Top Gap Year Destinations for 2011-12

Press Release: 2011-08-03


Many students may find themselves disappointed if they do not get a place at university this year, especially with the lower £3,000 tuition costs over the next four years versus the £9,000 price tag next year. It will be time for students to work out what they can do before they can either reapply to UCAS in the spring for clearing or decide to try a completely different path for their future.


It’s a golden opportunity for students to use this gap time wisely and constructively. Things happen for a reason and this could be the start of a journey to develop new personal skills. There are travelling opportunities abroad that will help make a difference and strengthen a student’s future application or to make an informed decision about if they really want to go to university and get into debt.


Last year 30 per cent of students did not gain a place through clearing, and were looking into alternative opportunities. This year may well turn into a very similar situation.


Students are well aware that universities and employers are no longer impressed by a ‘GAP YAH right of passage trip,’ spent living on a shoe string, backpacking from full moon party to surf party. Without a doubt it’s time for students to be focused and to show they can act independently, put themselves in different environments and choose to learn skills that enhance their application to university or to enter the work place.


Sam Cox, Managing Director of Real Gap Experience, says:  “When students don’t really know what to do next they need to realise what a gap stint can be used for. For many it’s an important gap which will prevent them applying for something they don’t really want to do and heading off on the wrong track. Gap stints are particularly useful for those students who can’t decide which course or career they really want to do, giving them time to make an informed decision and to even gain work experience abroad with the potential to earn a bit of money”.


She continues: “We have seen an increase in shorter Gap stints, with travellers opting to gain relevant work experience. This year Asia, with its good exchange rates, remains one of the most popular destinations”.


Using industry insight, Real Gap Experience has compiled a top 10 list of destinations to visit on a Gap stint in Asia. Topping the charts of popular destinations are:


  1. Thailand
  2. India
  3. China
  4. Vietnam
  5. Cambodia
  6. Nepal
  7. Sri Lanka
  8. Malaysia
  9. Indonesia
  10. Philippians


Asia’s diverse landscapes are mind-blowing. From frenzied cities buzzing with pulsating energy to magnificent coastlines, snow-capped mountainous landscapes, lush paddy fields nurtured by the monsoon rains and steamy jungles teeming with indigenous wildlife. The food and the people across this continent are diverse and exciting.  Indulge in fiery Mayan curries, get adventurous with a local dish from a road side stall and savour the aromas of a hearty bowl of noodles or try deep fried spiders in Skoun in Cambodia. With its spices, colours, smells, flavours and characteristics, Asia is mouth-wateringly rewarding.


To inspire you further, Real Gap Experience’s enthusiastic team of experts on all things Asian have racked their brains to find 10 curious facts about Asia.


  1. Asia is the largest continent by landmass. The land area of Asia is actually larger than the land area of the moon.
  2. More people live in India than in Central America, North America and South America – altogether!
  3. Asia contains more than 60% of population in the world, which is around 4 billion. This many people standing side by side holding hands would reach around the world at the equator more than 100 times.
  4. Asia is the only continent where tigers are found in the wild.
  5. In Thailand it is the year 2554 (not 2011)
  6. In Thailand barbers are usually closed on Wednesday because Thais think it will bring bad luck to cut their hair that day of the week.
  7. All Thai men are expected to be a monk for a short period sometime in their life. Traditionally it was 3 months but today the time is reduced to a week or two.
  8. Some people in Malaysia wash their babies in beer to protect them from diseases.
  9. India has a Bill of Rights for cows, which means it is against the law to slaughter a cow.
  10. Indonesia is home to some of the rarest animals in the world. This include the miniature deer, a fish that can climb trees and catch insects and spiders that make giant webs to lure small birds.




For Further Information Please Contact:


Jenny Spires – Marketing Director
T +44 (0) 1892 701 058 M +44 (0) 7534 650543
[email protected]


Jennifer Vieira - Marketing Executive
T +44 (0) 1892 701 888
[email protected]


1 Meadow Road
Tunbridge Wells





This is a magical opportunity to travel across China to see iconic and impressive sites, meet the people and gain some new skills. Learn to make dumplings in Xi’an then head to the home of Kungfu to take instruction in this martial art from the Masters in Shaolin. As part of this four week adventure visit the Great Wall, get lost in the Forbidden City, stand to attention with the Terracotta Warriors, take a cruise down the Yangtze River, visit the Three Gorges Dam and inhale the energy of Shanghai from the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower. Sandwich this all together volunteering with magnificent Giant Panda’s in the foothills of the Qingling Mountains and helping with much needed community work with local children in Xi. Life is rarely black and white… unless you’re a Giant Panda on the brink of extinction. It is estimated that there are only about 1000 Giant Pandas left in the world. Get close to China’s most iconic animal as you help staff fulfil their duties at a conservation centre. Get up close to these black and white beauties - a symbol of endangered species throughout the world. For lovers of wildlife and those who want to do something useful with their time, your days spent at the sanctuary will offer a thrill that you'll remember for a lifetime. Your onward travels through China are equally impressive with a visit to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. The chance to cycle through some stunning scenery will make you want to return to China again and again 


