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These summer school programs are a great way to get out of Bangkok and give your kids exposure to new places, new friends and new experiences, without being a tourist. You get to spend time in a nice town like Chiang Mai or Hua Hin and try some of the country’s top international schools.
In fact if you are considering enrolling your child in any school then doing their summer program is the best possible way to evaluate if the school suits your family. Read our list of the 9 Best International Schools Outside Bangkok.
Summer school programs take place in the international school summer holiday window from late June to mid August. However most providers of summer holiday programs also run programs in other school holidays like Easter/Song Kran in April.
Options for summer camps and summer school programs get better after your child turns 7 years old. For example;
- Rugby School Pattaya
- British International School Phuket
- St Stephens Khao Yai
All have great summer programs for kids 7 years old and over.
For 3-6 year olds the best options are Regents International School Pattaya and Prem International School in Chiang Mai. My daughter has done both of them, as well as one in Hua Hin that does not make the best of list. You should also consider Montesuri schools.
1. Regents International School Pattaya
Regents has a great summer school program for 3 -11 year olds. The program is well organized with clear communication and clear points of contact.
The activities focus on play, physical education, arts and crafts. The youngest age group do not go out on any excursions but the older kids do. The facilities are very good quality such as the swimming pool and the indoor gymnasium.
The teachers and staff are great, although there are too many of them. Too many adults per child takes away some of the opportunity for learning and exploring independently or amongst friends. You would like a kid to be able to get up to a little bit of mischief from time to time during the summer holidays.
Over half the kids are Chinese, most of those coming directly from China for the school holidays (not Chinese folks who live in Thailand). My daughter’s group of about 12 kids had one native English speaking westen kid in it and one Luk Krung (Eurasian).
Regents runs three weeks of summer school and one week was while my daughter’s normal school was still in term, so we only got to do two weeks. We would have preferred more like five or six weeks so we only have to go to one place, rather than look for another program elsewhere to fill in the holiday.
There is a school bus available for drop off and pick up every day but we did not use it. I wanted to get a feeling for the school and chat with teachers and other parents before and after school.
There is a lot for families to do on the weekend like water parks, boating or chilling at resort swimming pools. During the week while the little one is at school Dad can play golf, race go-karts and get a massage. Mum can go shopping at the malls or go for a spa treatment.
Regents International School Pattaya opened in 1995 for both boarding and day students. You can feel it has institutional knowledge cultivated over decades. It has both British A levels and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.
They have a big focus on sports and tech such as robotics, as well as creative pursuits like music and digital media creation. Pattaya is hot and the indoor or shaded indoor/outdoor play areas are impressive.
The teachers are wonderful, mostly from the UK. The teacher my daughter mostly dealt with moved to Regents from Harrow Bangkok. Regents is a classy mature school that knows what it’s about and is one of the top International schools in Thailand.
The price of the program in 2023 for the youngest age group was 15,000 baht per week.
2. Prem International School Chaig Mai
Prem has excellent summer camps starting for 4 year olds. Prem’s campus in Mae Rim just north of Chiang Mai is naturally beautiful and expansive, with its own organic farm. They have family camps where parents and kids sleep in the onsite accommodation and do most activities together. They also offer day camps where parents drop off and pick up the kids like a normal school day.
The camp leaders are good enough and the activities and excursions are fantastic.
The camps themselves are well organized once they are underway but they don’t feel well organized beforehand. I said Prem runs these camps but technically it’s a separate outfit called “Tradihos”, or is it “3 Generations”? And are they really separate or not? And why isn’t anything explained on their websites?
In the lead up to camp I had multiple email chains to people with different email domains and I was supposed to join a WeChat group (I did not have WeChat). I really could not tell who was what.
There was no start time, just a start day. This meant people arrived throughout the morning and afternoon and people who arrived later missed out on introductions and icebreakers. It would have been better to have a start time to plan around.
When we arrived we realized that 95% of the participants were Chinese. For the family camps this was all people who live in China and came to Chiang Mai for the summer camp. For the day camp it was a mix of that and Chinese families who live or have a holiday house around Chiang Mai.
My daughter and I do not speak any Chinese. It was an interesting cultural exchange that could actually be a reason to put your western kid in these camps, if you want them to learn Chinese and get experience interacting with Chinese people. Just being in WeChat groups with the parents was an eye opening experience.
The family camp is intensive and busy, just how the Chinese tiger mums liked it. It’s a bit too much for a 4 year old Thai or westerner but probably about right for a 6 year old. The accommodation for the family camp is something between a 3 star hotel and boarding school dorms. It’s fine in that camp spirit kind of way.
August in Chiang Mai can be very rainy. We did not see the sun for the first six days but it mostly cleared up after that.
The surrounding area is wonderful. You will have lots to do outside camp like nature walks, waterfall swims, golf, flower gardens, butterfly cafes, ATV tours, ziplining etc. All the shopping, amenities and dining of Chiang Mai are only 40 minutes away and during the day camp you can stay at the beautiful Four Seasons, only 15 minutes away.
Prem is one of the top international schools outside Bangkok. It’s a full International Baccalaureate (IB) program from nursery to year 13. It opened in 2002 to both boarding and day students. The student body is about 90% Chinese, indeed the full size cricket oval looks underused.
The price for a one week family camp for one child and one adult was 104,000 baht. The price for a one week day camp was 9,000 baht.
3. Montessori schools
Lots of Montessori schools all over Thailand have summer holiday programs and most of them are really good. Google for more info.
4. BECC Hua Hin
Last summer my daughter went to BECC in Hua Hin. BECC is a slightly alternative style international school on the grounds of the Patravadi School of Performing Arts. Their summer program starts for 3 year olds.
Good points about BECC summer program are that;
- It’s multicultural, including native english speaking and Luk Krungs kids rather than being Chinese dominated.
- It runs the whole 6 weeks of the summer holidays, which is very convenient.
- It’s in Hua Hin which I prefer to Pattaya or Chiang Mai.
- It’s inexpensive.
It’s a simple program on a small campus with no excursions or swimming or anything like that. The staff are nice but the teachers are not native English speakers. If your child is still napping you’re going to have a problem and the head teacher is not interested.
One Thai family I know disliked it so much that they took their kid out after a week. Another western family I know liked it over multiple years. We found it okay but nowhere near as good as Regents, Prem or Montessori schools.