OPERATION CITIES ... is paramount, and wats (Buddhist temples) are central spaces of religious and social

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  • BAC KPA

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    OPERATION

    TO

    GROUNDSWELL’s

    CITIES

    SOUTHEAST ASIA

    ADVENTURE

    AND

    SANCTUARIES

    OPERATION GROUNDSWELL www.operationgroundswell.com

    S O

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    C IT

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    & S

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  • The summer of your life is about to begin. This package will get you stoked and fill you in on everything you need to know about OG and Southeast Asia.

    CONTENTS

    3 OUR APPROACH

    4 A LETTER FROM YOUR PROGRAM LEADERS

    5 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

    6 THAILAND COUNTRY PROFILE

    7 CAMBODIA COUNTRY PROFILE

    8 GETTING IN & OUT OF SOUTHEAST ASIA

    9 TRAVEL HEALTH & MEDICINE

    10 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

    11 WHAT TO PACK

    12 PACKING LIST CONTINUED

    13 MONEY MATTERS

    14 CULTURAL DO’S AND DO NOT’S

    15 THAI FOR DUMMIES

    15 KHMER FOR DUMMIES

    16 WHO WE’RE WORKING WITH

    17 KNOWING STUFF MAKES YOU SMARTER

    18 FINAL CHECKLIST

    WE’re sparking a

    movement of

    globally active &

    socially coNScious

    BACKPACKTIVISTS.

  • OG Southeast Asia Cities and Sanctuaries l 3 > >

    OUR APPROACH

    Operation Groundswell is a collaborative organization. It’s in our DNA. Which is why over the past couple years, we’ve sat down with over fifty people close to OG to ask them which values best represent the organization. Together we built what is now called the Backpacktivist Manifesto: a working document that we will use to inform everything we do, both abroad and right here in our home communities.

    Here are the values that every backpacktivist should strive for:

    » Prepared to change: the most important quality in a backpacktivist is the ability to reflect and adapt.

    » Full life livin’: squeeze the sweet nectar out of

    every opportunity the world throws at us!

    » Conscientious: adhering to local traditions and customs allows us to understand the value of cultures different from our own.

    » Respect: make an effort to understand all people... even the ones we don’t get along with.

    » Humility: a backpacktivist may look silly searching for words in a new language, but the very attempt connects us to locals on a whole different level.

    » Solidarity: a backpacktivist stands in solidarity with all peoples, regardless of race, gender, or class.

    » Group-focused: leverage the power of a group to develop a deeper understanding of the world around us and ourselves.

    » Thirst for learning: the road is the best classroom and a backpacktivist is searching for truth.

    » Leadership: we are training the next generation of positive and diverse leaders.

    Backpacking with a purpose is about being conscious and critical of our impact on the communities that we travel to.

  • OG Southeast Asia Cities and Sanctuaries l 4

    Congratulations on being accepted into what will be one of your life’s most epic and rewarding adventures! It’s official, you have now committed to an amazing adventure of wandering through Cambodia and Thailand with a crew of rad and passionate individuals looking to experience the world in a whole new way!

    From the unbound chaos of Bangkok to the tranquility of the villages tucked away in the countryside by ancient ruins, this trip will open your eyes to a whole new way of life and living. The monks, the temples, the smiles, the tuk-tuks, the beaches, and the hustle and bustle matched only by the calm and serene – we are addicted to this part of the world and can’t wait to share it with you!

    Yes, we have a plan. Yes, we know where we are going (most of the time…) Yes, we know what not to eat, who we will be working with, and where the coolest temples and best pad thais can be found. That being said – the bus will break down. We will try and be tried by a variety of insects. Yes, we will change our minds. And no, nothing is written in stone. We’ll learn to say “mai pen lai” (no worries!), and we’ll go with the flow. Welcome to Southeast Asia and welcome to the OG family; this is our trip and we will make it a great journey together!

