Download Trip Itinerary (revised Dec 2012, subject to change)


his full credit international field course will provide students with international perspectives on three cross-cutting issues of sustainability directly relevant to our program: a) sustainability of human settlements of various scales, from megalopolis to rural village; b) environmental integrity in heavily populated areas, and c) tourism and its impacts and opportunities. The course will take students to representative urban settlements, ecological regions, and tourism destinations of:

a) Hong Kong, including HK island, the Kowloon Peninsula, Lantau Island, and a range of communities and destinations throughout the former territory, and

b) Thailand, including Bangkok and the Central Plains, the northeastern Isan region (Korat and Loei Province), the northern forests and cities (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and the Mekong River Golden Triangle bordering Laos and Myanmar), the Eastern Seaboard (Chonburi, Pattaya, Rayong, and the island of Koh Samet), and the south (Khao Lak, the Andaman Seacoast, the island of Phuket island, and the tourist out-islands).

 Key elements will include: 

a)    observation and comparative analysis of settlement form and function in urban and rural communities; planned communities versus unplanned communities / emergent community form / squatter settlements; ecological footprint analysis; comparison of economic bases in Thailand and Hong Kong and implications for sustainability;

b)    parks, reserves, and mechanisms for protection of natural integrity in heavily populated urban and rural areas; threats to biodiversity and natural integrity;

c)    firsthand participatory experience and comparative analysis of several modes of tourism: mass tourism (international and Asian-market); cultural tourism (HK museums and cultural centre and Thai museums, palaces and temples); agritourism (Doi Tung Development Project), ecotourism (HK parks and trails system, Chiang Rai forest reserves, Koh Phi Phi coral reef tourism); beach resort tourism (Koh Samet National Park and Khao Lak); disaster tourism (post-tsunami tour), and observation of sex tourism (Pattaya, Bangkok) and international ‘schlock tourism’ (Pattaya, HK);

d)    observation and comparative analysis of transportation strategies in Hong Kong (transit based, integrated, multimodal, centrally planned) and Thailand (auto-based, non-integrated, multimodal, opportunistic). 

Students will also visit partner universities in Thailand (Burapha, Srinakharinwirot, Mae Fah Luang) and 1 in Hong Kong (City University), visiting campuses, meeting staff and faculty, and interacting with students.


David T. Brown
Associate Professor
Dept. of Tourism and Environment

Burapha University International College

Office: Room 603
Phone: 09-1513-3493



Apart from pre-departure orientation sessions at Brock University, all course activities take place abroad in Hong Kong and Thailand. See the field course itinerary for details of our destinations and timelines.


Predeparture Resources and POWERPOINT Presentations


- See TREN Term Abroad in Thailand home page at




China Williams, Mark Beales, Celeste Brash, Alan Murphy, Brandon Presser, Tim Bewer, Austin Bush. 2012. Thailand. Lonely Planet Guide, 14th Edition. 
ISBN: 9781741797145

Piera Chen, Chung Wah Chow. 2013. Hong Kong and Macau. Lonely Planet Guide, 15th Edition.
SBN: 9781741798500


Online Readings

TREN 3F94 course readings package

Student presentation abstracts, student predeparture briefing papers, and some journal articles will be shared in PDF format.

Peer Evaluation Grading Form (for use in the field to provide feedback to your colleagues)


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 2013. Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption and Production: Tourism. Available online at URL: (current to Jan 2013).

Hong Kong

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (USA). 2013. The World Factbook - Hong Kong. Available online at (current to Jan 2013).


Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (USA). 2013. The World Factbook - Thailand. Available online at (current to Jan 2013).



 Due Date


Assignment 1:
Predeparture Destination Brief
21 Jan 2013   20%
Assignment 2:
Field interpretation


Abstract due
21 Jan 2013

Presentations will occur on various dates in the field

Assignment 3:
Part 1: Reflection paper and
Part 2: Structured impact analysis
15 April 2013

Completed Peer Evaluation Grading Forms

09 April 2013

Participation and cooperation
Throughout trip


Total   100%


Assignment 1: Predeparture Destination Brief (1500 words)

It's important to understand the context of the destinations we will be visiting. For this assignment, you will prepare a 1500-word Destination Brief on Thailand or Hong Kong. You may choose any aspect of the environment, the economy, or the sociopolitical context of your chosen destination as your main focus, but whichever corner of the 'sustainability triangle' you emphasize, you must explicitly relate it in your report to the other two corners in a tangible way.

