Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Offwego - visiting the orphanages in BKK

Offwego - visiting the orphanages in BKK

Dec 29th, 2006, 03:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,363
Offwego - visiting the orphanages in BKK

We are booked with Tong for January 24th and 25th - 2 of our 4 full days in Bangkok...it's our first visit to Bangkok (for that matter it's our first visit to Asia).

We're arriving from Siem Reap - where we're spending 5 days with Ponheary and Dara including a visit to a school (and we plan a donation to her foundation).

I followed your trip in September when you visited the orphanages with Tong.....your words were very affecting.

I'm seriously considering asking Tong to replicate that day trip for us.......my feeling is we have 3 other days to do the typical tourist-y things but we should also experience other realities......I guess my question is - am I nuts to do this instead of the typical tourist stuff? Hard for you to answer, I realize.....but any comments would be helpful and appreciated
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 229
I can't speak to the orphanages and I don't mean to hijack your thread, but...

I spent time at a school with Ponheary in Siem Reap last month. It was a truly amazing and moving experience.

As you'll be able to see for yourself, donations to the PLF are put to very good use.

Enjoy your travels!
cjbryant is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 10:13 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 115
Having worked with children's NGOs in China and SEA, I would strongly urge you to visit one of these institutions to see life from a child's view.

One of my most memorable visit was to an 0rphanage nursery with 40 babies in cribs. None of them, not one, was crying because they had learned that it didn't matter if they cried. The overworked but caring staff simply had no time to address their emotional needs.

The babies had given up.
beaker is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 10:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 115
Elizabeth, I am not trying to put drama into this thread, but you have raised an insightful question about visiting institutions on your trip. Obviously institutions vary in quality in every country, but if you want to measure how committed they are to the children, after you visit the room with kids that they first show you, ask to see the kids who are mentally retarded or have physical disabilities or are HIV positive. Their room is often in the far back or upstairs, and usually they do not have pretty wallpaper, toys or someone playing the piano for them. Most times, outsiders cannot visit these kids.

How we treat these children speaks volumes about us, and what is really important in our cultures. Now this is a true travel experience.
beaker is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
Elizabeth-Four of us spent a day with Tong in November. It included a visit to the orphanages. It was wonderful. This was reported in my trip report as well as RhkKmk's. You can skip these and just book the day with her. Just go with it.
Gpanda is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 02:47 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,418
Hi Elizabeth

Yes, definitely ask Tong to take you to the orphanges. There are bunches of them in Bangkok proper and if you're heading out to Kanchanaburi (to Tiger Temple. etc) there is another one out there that is a bit more rural that she just recently discovered and she says it's much more destitute than the BKK orphanages.

Spend 20 bucks or so on diapers, etc or make a donation. If you've got the heart for it, have Tong take you to see the mentally challenged kids and spend some time with them.

Temples and Palaces are great, but interacting with these kids is illuminating in a whole other way. Please go.

offwego is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 05:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 846
My heart is aching for these children-I want to hold them in my arms
BeniciaChris is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Forgive my lack of Christmas cheer: can anyone explain to me just WHY one would want to visit orphanages?

Some might think that we are turning these kids into yet another tourist attraction.

Is this about the kids feeling good - or about YOU feeling good?

dogster is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,957
as gpanda said we did very much enjoy our time at the orphanage--and think the kids did as well...it is very worthwhile, but so are the ones right in your back yard--have you visited them recently???

we asked to do this kind of thing because we have done the touristy things in bkk many times....

to your question...i guess it depends on the focus of your trip and your life and what you think is more important...???? combining the two might be a good idea, but if you are already doing it in SR, is your time better spent doing traditional things in bkk?? only you know this...you can always send money, via tong; and don't forget the ones near to where you live...
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 08:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 115

One might want to go see these kids to get beyond the self indulgence of being a tourist and just thinking about one's own needs. Nothing wrong with that, I certainly do that on vacation. Some folks might want to have another type of experience in addition just finding the best buy on silk in Bangkok.

If you do not wish to see unpleasant things just don't go...pretty simple.

You can be judgemental about a persons motive for seeing the kids if you wish, but I can assure you the kids you interact won't question the visitor's motives. Their day will be just a little bit better.
beaker is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Jul 22nd, 2008 11:24 AM
Mar 16th, 2007 03:07 PM
Jul 26th, 2006 10:38 AM
Feb 20th, 2004 06:45 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:21 AM.