TGL Thailand 2017

The GIving Lens Thailand dives into empowering women that may be at risk for the sex trafficking trade, educates on the elephant conservation and rescue, and explores much of the diverse culture of northern Thailand

The Giving Lens has been to Thailand twice before, but this trip we are partnering with a new NGO for a hard to beat experience of Northern Thailand! When not volunteering we will explore the beautiful and upbeat city of Chiang Mai, take in some of the surrounding rural areas, and top it off with a visit to our good friends at Elephant Nature Park - the most renowned (and most trusted) elephant (and dog!) rescue camp in Thailand.

We'll be partnering up with Daughters Rising. DR works with girls at-risk of sex-trafficking and poverty from the surrounding area (often from hill tribes / Myanmar refugee families) by offering support and sponsorships to further education, vocational training (such as hotel work, craftwork, and tour guide training),  shelter, and therapeutic workshops (art, music, lectures, education, health). We love DR's approach to this issue and will be joining them to teach photography workshops to encourage exploration, self expression, a creative outlet, storytelling, and a sense of uniqueness and originality. We will then have the girls act as guides to help us visit the neighbouring hill tribes (from which some of them come) responsibly and respectfully to both document, and run a mini-workshop with the hill tribe's school!

In conjunction with partnering with Daughters Rising we will be partnering with 2 of their related projects: The Chai Lai Orchid, a responsible, ethical, eco boutique hotel experience run by the founder of DR; and Chai Lai Sisters, the first tour company run by indigenous women in Thailand, which provides job training and micro loans. This is a holistic approach to the issue and ensures much of our funds in country can return to the people who need them!

At the end of our trip we will return to our friends at Elephant Nature Park to learn about the issues, photograph the elephants, and have an incredible day with these gentle giants.

Between our incredible accommodation, the chance to do meaningful workshops with these girls, the opportunity to visit hill tribes that are not touristed, a great day with ENP, exploring Chiang Mai, taking in Thai food and culture ... this trip is one for the books. Read on for more info!

Trip Dates

June 22 - 30, 2017


$2900 USD

Group Size




This trip is physically easy to moderate. In Thailand in general, there is lots of walking and temples can be steep. The heat can be cumbersome but we try to take afternoons easy, and offer lots of chances for shade and hydration. There will be several hikes to reach viewpoints, but they are fairly novice hikes. Otherwise, this is a fairly approachable trip for those concerned about physical requirements.
The emotional demands of this trip are moderate to difficult. We will become closely connected to these girls and struggle to deal with the harsh facts of their stories, whether they're at-risk or a survivor of trafficking. You will not know which is which for their personal privacy. You will come to love their exuberant personalities and potentially recoil at the thought of these girls - or girls just like them - being trafficked. For this reason the emotional difficulty of this trip has the potential to be high, even though the days will be full of laughter, silliness, selfies, and joy. To struggle means to be pushed to action, so it is a very good thing, but could be overwhelming for novice travelers or those who haven't dealt with poverty (or thought much about such severe issues before.)    
The standards of accommodation, quality of meals, and access to amenities of this trip are very good. Accommodation is very nice, clean, comfortable, and safe. You can expect a simple room or bungalow with two twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, and clean sheets, towels, and blankets. Hot water can be hit and miss if we're all trying to shower at once but otherwise is not an issue. Meals are excellent. Thai food ranges from mild to spicy, with lots of noodles, rice, protein, and fruit available. For lovers of this food type, it's heaven. Amenities are plentiful. Toilets will be western style.
Level of safety in Chiang Mai is very good to excellent. The most common issue for tourist is pickpocketing, but statistics are en par with almost anywhere well touristed in the world. TGL will offer tips and advice for your belongings and cash in team newsletters. If arriving early or staying late in Thailand, Chiang Mai is a very safe city to be alone in, and is well touristed with ample amenities. It's easy to research common scams, but the outcome is mere money loss and not issues to personal safety.
The GIving Lens Thailand dives into empowering women that may be at risk for the sex trafficking trade, educates on the elephant conservation and rescue, and explores much of the diverse culture of northern Thailand

What is Included?

  • Connector.

    All Ground Transportation

    From the moment you arrive to when you depart, we have you covered. Taxis, buses, tours, you name it.

  • Connector.

    All Accommodation and Meals

    Rooms are double rooms with twin beds, paired by gender, and accommodation is always clean, comfortable, and safe. From dinner the arrival day, to breakfast the departure day, we will keep you well fed and hydrated.

  • Connector.

    All Entry Fees and Guides

    Entry fees, shooting permits, guides, passes, etc. If the team is going to shoot there, we'll get you in. We'll even be sure to tip any guides on behalf of the whole team.

  • Connector.