Your assignment will be written as a pre-departure brief to an intelligent traveller who is going to visit the chosen destination for the first time.  It should not simply be a paraphrasing of the introductory sections of a travel guidebook. Instead, it should be a well-crafted, well-referenced synthesis about your topic, reflecting input from primary sources like academic journals, authoritative books, historical treatises, government reports, and the media (online, broadcast and conventional). Internet sources are also acceptable, but as components of a comprehensive original report that you put together from various credible sources.

Your topic must be unique. Topics are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. Send an email to the entire class indicating your choice of topic for this assignment.

Length: 1500 words, appropriately referenced
Format: MS Word or Adobe PDF format
Due date: Monday 21 January 2013, submitted by email to the instructor and all course participants

Some sample topics:

The evolution of the Hong Kong Cityscape
Thailand's avoidance of colonization by outside nations
The 'Tom Yum Economic Crisis' of 1997-98
The 1997 Handover of Hong Kong to China
Hong Kong's Ecological Footprint
East meets West: The Preservation of Thai (Chinese) cultural values in an era of globalization
The Drug Economy in Thailand
The Hong Kong City Park and Reserve System
The Role of Tourism in the Thai Economy
Industrialization in Thailand: The rise of the Eastern Seaboard


Assignment 2: Field interpretation

In this assignment. you will become a field interpreter and guide to your course peers.

Choose one destination, site, feature or distinctive phenomenon from one of our destinations. You may get ideas from the course itinerary. You may focus on a destination / site / feature / phenomenon of any type (environmental or ecological feature, cultural artifact, human settlement) and at any scale (local, regional, national, international). Prepare a 30-minute interpretive field talk, informal but informative, for your colleagues in the course that will: a) introduce them to the destination / site / feature / phenomenon and its modern and historical context; b) highlight key attributes of the destination / site / feature / phenomenon; and c) summarize the importance of the destination / site / feature / phenomenon from a sustainable development perspective.

You will deliver this talk in the field as the 'local expert' when we arrive at the destination. Plan your presentation to be a dynamic and interactive experience which takes best advantage of the field experience, not a static lecture-room  talk. Do your research in advance so that you can anticipate the features and attributes of the destination that you will highlight during your interpretive talk.

Destinations, sites and features are fairly self-explanatory, and can be interpreted in a traditional 'tour guide' manner.  A 'phenomenon', for the purposes of this assignment, can be described as any distinctive or famous aspect of one or more of our destinations that is unique, significant, and worthy of explanation. For example, you might choose to:

  • provide an overview of the OTOP (One Tambon, One Product) program for preserving local craft traditions in Thailand;
  • describe the mechanism of shrimp aquaculture and its environmental impacts;
  • explain the reasons for the open sale of pirated products, from shoes to DVDs, in markets in Thailand and Hong Kong;
  • provide an overview of the importance of mangrove forests in coastal ecology in Thailand;
  • interpret why there are so many pickup trucks and motorcycles on the road in Thailand relative to other forms of transportation;
  • describe the structure and persistence of 'wet markets' selling live animals and produce in ultramodern Hong Kong;
  • examine the reasons for the rise and persistence of the sex trade in Pattaya;
  • provide an overview of the superbly integrated multimodal Hong Kong transit system;
  • describe the phenomenon of trans-gendered cabarets in Thailand;
  • interpret the rise of global retailing and its impacts on local markets;
  • describe the reasons for squatter settlements in Hong Kong;
  • provide an overview of fruits / foodstuffs available in local markets, their origins, and their end uses;
  • examine the makeup and distribution of expatriate communities and expatriate culture in either destination.

Do some background reading on our destinations to help you choose a suitable topic. You are limited only by your imagination. Clear the topic with the instructor if you are unsure of its suitability.

Prior to departure, email a 1-page abstract of your talk to your instructor and all course participants, and include a list of references. In addition to conventional print resources, include a minimum of 5 internet-accessible reference sources (e.g., online papers, articles, credible web sites, or other materials that you find online or post yourself).

You will be graded by the instructor and by your peers on the effectiveness of your presentation. You may distribute  a handout for course participants onsite if you desire, but it is not required.

Your topic must be unique. Topics are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. Send an email to the entire class indicating your choice of topic for this assignment.

