From the very beginning Co van Kessel tours made a conscious decision to support the communities it cycles through and that means that drinks and snack during the tours are bought at small, independent "Pop-and-Mom"-stores.
These stores provide a valuable service for the communities they operate in and offer a personalized experience that is no longer present in chain stores. We are happy to be their customers!
We are happy to support temples, shrines, mosques and other places of worship along our routes with regular donations. These are not the famous ones that already receive many visitors, both Thais and tourists, but the local places of worship that are important to the communities surrounding them.
Besides monetary donations, -e.g.we help to cover their costs for water and electricity, our staff drops by for regular cleaning activities of their public toilets or do occasional repairs whenever necessary.
of our spendings during the tour go to small sized local businesses such as mom-and-pop shops.
of our guides have had no prior guiding experience and have learned the art of guiding 'on-the-job' via our dedicated program.
of our profit is donated to our local communities, including religious organisations, schools and more.
Every year on the date when the founder, Co van Kessel, passed away a number of activities are organised that celebrate the memory of Co and donations are distributed to several communities as per Co's wishes.
During this period we also take time for a major cleaning action of the stupa where Co's ashes are kept at Wat Thong Thammachat temple (a temple which was chosen personally by Co when he was still alive and part of several routings of our Tours!).
Januari marks the month of Children’s day in Thailand. This day, Co van Kessel Tours visits local schools in the nearby communities. To show our support to the schools and children we donate not only cash, but also goods such as pens, books, toys and more.
Also during our tours on this day we donate together with our guests toys to children on the way.
A lovely day for the schools, kids, our guests and ourselves!
Happy Children's day!
The Co van Kessel “Cycle to school” project began in 2009 as a way to spread the spirit of cycling in Thailand through the donation of bicycles to underprivileged children in rural communities. Whenever Co visited theThai countryside, he discovered that the youth in small villages often had to walk large distances to school.
During the rainy season, this meant trudging through muddy rice paddies for extended periods of time to arrive at school in a soiled uniform. Clearly, the difficulty for young children to make their way to school also translates to tardiness and absenteeism in an area of the country where obstacles to a good education are already too many.
Bicycles are ecologically friendly, but what happens when they come to the end of their useful life for Co van Kessel?
Again, from the early days, the older bicycles were fixed and -pardon the pun- "reCYCLEd" and donated for our Cycle to School-project. Every couple of years we replace a large part of our bicycle fleet and the used bikes are checked, serviced and donated to students to Cycle to School
Over 80% of our guides and support team are recruited and trained mostly directly out of college and universities and have often done a work-and study-project with Co van Kessel as part of their educational program. Co van Kessel offers an opportunity to learn on-the-job to get a feel for real-life work practices.
The supportive work environment and intensive training program will teach them how to become licensed, world-class guides and develop a skill set that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
One of our goals at Co van Kessel is opening up visitors from all over the world to a different culture. Not only do we educate our guests during the tour on culture and religion, we also try to create educational content online to educate people worldwide on respecting local cultures.
Very often mass tourism only benefits a few corporate entities and passes by the small communities where tourist spendings go a long way. Co van Kessel not only avoids this by visiting and spending money in these communities, it's much more fun too!
You experience food and snacks unlike in tourist-type restaurants or hotels and your interactions with the food sellers, language barrier or not, make for an unforgettable experience.