As soon as you open your eyes after you wake up in the morning, the first thing you’ll see is the picturesque green fields on the hillsides with the light, airy mist gradually sweeping over the land. Smell the faint scent of the fresh rice seeds just meters away and feel the morning breeze, which may be a little chilled in rainy season or winter.
Ban Silapetch is a well-known community of Tai Lue folk who live in the foothills of Doi Pu Kha mountain in their elevated wooden house along the way to Doi Luang. Right beside the densely-packed little neighborhood is an area connected by a small, concrete pathway that is ideal for cycling, with wide fields along the stream at the bottom of the hill that descending down the landscape of the countryside. Look to the north and see the neatly arranged woods of Pae forest and Kor forest where people often wander in, disappear for half of the day and come then back out with dinner in hand.
The farmer’s school is comprised of a group of elevated buildings with hollow spaces underneath. This is not only a place to provide knowledge on how to farm, but also somewhere for visitors to participate in many activities. There is also an art house, which similarly is elevated on wooden stilts with vetiver and tile roofs that are inspired from the rice paddies of Northern Thailand; here, you can learn about arts & crafts in the middle of the rice fields.
Nearby, there are many accommodation options available. You can choose to stay in a traditional Lanna-style house, an open wooden structure that receives plenty of fresh air from the fields, or in a wooden cottage surrounded by the atmospheric of rice fields. There is also the ‘firefly house’, which suits its namesake especially when it rains. For large groups, there is the ‘star terrace house’, featuring a terrace big enough to stretch out and watch the northern stars at night, or the ‘Tai Lue wooden house’ decorated in the Tai Lue style.
Whether you are interested in weaving fabric with foot paddles in Tai Lue traditional style, or seeing the finished products in an exhibition at Ruan Ri Pol, an exquisite wooden house in the middle of the community – there are plenty activities to do all day at the Silapetch community.
Taste the famous sweet, succulent Kao Larm that you may have to make reservations for, otherwise you will miss it! Get into the paddies to plant some rice, or go foraging in the woods for food in the middle of nature – looking out for yellow mushrooms, lentinus mushrooms, false earthstar mushrooms, melientha suavis seeds and subterranean ants, available depending on the seasons. Study the way in which the path weaves through the wilderness, taking you high up to the oak trees plantations.
The real local northern cuisine here will make you forget food from any normal market or street stall in Thailand; also, try the avocados freshly picked from the fields with a drop of honey from the bamboo plantations in the middle of the field.
A homestay, according to the Silapetch community, is like a home that provides more than just a place to sleep for the night.
There are 5 flights daily from Bangkok to Nan, which takes up around 1 hour and 20 minutes each flight. Silapetch community is 60 km away from the city center. The easiest way to travel to the community is to hire a car service from the city center, or take the van to the community available all day round. Available car rental services companies include Avis, Karn Car Rental, Budget, Hertz and Chai Rent A Car.
There are many places to visit on the way to Silapetch Community. For instance, the viewpoint at Wat Phuket where you can take a panoramic photograph of the Op mountains, Wang Sila Dang where you can find a cliff with a 400m water stream, and Wang Nam Pua where you can enjoy your lunch with a beautiful background. Also, visit the Phu Kha hill top for stargazing at night, viewing the stunning pink flowers and enjoying the cold weather.