Length: One-page abstract, with references
MS Word or Adobe PDF format, submitted electronically via email
Due dates: Abstract -
Monday 21 January 2013, submitted by email to the instructor and all course participants
Field talk - variable presentation dates, depending upon itinerary

Assignment 3: Reflection Paper and Structured Impact Analysis (total 3000 words)

This assignment consists of two parts:

1) a reflection paper which encourages you to reflect upon and evaluate your own personal response to the experience you have just undergone, and

2) a structured evaluation of the impacts (positive and negative) that our individual and collective actions on this field course have had on environment, economy, and society at all scales, from global to local, based upon the framework provided by the UNEP report on Sustainable Tourism (

Your two-part report will take the following form:

Part 1: Reflection paper (1500 words)

This paper should reflect your personal experiences and reactions to the field course. The purpose of the reflection paper is not to provide an exhaustive discussion of a particular subject, but rather to allow you to frankly explore your expectations, impressions, reactions, and responses (positive and negative) to your month-long journey through other places, cultures, and environments. There is no fixed structure for such a paper, since it is a personal statement, but here are some ideas to explore:

a) Did the places we visited match your preconceived mental images and personal expectations? What surprised and delighted you, and what dismayed and disappointed you?

b) Did you experience any strong intellectual reactions or emotional responses to anything you saw or experienced?

c) When and where did you feel most welcome and comfortable? Where and when (if anywhere) did you feel like an unwelcome intruder?

d) Did you ever mentally imagine yourself living the life of the people you saw in our travels?

e) Opportunities often arise when travelling to behave differently than you do at home: to loosen up and relax; to take advantage of different opportunities, legal boundaries, or behavioural norms; to be free from the supervision, observations, opinions and impressions of co-workers, parents, spouses, relatives, friends and employers. Did you find yourself behaving differently than you normally do, or tempted to behave differently, during our travels? Why?

f) We can be quick to react to other cultures and individuals and classify them in our minds. On one hand, we may idealize and admire certain groups or individuals based upon their behaviour, appearance, socioeconomic status, occupation, and attributes, and on the other hand, we may react negatively to certain groups or individuals for the same reasons. These reactions may be swift, irrational, and contradictory (e.g., admiring the serenity of a Buddhist monk while questioning his lack of economic contribution to society; admiring the simple lifestyle of a hill tribe village while deploring the standards of community hygiene). Describe any  

g) Could you ever imagine yourself living in Thailand or Hong Kong for an extended period? Why / why not?

h) It has been said that travel not only opens your eyes to other cultures, it makes you understand and appreciate what is good and bad about your own. What has this trip taught you about your home country, culture, and nationality?

Your paper should be submitted as a cogent, first-person essay, well-written and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Feel free to include your personal observations and impressions. You may also include references from the academic literature, the media, and popular culture sources to support your perspectives. Photos (your own, or properly referenced photos from other sources) may also be included in your paper if they help to illustrate your perspectives.

Length: 1500 words
MS Word or Adobe PDF format
Due date: 15 April 2013, submitted by email to the instructor

Part 2: Structured impact analysis (1500 words)

This part of your assignment is designed to help you identify and evaluate the environmental, economic, and social dimensions of your activities during this field course. You will attempt to keep track of these on a daily basis, and analyze their impacts (positive and negative) in a structured way.

Read and understand the framework for sustainable tourism provided by the UNEP report on Sustainable Tourism, at

Throughout the experience, from our pre-departure briefings to your return home, keep a journal or logbook to track and record the following:

  • direct and indirect economic costs to you (fees, travel expenses, meals, time lost from summer employment, etc.)
  • resource use and consumption (fuels, food, snacks, water, energy, souvenirs, etc).
  • services purchased
  • social / interpersonal interactions experienced
  • collective impacts of group activities

Use the UNEP framework (summarized below) to identify, organize, classify and analyze the impacts of our trip.

Based on your own personal experiences in this course, describe and evaluate the positive and negative impacts of your  travels, activities, and expenditures. Report your findings both qualitatively and quantitatively, as appropriate.

Based on your analysis, suggest practical ways that the negative impacts of your activities could be minimized, and the positive impacts of your activities could be enhanced.

Do not stop short of exploring difficult questions about the impacts and value of this experience, even if they make you uncomfortable. For example: is this kind of international educational experience sustainable? Should it be encouraged? On balance, do you, as a privileged person from an affluent society, contribute positively or negatively to social justice and sustainability by undertaking such activities? Are we being hypocritical by talking of sustainable tourism and sustainable development while taking part in activities such as this field course?

