Alternative slice of Phuket life

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Alternative slice of Phuket life

An outing beyond Phuket’s alluring beaches enables tourists to see another, more authentic, side of Thailand’s most popular holiday island.

One such option is a trip to Baan Bang Rong Community, an enterprise that manages and promotes eco-tourism in nine villages on the north-eastern coast. This venture has a deep-rooted mission to preserve traditional sustainable farming and aquaculture practices. Visitors will witness a life far removed from the glitzy resorts and take home unique memories.

An early morning departure takes guests off the well-worn tourism track to predominantly Muslim villages situated in rural locations and alongside a riverside mangrove forest. This latter area produces abundant seafood and removes the need for fishermen to travel long distances to catch their bounty.

The mangrove forest once faced extinction through a previous policy to remove the wood for charcoal. A subsequent reforestation project restored it, as well as healthy shrimp, crab and fish populations and this success gave birth to the current tourism initiative.

A variety of participatory activities motivates visitors to learn about the local way of life. This approach helps the community’s younger generation to realise the importance of keeping traditions and careers alive – particularly when they are able to share these tasks with tourists.

With this in mind, guests learn how to create a local handicraft, a pateh bag, visit a pineapple farm, observe rubber tapping and help release female crabs back into the water to maintain the river’s eco-system. The morning ends with a delicious lunch cooked by the villagers.

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