    All Photo Instruction

    You'll have 2 leaders available all day long to field as many questions as you can muster, provide one-on-one help, and offer group topics and instruction as required by the scene at hand.

  • Connector.

    A Donation to the NGO

    While there are a lot of factors involved that determine the exact amount - which we're happy to be completely transparent about - you can rest assured we make a substantial donation to our NGO partner post-trip.

What is Not Included?

  • Connector.


    We're open to people from every corner of the world. This means we cannot possibly offer a flight that would suit everyone. If you can get yourself here, we'll take care of the rest!

  • Connector.


    We require every participant to have adequate travel insurance, and to carry copies of this insurance at all times.

  • Connector.

    Passport and Visa

    Each participant is required to ensure their passport is valid for the time of travel, and to research, learn, and meet all the requirements of an entry visa specific to their country. If there are fees associated with the entry visa, they're not included.

  • Connector.

    Alcohol and Souvenirs

    We do not provide alcohol for our participants, so that's up to you. As well, as much as we really really like you, we can't buy your gifts for you. Souvenirs are on you!

  • Connector.


    Some hotels have wifi, others do not, or sometimes it simply doesn't work. When wifi is available for purchase, it's up to you if it's worthwhile. Some participant opt to purchase a local SIM card and data plan - a great option that we don't cover.

Behind the Scenes of TGL Thailand

The NGO: Daughters Rising

At Daughters Rising, our mission is to empower at-risk girls through education to end trafficking and exploitation in their communities and break the cycle of inter-generational poverty.

As many as 2 million children are forced into prostitution every year and more than half of them live in Asia. Unlike a lot of problems in developing countries, this is one that is actually getting worse. At the peak of the transatlantic slave trade, 80,000 slaves were transported from Africa to the new world. Today, more than 10 times as many women are being forced into brothels or other forms of slavery. Every 30 seconds, another person becomes a victim. Women are lured by traffickers with false promises of jobs such as domestic help, models, and other hospitality jobs, and are then forced into slavery. The good news is that our generation can end this horrible human rights violation and everyone has a role.

It’s so important to shut down the perpetrators and save girls, but it’s also important to prevent it from happening to girls at all. We believe that offering incentives for educating a girl will make its less likely for parents to sell their daughter into prostitution. We believe that teaching a girl about confidence, women’s rights and health can empower her against traffickers. We believe that with access to education she can pursue her dreams.

We tackle prevention by providing: access to Education, Vocational Training, Anti-Trafficking Initiatives, Shelters, Therapeutic Activities, Indigenous Craft Preservation and Income Generation, and Community Outreach.

The Giving Lens is so excited to partner with Daughters Rising in Thailand for 2017, and we encourage you to read more on their website right now.



The GIving Lens Thailand dives into empowering women that may be at risk for the sex trafficking through our work with Daughter's Rising, educates on the elephant conservation and rescue, and explores much of the diverse culture of northern Thailand

Who Are Your Leaders?

Daniel Nahabedian is a freelance professional photographer, specializing in Travel, Culture and Landscapes (maybe also sunsets). He is a photography instructor, teaching in group and private workshops about basic and intermediate photography, as well as post-processing in Lightroom. He is an Armenian-Lebanese-French guy, raised in the UAE and living in Spain. His goal is to contribute to making the world a more friendly place by sharing his travels, knowledge acquired, and glimpses into cultures and traditions from around the world. He has an award-winning travel blog, Canvas of Light.

Michael Bonocore is our most senior trip leader, with nearly a dozen TGL trips under his belt. He's the Travel Editor at Resource Travel and specializes in travel, street, and landscape photography. He's also a professional videographer. He's worked with tourism boards, camera companies, and travel websites to make visual content from around the world. Hailing from SFO, he's been on the road more than he's been at home for the last 3 years. Michael is an extraordinary teacher and leader - you're in for a treat!

TGL Testimonials

Yasmin T.

I feel honored that I was chosen as 1 of 7 women for the inaugural all-women’s trip to Thailand to work with COSA. The chance to give back to an NGO working with young girls of the sex-trafficking industry was really an eye-opening and rewarding experience. It has ignited a fire in me to continue ... Read More
Yasmin T.

Michelle M.

I highly recommend traveling with The Giving Lens. You will get to see so much more on these trips that you wouldn’t otherwise. I learned so much about the culture of the country in Tanzania, and so much about photography. The leaders are so caring and smart and some of the nicest people I’ve ever ... Read More
Michelle M.

Kevin W.

Not all photography tours are equal. Traveling with The Giving Lens means you’ll connect with a local group, help their organization as a volunteer, and then share your passion for photography with the people you are volunteering to help. This is a collaboration that gives something both to that organization and to you as a ... Read More