Submit your paper in essay form essay, well-written and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Remember to include both quantitative and qualitative elements in your analysis. Certain online resources (e.g., carbon offset calculators) may be useful. Include references from appropriate, academically-credible sources to support your perspectives. Photos (your own, or properly referenced photos from other sources) may also be included in your paper if they help to illustrate your perspectives.

Length: 1500 words
MS Word or Adobe PDF format, submitted electronically via WebCT
Due date: 15 April 2013, submitted by email to the instructor

UNEP Sustainable Tourism Framework

Updated version available online at URL:

(current to Jan 2013) (follow hyperlinks for specific information on Environmental, Sociocultural, , and Economic Impacts).

Economic dimensions include:

Potential negative impacts

  • Leakage (import leakage, export leakage)
  • Enclave tourism
  • Infrastructure costs and impacts
  • Increase in prices
  • Economic dependence on tourism
  • Seasonal employment

    Potential positive impacts:
  • Foreign exchange earnings
  • Contribution to government revenues
  • Employment generation
  • Stimulation of infrastructure investment
  • Contribution to local economies

Environmental dimensions include:

Potential negative impacts:

  • Depletion of natural resources and natural attributes (renewable and nonrenewable): water, energy, food, minerals, fossil fuels, fertile soil
  • Biodiversity impacts: forests, wetlands, wildlife
  • Pollution: air emissions and greenhouse gases; ozone depletion; noise; solid waste and littering, releases of sewage, oil and chemicals; architectural/visual pollution.
  • Physical impacts: degradation of unique or fragile ecosystems; land clearing, construction, and infrastructure development; deforestation and intensified or unsustainable use of land; shoreline, marina, and beach development; degradation of marine areas (around coastal waters, reefs, beach and shoreline, offshore waters, uplands and lagoons); long-term changes in local ecologies; trampling impacts on vegetation and soil.

Potential positive impacts:

  • tourist-funded protection, management or restoration initiatives
  • international environmental awareness campaigns

Social dimensions include:

Potential negative impacts

  • Change or loss of indigenous identity and values
  • Commodification; standardization; loss of authenticity and staged authenticity; adaptation to tourist demands; cultural erosion due to commodification of cultural goods;
  • Clashes in cultures: ethnic groups, religious groups, values and lifestyles, languages; economic inequality; insensitive tourist behavior; job level friction; social stress; cultural deterioration; conflicts with traditional land-uses and depriving local people of access;
  • Ethical issues: Crime generation; child labour; prostitution and sex tourism.

Potential positive impacts

  • Strengthening of communities
  • Development of facilities for tourism that can also benefit residents
  • Re-valuation of culture and traditions
  • Encouragement of civic involvement and pride
  • Tourism as a force for peace and international understanding


In this course, you are REQUIRED to have an active Brock Internet account. All assignments will be submitted and evaluated ELECTRONICALLY.


Students in this course are required to submit all of their written work electronically.

For written assignments, you may use any word processor program you choose, but the final document must be converted into either Microsoft Word .DOC format (preferred) or Adobe PDF (Portable Document File) format and submitted by email as an attachment to the instructor ( and all participants in the course.

Free PDF readers for all common operating systems are available on the internet (e.g., Adobe Acrobat Reader for Windows), available at

An excellent free PDF conversion program is PrimoPDF, available for download at




English-language newspapers online

Hong Kong

South China Morning Post. Online at URL: (current to Jan 2013)

The Standard. Online at URL: to Jan 2013)


Bangkok Post. Available online at URL: to Jan 2013)

The Nation (Bangkok). Available online at URL: (current to Jan 2013)


XE.COM Universal Currency Converter. Get up-to-the-minute exchange rates to and from any major currency.



Learning Thai the Easy Way.

Hong Kong

Omniglot. Useful Cantonese audio phrases. 




Assignments are submitted electronically, and must be received in the instructor's inbox by midnight (24:00h) on the due date indicated in the course outline. Late written assignments will be penalized by 1/3rd of their value (33.3%) per day or part day, 7 days a week (including weekends and holidays), to a maximum of three days. Assignments will not be accepted after 3 days and will receive a grade of zero.


Brock University takes academic misconduct very seriously. Academic misconduct includes plagiarism, which involves presenting the words and ideas of another as if they were your own and other forms of cheating, such as using crib notes during a test or fabricating data for a lab assignment. The penalties for academic misconduct can be very severe. A grade of zero may be given for the assignment or even for the course, and a second offense may result in suspension from the university. Students are advised to make themselves aware of the Brock University Policies on academic misconduct (including plagiarism) in the current online calendar.