Whether you are looking for a base for fieldwork and data collection, a student camp for your Week Without Walls, a meaningful stop on your study abroad program, or any other kind of school trip – Jungle Life Camp has you covered!
We pride ourselves in combining adventure and environmental education to inspire children and adults alike to pay closer attention to their environment and the ways that they are directly or indirectly interacting with it.
Students drink clean water directly from a vine to learn about finding water in a survival situation.
Luckily, we just so happen to be located in the perfect place for outdoor education.
Rather than treating our student activities as disjointed experiences, we weave them all into one fascinating journey that our students travel on together; and this journey follows the Story of Khao Sok.
Many of our school activity programs start out with an interactive quiz/presentation on some of the history of the area, and the story starts 250 million years ago – back when Khao Sok was located under the superocean known as Panthalassa.
Over a period of many millions of years, the remains of sea creatures built up on the sea floor and turned into the limestone that makes the Khao Sok cliffs so iconic.
We can learn so much about the world by trying to understand our natural surroundings.
Thanks to natural processes such as soil deposition, sea level change and tectonic shift, this limestone eventually became covered in a layer of soil and Khao Sok was no longer submerged under the sea – meaning that the jungle was able to start growing around 160-180 million years ago.
You can see that after heavy rain, the river that passes by our camp sometimes turns brown as it is transporting soil that has been washed away. Some of this soil will be deposited 100km away in the Tapee and Phun Phin River deltas.
As the river slows down in the low-lying area around Surat Thani city, it spreads out and deposits soil to form this complicated network of water channels and arable land that we call a river delta. The sea next to river deltas slowly becomes shallower, and – unless the rate of sea level rise is faster – eventually becomes land.
The same natural processes have caused some ancient forests to disappear. For example, they may have been covered in ice as the land mass they sat on moved around the world, or they could have been submerged when the sea levels were higher than they are today.
The tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia are the oldest in the world to have survived to the present day. But the first jungles of Southeast Asia looked very different to the jungle we see around us now.
One of our presentation slides shows the original evolution of, mass divergence of, and in some cases decline and extinction of, varies groups of organisms. We use this to imagine how the jungle in Khao Sok might have looked at different stages in its 160-180 million year history.
Over many millions of years the landscape in Khao Sok changed a lot. The mountains were created thanks to continental collision, and were slowly eroded away by rain acidified by organic matter decaying in the soil, until we were left with the towering cliffs and countless cave systems that we know and love.
Students enjoy matching rock formations with descriptions of how they are formed before finding real life examples in the cave around them.
Not only is the natural history of Khao Sok a gripping tale, but the human history is equally fascinating. The area has been used for various endeavours such as a trading route between India and China, a hideout for communist insurgents, exploited for its timber and underground minerals, rearing pigs, and the village was even completely abandoned in the 1940s due to the outbreak of an infectious disease.
Before the main road was built, the Sok River was used to transport goods and people long distance.
As well as observing and experiencing the environment around us to understand Khao Sok’s past, we encourage students to consider the future, and think about what lessons we can learn from the story of Khao Sok.
After the construction of Ratchaprapha Dam to create the beautiful Cheow Lan Lake, and witnessing the dramatic effect it had on the local environment, the government would reconsider starting new large dam projects.