    With this part of the world being a prime destination for many foreigners, Operation Groundswell prides itself on bringing travelers, not tourists to this magnificent region. While many backpackers visit these countries, our program will take you down the path less wandered

    Jim & Becca

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    > >

    A LETTER FROM YOUR PROGRAM LEADERS

    SUA S’DEI / SA WAT DII!

    and offer you opportunities you simply won’t find with any other organization or by yourself. Working closely with incredible in-country partners, we are stoked for you to meet the dedicated game-changers who, over the years, have become our friends.

    In the weeks spent in Southeast Asia, you may not be able to “change the world”, but you’ll most certainly be changed by it. Our mission is to explore, educate and engage, but above all, to learn. We know this might be a lot to take in, but please read through this package carefully and check out some of the suggested books, articles, websites, and movies we’re throwing your way. The more you know, the more you’ll want to know… trust us! So read up and get ready for the best time of your life!

    Sincerely,

    THE SUMMER OF YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN. HERE’S EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

  • OG Southeast Asia Cities and Sanctuaries l 5

    PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

    BANGKOK, THAILAND ORIENTATION Each of you will be picked up by one of your awesome program leaders from the airport and brought to our guesthouse near Khao San Road, the world-famous backpacker’s mecca. You’ll acclimate by trying local cuisine, picking up the basics of Thai bargaining, and touring local historical sites. Plus, we’ll explore the loveable chaos of Bangkok through a citywide scavenger hunt!

    BANTEAY CHHMAR, CAMBODIA COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM PROJECT We will volunteer with the Community Based Tourism (CBT) initiative - a local cooperative organization dedicated to preserving a huge 800-year old temple complex located in the vicinity of the village of Banteay Chhmar We will have the opportunity to learn what alternative tourism really means, how it compares to mainstream tourism, and how the two differ in its effects on local communities.

    Our days will be spent taking bike rides to remote temples hidden in the forest and fishing for our own lunch…all while learning about sustainable farming in Cambodia!

    BATTAMBANG AND SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA TEUK POH PERMACULTURE EDUCATION FARM Traveling deeper into rural Cambodia, we’ll learn about permaculture and sustainable farming practices in a country where available lands are rapidly being depleted. We’ll get our hands dirty as we make improvements to an educational farm that is visited by hundreds of farmers all year round. PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA LEADERSHIP RETREAT A home to OG for the past couple of years, we’ll get to see the dynamism of Phnom Penh. We’ll have the opportunity to watch daily life along the riverside, try some new delicacies, and even dig deeper into the country’s tragic history by visiting the infamous Khmer Rouge Killing Fields. Later we partner with Tiny Toones and embark to Sihanoukville, located by the ocean, for a leadership retreat with some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet!

    YOUR PROGRAM ON A GOOGLE MAP

    Here is the itinerary for the six weeks that we will be together! In the age of Google, we decided that an interactive map is the only way to roll. Feel free to play around with it, make it your browser’s homepage, and share it with your friends and family. Soon enough we’ll be on the ground doing that route for real.

    Simply plug this link in your browser: http://goo.gl/dxugyS

    > >

    6 INCREDIBLE WEEKS. 1 PAGE.

  • OG Southeast Asia Cities and Sanctuaries l 6

    THAILAND COUNTRY PROFILE

    Capital: Bangkok

    Population: 67 million

    Major languages: Thai (official), Lao, Yawi, Chinese dialects, and the languages spoken by the hilltribes (Lahu, Akha, Hmong, etc.),

    Major religion: Theravada Buddhist (official) 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1%

    Life expectancy: 71 years (men), 76 years (women)

    Monetary unit: Baht (B)

    Time Zone: UTC +7:00

    The Kingdom of Thailand has, over the last five decades, become one of the world’s foremost tourist destinations. No surprise, since Thailand seems to have it all: bustling city life in Bangkok, idyllic beaches and islands in the south, a rugged and culturally diverse northern region, world heritage sites and nature parks, a warm tropical climate, delicious and abundant food, a laid-back lifestyle, and a smile around every corner.

    While Thailand is a modern and industrialized society – with an economy largely based on market driven agriculture and the industry/services sector – Thais still adhere to deep-rooted traditi