VALID: Valid for all 2011 and 2012 departures


DATES Available: Departures from February to November


BOOK: Call Real Gap Experience on 01892 516164 or visit


Prices start from £1,349 land only for 4 weeks.  27 nights’ accommodation is provided staying in backpacker’s hostels, volunteer apartments, guesthouses and sleeper trains with most breakfasts and some lunch and dinners provided, airport transfer, orientation and 24hr support is included. Also included is a trip to the Great Wall of China, a trip to the Forbidden City, four-hour Kung Fu lesson, Giant Panda volunteering, transport as per planned itinerary and services of a tour guide in each city. China Experience





Experience adventure travel in Thailand with all the best bits packed into just four weeks. Spend a full month getting to know the real Thailand and its enchanting culture. Real Gap’s Thai Experience explores unspoilt Kanchanaburi and Sangklaburi with an opportunity to visit and lend a worthwhile hand at local volunteer projects. The four weeks also include an assortment of adventures such as jungle trekking, the River Kwai, floating markets and restaurants, waterfall pools in Erawan and meeting indigenous Thai communities.  Volunteers have the opportunity to teach in a number of schools; from the Thai government schools, which support the local community, to one of the local children’s home providing education to abandoned, impoverished and/or orphaned children. The children are a mix of Burmese, Thai and Thai Hill Tribe people - The Mons. Learning English is so important for these kids' futures as a competence in English opens doors later in life. Both of the main orphanages in Sangkhlaburi have seen a massive influx of children of all ages in the past year. There are many children who are pre-school (under 5) and these kids require volunteers to play, interact, organise games and simply help them enjoy life. Many of them simply just want some attention. In return you will see their eyes light up, big smiles stretched across their little faces and you will be confident that your efforts are really appreciated. With so many children and so few carers these kids really need extra help and attention. There is also the option of working at a childcare centre at the Hill Tribe


VALID: Valid for all 2011 departures


DATES Available: 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th August, 9th, 23rd 




BOOK: Call Real Gap Experience on 01892 516164 or visit


 Price starts from £899 land only for four weeks including accommodation (hotel/guest houses), all breakfasts, airport transfer and tour of Bangkok and Kanchanaburi, airport pick-up, in-country orientation, local in-country team and 24hr emergency support. Real Gap Thailand Experience





Phnom Penh is a heady mix of Asia’s past and present with two faces, the happy face of excess and shiny palaces, the other dark and complex. One of the poorest countries in Asia, there remains an unbreakable spirit and infectious optimism even though Cambodia is a country that has been shaped by tragedy. Everyone you meet will have a story to tell. Experience Phnom Penh working in a Cambodian orphanage in groups of 5 – 15 volunteers to give the children of Phnom Penh a chance of a brighter future. These orphaned children await the vital education and care they are in desperate need of. As a volunteer on this project it will be a hands-on experience providing the children with essential attention, support and care to act as a role model to them; encouraging them to develop an enthusiasm for education and helping them develop their skills. Work at this locally set up Cambodian orphanage and help educate the children through teaching English, as well as teaching art, performing arts and sports. Immerse yourself in the nation's culture, and see first-hand how Cambodia is moving forward on this experience. The working hours at the project will be Monday to Friday 9am-11am and 1pm-3pm, leaving your weekends free to explore the area. Transport to and from the shelter will be by tuktuk, which is one of the best ways to get around this city.


VALID: Valid for all 2011/ 2012 departures


DATES Available: Departures every month


BOOK: Call Real Gap Experience on 01892 516164 or visit


Price starts from £599 land only for two weeks including accommodation in a guest houses, transfers to the project by tuktuk, in-country orientation, English speaking project co-ordinator, local in-country team and 24hr emergency support. Cambodia volunteers





Vietnam Airlines has announced the first ever non-stop flight service between UK and Vietnam starting 9th December 2011.


Flights will operate from London Gatwick to Hanoi on Tuesdays and Fridays, and to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on Wednesdays and Saturdays.




On this four week adventure with i-to-i Volunteer and Adventure Travel, live aboard a junk boat in Ha long Bay, update your wardrobe with tailor-made clothes in Hoi An, cruise around the Cai Be floating markets and explore Hanoi’s vibrant Old Quarter, before volunteering in a rural community helping with the construction of wells and farming jobs around the village. Highlights include


Vietnamese cooking lessons


Vietnamese language lessons


Jungle trekking or teaching volunteer placement in Lao Cai


You have a choice on the third week of your adventure holiday to teach English at a kindergarten or at a school for underprivileged kids and get involved in the broader life of the school – planning games and activities. You’ll be living with a local family, so it’s a great opportunity to learn a little about Vietnamese culture from the inside


VALID:                         Valid for all 2011/ 2012 departures


DATES Available:        Departures every month


BOOK:                         Call Real Gap Experience on 01892 516164 or visit


Prices start from £799per person for 27 days with various accommodation including shared hotel accommodation, overnight boat, overnight train and a homestay for the ten days at the volunteer project. Some meals are included, as well as arrival airport pickup and an in-country orientation and 24hr emergency support. Flights are not included.  Vietnam Experience

Ask a Question Get a Brochure
Real Gap Blog