Ban Hua Nam – Mushroom Farm & Restaurant Tel.054-792-252
Lung Chai Larb Ped Patong Tel.086-185-7101
Tai Lue Coffee House Tel.089-264-6058
Puei Sanay Faikang Resort Tel.085-799-7607
No.45 Staycation Tel.098-886-3716
C View Home Tel.086-052-9800
Nala View Resort Tel.097-963-4188
Pua Sabai Resort Tel.089-850-4301
Contact the community
Silapetch tourism community Tel. 081-029-2007
Sometimes, the meaning of the phrase “living the slow life” isn’t just about time or how fast you live your life. The true meaning can better be understood with a visit to Ban Tha Khan Thong, a small village that sits next to the Khong River at the most northern part of the country. This is an agricultural village on a small, flat area of land right next to Sobkok, or where the Kok stream flows to converge with the Khong River. The villagers mostly work as farmers who plant passionfruit to be exported to the Royal Project, as well as Inca peanuts. During the dry season when the tide of the Khong river is low, the land is used to grow vegetables and short-lived plants for 3-4 months; these are then harvested when the tide is high in the rainy season. This way of life of the local villagers is adaptable to their surroundings and seasons – something which proves to be successful, and is even used as a model for other geo-cultural villages on a provincial level. People from everywhere come to observe, and most of them are impressed by the surroundings and the kindness of the locals that makes them want to stay longer, since the things you can learn here cannot be completed in only one day. Anyone who comes to stay in the houses along the river will be welcomed as if they are cousins from other provinces.
More than 10 years have passed by in which only local houses could be used as accommodation. Now, the community has their own proper homestay, with a big improvement on the homestay standard by the guidance of experts. However, the kindness of the villagers are excellent, in which they treat visitors as if they are family. This is one thing that has remained the same over the years.
There are many fun and educational activities at Ban Tha Khan Thong. Taste the tangy passionfruit, or the nutritious salted Inca peanuts. Ride the farmer’s tractor at Chai Khong, and plant rice seeds in the paddies if you visit during the rainy season, or harvest them if you visit during the winter.
Apart from that, you can also go on a cruise through the ancient city of Suwankomkam, the source of the Lanna Kingdom. Visit Kang island in the middle of the stream and see the rocky beach at Ban Suan Dok. If you visit during the dry season when the water is clearer and the tide is significantly lower, you will see the villagers going out to collect freshwater seaweed to fry as their own local delicacy.
Even though there are many activities to do in the 2 days 1 night program, one of the highlights of the trip is the lodgings along the Khong River. Let the breeze lull you to sleep at night, then wake up at dawn to witness the light, misty fog swirling above the cotton trees along the river, with the sun and its golden beam gradually rising, before you begin another day.
Travelling to the community is convenient by plane. The flight from Bangkok to Mae Fa Luang Chiang Rai Airport takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes, with 21 flights daily from Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Thai Smile Airways, Vietjet Air, and Bangkok Airways. The community is approximately 80 km, or a 1 hour drive from Chiang Rai City Center. You can also travel by train; depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong to Chiang Mai Station, then take a bus to Chiang Saen. Available car rental services companies include Avis, Thai Rental Car, Chiang Rai Airport Car Services Co operative Ltd, Hertz Rental Car and National Rental Car.
There are many interesting cultural and naturistic attractions nearby Ban Tha Khan Thong community. For instance, the Chiang Saen Lake – where you can view the panoramic view of the lake, Ancient City of Chiang Saen – where you can find antiquity sites from the Lanna Kingdom period, the viewpoint along the Mekhong River, and the famous Golden Triangle.
You can find souvenirs such as tea, tea sets and snacks sold along the Mekhong river. Famous local restaurants include Huen Sabuy Dee that sells Thai food, Vietnamese coffee and Kai Ka Ta (sunny side up eggs in a small pan). There are several coffee shops in the Chiang Saen area, but the most interesting one is the Mong Du Nam Rim Khong coffee shop, where you can view the Mekhong river while having your coffee break.
Mi Vana Organic Forest Coffee Tel.081-951-7784
Navy Garden Tel.095-982-9646
Saeo Garden & Resort Tel.053-160-731
Chiang Saen Golden Land & Resort 2 Tel.081-655-9221
Siam Triangle Tel.053-651-115
Phuwiang Resort Chiang Saen Tel.081-021-8762
Contact the community
Khun Setthasak Phromma Tel. 093-636-5681
The limestone cliffs and many island bays of Phang Nga comprise what is considered the epicenter of tourism around Thailand’s Andaman Sea. The beautiful landscape of the islands, as well as the dramatic rocky peaks – both big and small – from Khao Ta Pu, Khao Ping Gan, Koh Pan Yee to Koh Hong and Koh Pa Nak, are well-known throughout the world. And while not as many tourists venture to the hidden-away Sam Chong Nuea community, this local village still offers an incredible insight into many of Phang Nga Bay’s untold stories.
