ABOUT 44 Bendigo South East College year 9 and 10 students are travelling around Asia as part of the World Challenge. Below is a diary entry from student Taita McKeagney on the trip so far.
Every now and again the engine on the train creaks up, this awful groaning and putting numbs all other sound.
After the brief racket we roll on in near silence except for the occasional clatter and squeal of the tracks beneath the train.
The Thai countryside streaks by, the sky is bright and green-blue, mountain ranges both near and far act as a background for the thick forest on both sides.
This is interrupted only by small houses that seem to be interrupted only by small houses that seem to be in the middle of nowhere and yet are someone's somewhere.
Some of us are trying to make use of this five-hour journey to catch up on sleep, however the heat and discomfort make this a difficult task.
We're winding our way back to Bangkok oddly enough this hot, humid and bustling capital is being referred to as home by some of us.
We're just six days into our twenty eight day adventure now, six days which at home would have passed in an uneventful blur and yet here seem to have lasted wonderfully vividly.
The first challenge of the trip was an acclimatisation phase.
We knew we were in for a rough time with this aspect of our time here when stepped out of the plane and were suddenly engulfed by the thick, sweaty and smelly air which was uncomfortable to breath and caused beads of perspiration to form almost instantly.
Yet even that time still didn't feel real that this long anticipated trip was upon us.
The first few days in Bangkok were spent organising details for the rest of the trip.
A part of World Challenge is that we, the students, organise transport, accommodation and food for ourselves.
It's been hard to arrange these things for the twenty one of us in our team, within the set budget, especially when dealing with another language.
It's hard having such a large group.
Those first days weren't very efficient but we got better every day.
We spent the last few days camping in the Kao Yai National Park which is about 200 kilometres northeast of Bangkok.
The leeches were incessant but the hiking through the jungle amazing.
We got to see a couple of inspiring waterfalls, had a cheeky monkey steal some of our food and shared the campground with a heard of native deer.
Tomorrow we head north on a nine-hour bus trip to Chang Mai before going out on a six-day trek through the jungle.
Then we travel into Laos where we do our one week community project in a small village carrying out maintenance on a school and teaching English to the children.