialect and have been living in communities in the Nan Province for several generations. As a collective society, members of the Hill Tribe live in homes surrounded by their extended families. It was incredible to see the intricate details of their clothing and colorful handwoven fabrics. As a farming community, many residents worked together on farming projects, and grow rice for their own families. They also grow a variety of different fruits and vegetables, including Chinese Cabbage, beans, grapes, and the most delicious strawberries. Family members work together to open roadside stands along the highway to sell their crops. As a very small and tightly woven community, everyone in the village knows and supports each other.It was truly beautiful to see the cultural exchanges that occurred in our interactions. For many of the Hmong people, it was their first time meeting Westerners. The human-to-human interaction was so genuine and it was amazing to see how everyone put aside their differences and even language barriers to bond through their pure emotions and interactions as human beings.
Volunteering and Local Impact
Through volunteering, our students had the opportunity to truly understand the local population through their interactions. By giving back to the local community through service, we were able to really have a human exchange and connection with the locals. We created relationships that were deeply valued by both parties. When we were driving away, there was not a dry eye in the car--despite language barriers and cultural differences, our students were able to connect with locals on such a micro, human-to-human level. Through Cross-Cultural Solutions, volunteers have the opportunity to have an impact in local communities through our Global Health and Child Development Programs. Our Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteers in Thailand greatly contribute to improving the quality of education that every child deserves. Primary schools and organizations that support vulnerable children are often under-resourced and understaffed. Volunteers assist teachers, conduct educational and recreational programming, teach English language skills, and provide children with much needed one-on-one attention. We also spearhead multiple public health projects in Thailand including vision screening for children, oral health campaigns, and the promotion of hygiene in schools.
Serenity and Landscape
There are two words to describe the landscape in the Nan Province: Absolutely stunning. This natural beauty is surrounded by lush green mountains and windy paths. Driving through the town, you just get this sense of peace and serenity. Higher up in the mountains, there are many windy roads where you can just introspect and take in all of the natural beauty. Hearing the birds in the forests and watching the gentleness of the Thai rainfalls puts you in a place of presence and appreciation.
Food and Senses
Your food can’t get much fresher than this. All of the food that we ate in the Nan Province was locally-grown and absolutely delicious. There were only a few eateries in town, and we ate at two. The food was mainly based on Rice Noodle Dishes, and every day, they served us whatever they had available in their kitchen. The spices that they used in our food created a unique and savory flavor through all of the dishes. It was so different than the food that we were used to, and everyone fell in love with the incredible range of flavors, colors, and scents.
Free Time Adventures
The opportunity for adventures in Thailand is endless. Located right in the Nan Province, Doi Phu Kha National Park offers hiking trails surrounded by rolling green mountains, caves, wild Thai flowers, and rivers. It is the perfect place to explore and truly take in the beauty of Thai nature.There are many temples in the local area to visit as well, where you will get a better understanding of Buddhism and the influence that it has in the culture. About an hour drive away from the Nan Province, you can also visit one of Thailand’s more popular tourist destinations, Chiang Mai. There, you can visit an Elephant Sanctuary where they are dedicated to ethical and sustainable tourism and have the opportunity to interact with those incredible creatures. From feeding the elephants to taking a mud bath with them, it is sure to be an excursion you won’t be soon to forget.
What are you waiting for? Adventures in Thailand are right around the corner. Enroll in the program today to experience the Nan Province for yourself.