Buddhism and its relevance to day-to-day life
One of the teachers in a local school, who himself was a monk and is also an excellent English speaker, is available for sessions on looking at Buddhism – the underlying philosophy and how it is practised. This can be combined with a temple visit.
Escape week will offer young people a complete ‘escape’ from daily life by immersing them in a week of rejuvenation, refuelling and reflection.
Through a range of different activities based around the themes of mind, body and spirit they will explore what it means to be healthy and balanced through mindfulness-based practices, connecting with nature and creative expression.
The different activities will encourage the students to become more aware and present, learn how to actively relax and unwind and develop a holistic understanding of wellbeing.
The week aims to leave young people feeling rejuvenated and empowered to use these skills back in their daily life to live a more mindful, healthy and positive life.
Mind activities – meditation, mindful walking, farming or gardening
Body activities – yoga, hiking, rafting, Thai cooking, massage
Spirit activities – dance, art, bonfire, lanterns, journaling
Escape week leader:
Alexa Massingham is a yoga teacher and mindfulness trainer for young people. Her company Mind Body Matters is the result of her experience working in education, practice of mindfulness and yoga and her current Masters study of ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People’. She is currently working with schools, businesses and charities in Hong Kong to support overall well-being of young people, and those around them, to help them live happier and healthier lives.
Time is spent in a school where the majority of students are Shan. Here the local students engage with visiting students and illustrate and teach aspects of Shan art, music, dance and martial arts. It would also be possible to carry out a study of their sense of identity and level of integration into Thai society.
The Chinese of Northern Thailand
There are several groups of ethnic Chinese in the area who arrived either as traders in the 19th century or as refugee Kuomingtang soldiers in the 1960’s. One settlement in particular lends itself to a study of the KMT – the reasons for their arrival, the reasons why they remained and their integration into Thai society.
Thai Art: Umbrella painting
Chiang Mai is famous for ‘umbrella art’ and experts from the ‘umbrella village’ of Borsang near to Chiang Mai, teach students the basic techniques and then after practise are given the opportunity to paint their own umbrellas.
Our expert chef teaches students how to cook a number of famous Thai dishes. This activity can be extended to have a short Thai lesson, introducing ‘language of the market’, followed by a visit to a local market to purchase the necessary ingredients to cook a couple of Thai dishes.
We also offer a longer option where students spend several days learning to cook appetizers, main dishes and desserts and which culminates in a Master Chef ‘cookout’. Here, students plan a menu and put their skills to the ultimate test – as their dishes are assessed by our Thai chefs.
Water colour painting and other creative activities!
We would like offer a few less physical courses to students and over four, five or six days students can enjoy several creative activities, but with an emphasis on water colour painting. This activity will be lead in small groups by Panita Inthasan a well know artist in Chiang Mai. The grounds of the centre and the surrounding area provide a wealth of opportunities for budding artists to express themselves through their artwork.
Half the time (2 to 3 days) will be spent with Panita and the other half will see students involved in other activities such as Thai cookery, learning the art of fruit and vegetable carving, having an opportunity to learn the fine traditional skills of basketry and even umbrella painting. This mean that groups can be split between the activities and so that group sizes are small
About the artist
Panita Inthasan, born near Bangkok, has lived in Chiang Mai for 25 years. Panita has been painting in water colour for much of her adult life having attending courses in Bournemouth, UK, in 1992, Hong Kong and later she completed another course in St Ives, in south west England, a mecca for artists of all kinds. Most recently in Chiang Mai, she has benefitted from the wise instruction of local artist and teacher, Serm Watcharin. She had her own successful exhibition in 2016.Panita is a great believer in not trying to achieve perfection and in learning from mistakes.