Just northeast of Phuket island lies Phang Nga bay that connects to the most abundant mangrove forests in the region; at the basin, there lies a fishing community lined along the curve of the bay from Phang Nga to Krabi.
These fishermen have relied on the resources from the bay for centuries. Every day, they set sail to fish for shrimp and crabs, understanding the watercourse, rocks and the right time to bait, trap, and read the constellations from the stars in order to watch out for an incoming storm. They know just about everything about every inch of the seas of Phang Nga, and see the connection between the mangrove forest with the open sea.
If you get the chance to go on a small boat with the fishermen, you’ll have the opportunity to see more than just the islands, especially if you set sail before dawn. Catch the first light reflecting on Koh Kang in the middle of the sea – a sight that not many people get to see.
Slowly kayak to explore along the bay at some of the more familiar caves to shield from the wind, until we reach the cave that shines and sparkles like diamonds with a coral reef, then climb up to the crater at the tip to see the spectacle of the Phang Nga Bay from a bird’s eye view.
You’ll be spending the whole day getting to know each other by staying at the homestay along with the members of the community, with clean beds that are well organized. You will also experience fresh food that doesn’t taste like the normal stuff you’re served up at other restaurants; this is thanks to the freshness of the dishes – as well as the passion that goes into both catching and cooking up the produce and other ingredients that go into this Southern Thai cuisine.
These small groups of fishermen certainly live simple lives. It goes without saying that they require a lot of knowledge to survive – and earn a decent income along this bay. As well as getting acquainted with some of the local fishermen, this unique community also offers other activities outside the program, enabling us to better understand what life around Phang Nga Bay is really like.
Phuket International Airport is the hub for transportation for Phuket and Phang Nga. There are up to 55 flights daily, and each flight takes up around 1 hour and 25 minutes. From Phuket to Ban Sam Chong Nuea, follow the Highway No. 4 route, which takes around only 30 minutes.
The main tourist attraction right next to the community is the Ao Phang Nga National Park. If you like to go on an adventure, journey on another 20 minutes to Pung Chang Cave where you can enjoy activities such as kayaking to explore inside the cave. There is also the Tarn Bok Kora Nee National Park at Amphoe Ao Luk, Krabi Province which is only roughly 59 km from the community, where you can view the clear water stream flowing from the chamber of the cave.
Ruan Pae Samchong Seafood Tel.076-444-265
Khumsup Seafood Tel.089-868-8803
Kafee Tonmai Tel.080-921-5081
Ban Suan Resort Tel.080-969-7437
Phatawan Resort Tel.085-571-4358
Nuttakarn Resort Tel.081-893-3128
Samet Nang She Boutique Tel.063-229-8855
Ban Siripornchai Tel.076-422-240
Contact the community
The Sam Chong Nuea OTOP Village for Tourism Tel. 086-741-7949
The villagers of Ban Neau villagers or Ban Phrommalok have been living in the shadows of the domineering Khao Luang mountains in Nakhon Si Thammarat towards the east for two centuries, which becomes covered by clouds, fog and mist that sweeps in from the nearby. Visitors will be blown away by the breathtaking scenery which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your homestay in this small community.
Ban Phrommalok is an old community at the bottom of Khao Luang mountain with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, which reflects the many types of food available, and the taste that combines flavors of old and new. You can experience all of this at the nearby Nok Ta market. This vibrant food market is full of local vegetables, including bitter beans, look pra, ra gam to sweets and savories, such as cashew nuts topped with sugar, sticky rices with many toppings, khanom chin, biryani rice, kanom pa da stuffed with sweet potatoes and bananas, kanom chan, look chub, and kanom ko that comes from kneading the starch from the sticky rice. After you wake up in the morning, you can also offer some food to the monks who pass right in front of your lodgings and then hop on a bicycle for a ride around the community.
