The face of tourism in Thailand is changing. Repeat visitors in particular are looking for something different. And they are finding it in second tier provinces, ones that get less than 4 million visitors a year, and in community tourism. What is becoming popular now is community based tourism. The best way to get a local experience is at a homestay. But if your Thai isn’t that good then you might to try tour platforms such as Take Me Tour and Local Alike. During this trip we visited the Bang Mae Mai community in Suphanburi and the Kudeejeen community in Bangkok.
Date of travel: 22-23 September 2019
DAY ONE: Today I’m going with Take Me Tour to Suphanburi province, about 2 hours north of Bangkok. Their website (http://www.takemetour.com) is a platform that connects tourists with thousands of local experts around #Thailand. This is a cool way to support local people & their communities.
Our destination in Suphanburi is the Bang Mae Mai community in Song Phi Nong District. Here we visited a group of traditional Thai houses. Some of them are hundreds of years old. Many of the houses here are on stilts which protects them from the annual floods.
There are about 40 homes in the Homestay project. It costs from 200B per person per night. Breakfast is 50 Baht and dinner is 100 Baht. Contact 0899815046 or on their Facebook บาฃแม่หม้ายโฮมสเตย์ Map: https://goo.gl/maps/XWRBJATg5CDjRB9C8
Our next stop in Bang Mae Mai is to see how they make brooms from coconut husks. 15 are needed for each broom. They first soak the coconuts for 45 days then separate the threads. Brooms cost from 400B. They are so well made that it can be used for 10 years.
Lunch today was at the Bang Mae Mai community market. This is open every weekend, selling locally produced food as well as fruit and vegetables. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/nzU35d6tdzcvrmZk9
Our third stop in Bang Mae Mai was to observe basket weaving. For this they use water hyacinth. This is dried in the sun for seven days & then soaked in sulphuric for 4 hours to protect it from moist. They then use it for basket making.
Our fourth stop in Bang Mae Mai was to see the making of a traditional dessert from Suphanburi called Kanom Sa Lee. The main ingredients are rice flour, duck eggs and water. It is then mixed together for 15 minutes before steaming. Map:
Our final two activities in Bang Mae Mai community today was a boat ride on the Tha Chin river to see some bats and a ride on an e-taen farmer’s tractor and trailer to see a long row of sugar palm trees in a rice field.
Some drone photos of the Bang Mae Mai community that we visited today in #Suphanburi. More drone photos from around Thailand can be seen on my dedicated website httwww.thailandfromabove.com. Like all of my travel blogs, there is no advertising or sponsored posts. I do this for fun.
All of the activities that I did today in Bang Mae Mai community can be arranged if you stay at a homestay or join a tour from Bangkok. However, they are not so easy for you to arrange and do by yourself. Particularly if you don’t speak much Thai.
Our last stop today was at the “Way of Life of the Thai Farmer Learning Centre” which aims to conserve and develop rice species and educate students about farming. Members of the public can also visit. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/3Prq5sHhjU7tv1o19
Dinner tonight at Aim Aoch Restaurant (ร้านอาหารเอมโอช) in Suphanburi city. Good food, great atmosphere and with the bonus of live music. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/WhQYW4dAyvtmwjrA8
DAY TWO: Good morning from Suphanburi. I’m on a 2 day trip to learn about community based tourism. Yesterday we were in Bang Mae Mai. Today we will visit the Kudeejeen community in Bangkok. I hope my photos will inspire you to have more of a local experience on your next trip in Thailand.
I was last in Suphanburi in January last year when I drove up here for the Don Chedi Memorial Fair. I saw a lot in those three days. Here is my Live Photo blog of that trip if you want some ideas of what to see: https://www.thailandphotomap.com/2018/01/22/three-day-tour-of-suphanburi-province/
A quick stop at Salee Wonderland in Suphanburi to have some refreshments and buy some food souvenirs to take back home. I bought some Khanom Salee which is a famous snack from here.
Drone photos taken this morning of Suphanburi city. Dominating the skyline is the 123 meter high Banharn-Jamsai Tower. The river is the Tha Chin that goes south all the way to the Gulf of Thailand in Samut Sakhon. More drone photos from #Suphanburi here: http://www.thailandfromabove.com/category/suphanburi
This afternoon, I will be exploring the Kudeejeen community in Bangkok with @localalike which is a community based tourism platform that connects tourists with people in local communities. More information on their website: localalike.com
Lunch today was at Krua Je Ngor Restaurant on the Yodpiman River Walk in Bangkok. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZENqdY3DzqQ6kTAx6
Our tour this afternoon starts at the Yodpiman flower market (Talad Pak Khlong). This is the biggest flower market in Thailand and has been around for 150 years. The most active time is around 3am in the morning though they sell flowers all day.
This is the tour we are doing today with Local Alike to the Kudeejeen community in Bangkok. We will be doing the highlights. Most places you will be able to visit by yourself, but if you want to gain local knowledge and have a deeper experience then a local guide is essential.
From Yodpiman Riverwalk, we crossed the river by ferry to Wat Kalayanamit. The temple dates back to the time of Rama III. In the grounds of the temple there is the largest bell tower in Thailand. The seated Buddha is 15.46m high and 11.75m wide. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Sn3ZutfdEqAqj8dK6
Next to Wat Kalayanamit on the waterfront is Kuan An Keng, a Chinese shrine that is believed to be two hundred years old. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/3cbPNoftzvbU8KKj6
One of the famous snacks in the Kudeejeen community is Khanom Farang, which is a cupcake brought to Thailand by the Portuguese many years ago. They still make them in the same way with the original recipe passed down through the generations.
After the defeat of the Burmese, King Taksin gave the Portuguese soldiers who fought on his side a piece of land alongside the river in Thonburi to build a church. The present Santa Cruz church in Kudeejeen is the third one on this site. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/YhmEnkb5hsCeX9GU7
Our last stop on the Kudeejeen tour is at Wat Prayurawongsawat. This was built by King Rama III 190 years ago. The Chedi contains relics of the Lord Buddha. In 2013, it received the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Conservation Award of Excellence. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/fgsEvQvbtWCUeEi46
My dinner tonight was at Jarn Kub Kao in Chatuchak district. They were hosting a “Local Aroi” event which focuses on different cuisines from around Thailand. Each time it is hosted by a different restaurant. The cuisine we ate tonight was Portuguese from the Kudeejeen community.