This sleep away adventure camp offers kids ages 8 to 15 an unparalleled outdoor experience in the lush hills of Khao Yai and Khao Ito Forestry Park. It is just a three-hour drive from Bangkok but the natural setting feels worlds away from the hectic bustle of the city. The camp runs from Monday to Friday offering five days of adventure, and a lifetime of memories.
Fun-filled days will be spent cycling, rock-climbing, zip-lining, hiking, swimming, canoeing and playing in the sun. Campers will learn how to navigate the wilderness, preserve the environment, work in teams, stretch their personal limits, and take home invaluable new skills.
The camp aims to bring together campers from different schools across Thailand, offering a shared environment where they can get to know each other and work together to stretch their personal limits in one of the country’s most beautiful untouched wilderness areas.
The camp will be held at the Wild Lodge, a picturesque eco-adventure center run by the Wild Planet who have been providing international school field trips and excursions for more than 20 years in Thailand.
The lodge is perfect for outdoor exploration, set on a four-acre sprawl of manicured wilderness, dotted with cozy lodges where campers will have comfortable beds, a campsite, a salt-water infinity pool, a reading sala, and dining area.
There’s even a challenge course for the more intrepid campers, complete with a zip-line, rope cables, timber platforms and aerial elements designed to promote individual confidence and social cooperation. The staff is highly trained and CPR-certified, ready to support, cheer and challenge campers to be their best selves.
Thailand Summer Camps was founded by Merritt and Kat Gurley, American sisters who were raised in Thailand. Merritt moved to Bangkok with her parents in 1990 and her younger sister Kat was born here in 1993.
Merritt attended ISB, RIS and NIST, and Kat graduated from NIST in 2011, so they know all the ins and outs of being international-school kids living in Bangkok. They both loved growing up in a big city but they missed the outdoors, especially on school breaks.
Merritt spent a magical two weeks at a rustic summer camp in Thailand in 1993 but when her sister Kat, who is 10 years younger than her, tried to find the same camp in 2010 they were disappointed to discover that it had shut down. They looked for alternatives but it seemed that every other program was hosted by a either a school or a hotel, which just wasn’t what Kat had in mind. She wanted to go to the kind of camp she’d seen in TV shows, where she could explore the wilderness, meet kids from other schools and roast marshmallows by a campfire (yes, even in this heat – that’s how much Kat loves s’mores).
Merritt and Kat decided to team up with the adventure experts at the Wild Planet, to launch their own summer camp, giving Bangkok kids an escape from city life and a character-building experience of Thailand’s natural beauty.
Meet the Thailand Summer Camps Team
Merritt Gurley Gazendam
As the daughter of an American diplomat, Merritt grew up bouncing across the world. She’s lived in areas of Thailand, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Switzerland, and is proud to be a third-culture adult (or whatever you call third-culture kids once they’ve grown up). Merritt attended ISB, NIST and RIS, and through all of her travels, she’s always considered Bangkok her home. When she was eight she talked her parents into letting her spend two weeks at a sleepaway summer camp in western Thailand. This experience helped shape the nature-loving person she is today. Now Merritt hopes to pay it forward by offering Bangkok kids a crazy-fun outdoor adventure through Thailand Summer Camps.
Kat was born in Bangkok and graduated from NIST in 2011. She recently completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Montana and has returned to Thailand where she works as a journalist. Kat has a background in theater arts and speaks Russian fluently. She is terrible at all outdoor activities, so any campers who are not naturally sporty can look to her for reassurance. Even campers who have never before set foot outside of an air-conditioned room will feel like rugged mountaineers compared to Kat.
Jago has his degree in teaching and physical education. He moved to Thailand in 2007 where he taught at NIST International School for five and a half years. Jago is originally from Amsterdam and is an avid cyclist, having biked on four continents. He enjoys swimming, hiking, camping, canoeing, and kayaking and is an all-around gifted outdoorsman. He’s also a tech nerd and loves gadgets, so campers can expect to see demonstrations of his cool heart-rate-monitoring watch, and long discussions of which apps are the best for navigation and fitness. If it gets boring, tell him you heard there is pizza in the dining room. The only thing he loves more than sports and tech is pizza.
Meet our activities partner, The Wild Planet
Robin has been into outdoor sports for as long as he can remember. Luckily, his parents encouraged him to try any sport he showed an interest in, and from the unlikely setting of sleepy Norfolk UK, he developed a love of kayaking, surfing, hillwalking, climbing, caving, diving and biking. After graduating from university as a construction engineer, Robin moved to Southeast Asia where he combined his interest in outdoor sports with his knack for planning and systemizing by setting up dive schools and adventure sports facilities in Thailand and Sri Lanka. His outdoor-education projects in Thailand grew into The Wild Planet, which has now been offering safe, fun and exciting adventure programs for more than 20 years, with eco-lodges, adventures camps, and resorts spread across the country’s most beautiful terrain.
Dave Milne has been teaching scuba diving and outdoor adventure activity programs in Thailand since 1998. He is a PADI Instructor Development Course Staff Instructor, a Scuba School International Master Instructor, an Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer, a British Canoe Union Level 3 Inland Kayak Coach, and a Swift Water Rescue Technician. Dave is based in Bangkok where he lives with his wife Ai (also a qualified Scuba Instructor) and his son Joshua. When on holiday, he is a keen skier, and thinks that the only thing missing from Thailand is snowy peaks.
Nutthawat Boon-you ‘Num’
Num has worked with the Wild Planet for almost 20 years and has been instrumental in developing the routes on some of our their more strenuous outdoor programs. He is particularly experienced in leading rafting trips, but in addition to his water-based expertise, Num is a skilled ropes facilitator. In the off season, Num can be found on the Nam Wa in Nan running multi-day trips with his own guiding company Sabai Dee on Tour.
Toby Bell has been a keen water-sports enthusiast since childhood and enjoys kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, trekking, climbing and scuba diving. He traveled to Thailand in 2004 to complete his Scuba Instructor course and decided to settle permanently. Since 2009 he has worked with Wild Planet as Senior Instructor on expeditions and residential programs throughout Thailand.
Ned grew up in the scenic Nelson area of New Zealand where he and his four brothers were introduced to the outdoors at a young age. He attended Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Center (OPC) in the Central North Island gaining a diploma in outdoor education, in a rigorous program which covered not just hard skills in white-water kayaking, climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, navigation but also skills in group management, risk assessment and team building. After getting itchy feet, he came to Thailand for some work experience with the Wild Planet and fell in love with the people and culture and decided to stay on with the Wild Planet family. Ned is an International Rafting Federation Raft Guide, New Zealand Mountain Guides Association Hard Ice Guide, Rescue 3 White-Water Rescue Technician, NZOIA Kayak Instructor, SSI Scuba Instructor, REACT RIGHT First Aid Instructor & Wilderness First Responder.
Fion left Ireland to follow his passion for the outdoors, which led him to Thailand where he initially worked with the Wild Planet team in Koh Tao as a dedicated dive instructor before crossing over to Wild Planet’s broader range of outdoor programs. Fion is an all round outdoor guide covering water, jungle, caves and parks. When not guiding a raft (he is both an International Rafting Federation Raft Guide and an Advanced Rescue 3 Guide) or heading up a mountain bike program, he can be found at his laptop using his IT skills to develop the Wild Planet’s google-based expedition mapping system.