Apart from many types of food that you’ll get to eat during your 2 days 1 night stay at the Khao Luang village, there are also many activities to keep yourself entertained throughout the day. Of all of these, the first thing people cannot wait to do is to take a dip in the clear water streams of Prom Lok waterfall, or to hike up to the ponds and cascades further up hill, passing the giant fern leaves that have been there since prehistoric times along the way.
The dinner served features many local southern delicacies that use handfuls of different spices, with dishes served together with freshly made chili paste made from look pra. These oval seeds are not only used in the chili paste, but you can also stir fry them or bake them into a salty snack; these can be picked up as a souvenir from Ban Phrommalok, guarantee to taste even better than almonds. Come evening, a fun activity in store involves pouring wax onto fabrics to make colorful batik clothes.
Ban Phrommalok has a magnificent view and a temperate climate thanks to the breeze from the mountains. Even if your plan is to take it easy with the sounds of the waterfall lulling you to sleep, it’s actually hard not to want to participate in the many activities here – especially with the friendly elders that will show you around and guide you to the best swimming spots in the stream. In addition, you can pay your respects at Wat Kao Khun Panom inside a cave, a place in which locals believe to be the true location of the legendary Pra Chao Tak cave. And if you visit during the fruit season from June to August, you will witness the abundance of durian, mangosteen, rambutan, and longan that are all grown along the forest without the use of any chemicals. Samarom garden, where many of the villagers pick up their own fresh produce, is worth of visit of your own to try some of the fresh fruit to vegetables sold here.
Ban Phrommalok will make you understand the true meaning of what a ‘homestay’ actually is. As well as a place to stay overnight, this unique accommodation also offers a door to understanding more about the things of the past and the things that are happening now.
The journey to the community by car covers the distance of 790 km, or 10 hours of driving. The most convenient way to travel to the community is by plane, which only takes 1 hour and 15 mins to Nakhon Si Thammarat from Bangkok. You can also choose to travel by an overnight train; depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong at night and arrive at Nakhon Si Thammarat in the morning.
Phrommalok Homestay is only 24 km away from the Nakhon Si Thammarat City Center, which is only a 30 minute drive. You can pay respects at Wat Boromathat Nakhon Si Thammarat before you arrive at the community. There are several waterfalls on the way to Amphoe Phrom Khiri, but the most famous one is the Phrom Lok waterfall. Apart from that, there is also the Kaew Surakarn cave and Ban Khiri Wong Kot, which is only 33 km from the community.
Nong Kat Restaurant Tel.083-022-7841
See-Din Studio & Farmstay Tel.081-306-7007
Phrommalok Resort Tel.075-396-314
JP Garden & Resort Tel.091-050-6567
Ponin Resort Tel.086-684-5453
Contact the community
Ban Phrommalok Community Tourism Club Tel. 081-081-9150
Finding new and unique experiences unlike no other in Thailand usually requires getting well off the beaten tourist track and into small communities hidden away in the countryside. One example, found in the mountainous region of the north, is well-known for making its own noodles from scratch, which requires fermenting their own flour, with people visiting just to taste this delicacy.
This is the story of Ban Na Ton Chan, a tiny village hugged by the high mountains, where you can find “khaopeob” made by a friendly grandmother. Her name is Kruang, and she is the symbol of the area. “Peob” refers to the folding of the fermented rice flour that is smeared and spread into huge pieces, like Thai steamed rice-skin dumplings, stuffed with stir-fried vegetables. The rice flour is folded and folded again into dumplings, then served in a soup with egg yolk and moo dang (red pork), just like noodles. This delicacy cannot be found anywhere else, and it has been sold here since Grandma Kruang was still in her youth.
