Many of the local Thai community-based tourism attractions near Bangkok are specifically designed to support local community development and cultural conservation goals. Patronising local attractions like these often makes it easier for local Thai villagers to tackle important issues which affect the whole community; such as, nature conservation, waste management and preserving cultural practices.
To ensure the healthy development of Thailand’s tourist destinations, it is important to lower the impact that mass tourism has on both the environment and the community. Sustainable tourism in Thailand takes care of the present needs while preserving those of future generations. Here are a few possible suggestions for experiencing the local Thai way of life near Bangkok.
Lifestyle and Spirit of Thai Farmers – Nahai Chai Learning Centre – Nahai Chai simulates the way of life of the commoners in days gone by with traditional Thai houses and farming equipment. The attraction is divided into three houses to help visitors obtain a deeper perspective of the value of rice cultivation. There are also performances of past rituals related to rice cultivation to help younger generations understand traditions meant to be inherited and preserved.
Ban Khwai (Buffalo Village) – The Buffalo Village is a buffalo reserve that aims at replicating, as much as possible, the rural lifestyle of farmers living in Thailand’s Central Region. The Village is also a learning and preservation centre for buffalos whose numbers have dropped below one million from over three million heads in 1996. Visitors can actually experience a complete rice making cycle from taking care of seedlings, to turning paddy using a wooden plough pulled by buffalos, to planting rice, and finally rice-threshing.
Makham Café – This retro chic cafe is surrounded by verdant rice fields near Ang Thong city. It was the first attraction to offer a long wooden bridge that stretches down the middle of a rice paddy, which changes colour according to the season. Behind the rice field is a towering image of Luangpho Yai, a large Buddha statue enshrined in nearby Wat Muang that keeps watch over the attraction.
Ban Bang Sadet Court Doll Centre – The project’s main purpose is to help local Thai villagers earn supplementary income. Visitors can view court doll production in the homes of friendly Thai villagers. Court dolls are the exotic clay creation that depict Thai-style scenes of life and culture, Thai children at play, Thai orchestras, or various types of Thai fruit that are on sale to support the local Thai community.
Sapphaya Old Police Station Market Community – This Thai community market promotes the simple way of life showcasing its cultural roots from past to present. Every first weekend of the month, a walking street is closed to traffic and filled with local stalls and activities also including making authentic Thai desserts and weaving with water hyacinth. Homestay programmes are offered with family-style accommodation (2 to 4 persons per room), all meals and transportation, and admission fees covered.
Ban Suan Kwan Community Tourism – The idea here is to harness local Thai wisdom and produce quality products that are combined with sustainable tourism activities. This attraction invites guests to learn how local food and fresh organic produce is grown without chemicals for tourists to taste and purchase. Visitors can experience the local Thai community by riding an e-bike and doing self-reliance activities at the farm. Bamboo rafting is available in the evening that mirrors the way of life of the local Thai people native to this unique river basin.
Khwai Thai Khao Ngam Conservation Centre – The Centre was opened in 2000 to prevent Thai buffaloes from extinction and preserve Thai agricultural traditions. Thai buffaloes no longer have a close relationship with farmers like before, so Khwai Thai Khao Ngam Conservation Centre nurtures the buffaloes and breeds them. Charitable individuals are encouraged to bring their buffaloes to live at the Centre and save them from the slaughterhouse.