Gap Year in Thailand

Travel the world & explore Thai culture

Want to spend part of your gap year in Thailand?

Experience new cultures. Volunteer & learn. Dive into yourself.

A group of young women share coffee in Thailand at an outdoor cafe decorated in graffiti


2-3 participants from first semester, ages 17-23

A group of people practice yoga in a circle in a round building made of natural materials


North of Chaing Mai, Thailand + destinations you want to explore.

seed corn harvested in summer into a red bowl


Any time between November 11-February 10, Thai summer time

young man smiling on the side of the road with his thumb up, hitchhiking


$250/week–three week minimum. Does not include flights.

Gap Year in Thailand Details

a Thai man with tatoos and no shirt sifts soil for a building project in buckets

Community Life & Cultural Immersion

A gap year in Thailand can be full of adventure and meaningful travel, and this experience promises both. This is a great opportunity to learn what it's like to live in a working community and on an organic farm. While traveling can sometimes feel lonely, living in a community makes it easy to make connections, ask questions, and really dig into a new culture.

Imagine yourself learning about Thai customs, the human rights issues in nearby Myanmar, or Buddhism while cooking in the kitchen or weeding in the garden. Take advantage of opportunities for valuable cultural experiences and to experience life from a vastly different worldview.

young woman pets elephant at conservation center

Volunteering & Sustainability Skills

If you get excited about hands on learning, this experience will be right up your alley. The farm also serves as a learning center for those who want to build the skills of self reliance. Here you have the opportunity to practice sustainable living through seed saving, natural building, and gardening. It's important that you have keen interest in these skills as well as an eagerness to learn.

Community members are known for their love of sharing their knowledge as well as their dedication to making the time spent working together fun and fulfilling. This is a great time to develop useful skills as well as make connections with people who are passionate and enthusiastic. It's ideal for visitors who embrace responsible tourism and have a desire to make an impact on the local economy.

busy gritty street view of people on mopeds and with a woman in a wedding dress on the sidewalk talking to friends

Adventuring in Northern Thailand & Beyond

While there's enough happening on the farm to keep you busy for a lifetime, it's important to take advantage of the learning opportunities in Thailand. We will help you to create the experience you're excited about--from volunteering at an elephant conservation center to learning about Thai Buddhism while sitting on a meditation retreat. Near the farm you will have the opportunity to interact with many indigenous peoples like the Karen, Hmong, Lisu, or Lahu as well as forest Theravada Buddhist monks living in nearby caves. Northern Thailand is great also for trekking.


a young man's face, Kieran Smith


Grass Valley, CA

If you are looking for a Gap Year program where you expect the unexpected, this is it. Be prepared for something that will change you in ways you never anticipated. This program is an amazing combination of outdoor leadership skills, emotional growth, and community building, which makes for an amazing Gap Year that could never be repeated.

Student smiling in the snow


Rohnert Park, CA

During this gap year, I have grown into myself. I first joined the High Desert Center (HDC) feeling unsure about the future and nervous about my responsibilities in it. Throughout this year I have become grounded in my sense of self and excited to go out into the world. I attribute this to the spaciousness of the program.


Today! We are currently accepting applications.


When we ask our students why they chose us, many say words like “community,” “philosophy” or “strong recommendations.”  Another thing we commonly hear is that our programs are relatively affordable. Read more about how the HDC offers the most affordable gap year program out there.

three girls together with the ones on the ends kissing the girl in the middle on the cheeks