Ban Na Ton Chan is situated on a small, flat area of land comprised of farmlands and “Ton Chan” or “Kra Pi Chan” trees that belongs in the Fabaceae family that grows along the farmlands, a noteworthy characteristic that has given the area its name.
The Ban Na Ton Chan community has many activities for tourists as well as a homestay inside the community. If anyone is interested to open up their house as homestay, they have to register and renovate their lodgings to be up to standards; simple, clean, and well organized. This initiative has produced creative kinds of homestay with many varieties – from treehouses, traditional farm bungalows, and open-air wooden houses – with a total of 20 homestays dotted around. Even though accommodation is arranged by a queue system (for fairness) meaning you cannot choose which house to stay in, you’re sure to sleep soundly wherever you end up!
Apart from its food such as the popular khaopeob (from Grandma Kruang), and another form of khaopeob served in a huge bowl called khaopeob lom yak, Ban Na Ton Chan also has other unique products including “pa muk kloan” (or woven fabric) which uses local ancient patterns, dyed by natural colors and fermented underneath mud to create a distinct color. The fabric is soft to the touch, and can be used as a shawl, skirt, sarong or a blouse. Wake up in the morning, drink some coffee and witness the sea of fog at Khao Huay Ton Hai. Later in the day, collect some langsat fruit from the plantation, a local fruit that not many people know of.
You might like to ride your bike and see the view of the farmlands around the village, come back and relax at the spa in the middle of the farm, sip coffee at Ko Rakang cafe, which you have to “ring the bell” in order for them to brew you one, or just take a lie down on the bamboo cradle with your favorite book. With just these simple things, you are already in bliss.
Nowadays, travelling to Ban Na Ton Chan is very convenient. It is only 40 minutes away from Amphur Si Satchanalai by a paved road with a few hilly curves. Forty-five years ago, it would have taken days to reach this remote village. It’s difficult to get to Ban Na Ton Chan community that is still engraved in the identity of many of the villagers today.
Travelling to the community by car is around 500 km, or 6 hours of driving. The most convenient way to reach Ban Na Ton Chan is by plane, which only takes an hour. Sukhothai Airport is at Amphoe Sawankalok and there are 3 flights daily from Bangkok Airways. You can choose to land at Phitsanulok Airport, where you can find buses to take you to Sukhothai in an hour. From there, you can hire a car service to Ban Na Ton Chan community, which is only 33 km from Si Satchanalai. The road to the community is paved, although there are several curved roads that go up hill. By train, depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong to Sawankalok Station. Available car rental services companies include Eddy Rent A Car, Thai Rent Eco Car, Runway Thailand and M Transport.
Outside of Ba Na Ton Chan, find some time to visit the Si Satchanalai Historical Park near Yom river, which has temples inside. The most important temple is the Wat Chang Lom, Wat Jedi Jed Taew and Wat Phra Si Mahathat. Other than the Si Satchanalai Historical Park, other main attractions include caves, including one at the Tak Duan Tak Dao Waterfall and other campsites available in the area.
Apart from the famous ‘khaopeob’ at Ban Na Ton Chan, most restaurants can be found around Amphoe Si Satchanalai. Especially along the way to the Historical Park, where you can find restaurants such as, Pa Song; the most well known restaurant that sells Thai food; Thai Sangkalok Noodles, and Krua Ton Oi, which is not so far from the Historical Park.
Kao Perb Yai Kruang Tel.087-036-0060
Wae Kum Nun Jaew Haunt Ton Jun Tel.087-199-0282
Mukda Resort Tel.091-569-5446
Chanalai Resort and Hotel Tel.055-672-555
Si Satchanalai Resort Tel.055-672-666
Si Satchanalai Heritage Tel.055-615-423
Navy Sisatchanalai Tel.091-028-6516
Contact the community
Ban Na Ton Chan Homestay Group Tel. 088-4957738, 091-559-8482