Tucked away in a serene location in Ranong province on Thailand’s Andaman Coast, the village of Baan Talae Nok has always been off the tourist radar. But the discerning visitors who do travel here find a warm Southern Thai welcome from a community which is a model for responsible tourism and sustainability. The main way that villagers make a living is from fishing and farming and the community take only what they need from nature while also carefully conserving the mangroves and ecosystem.
Community-based tourism at Baan Talae Nok
Community-based tourism initiatives such as those at Baan Talae Nok are a wonderful way to culturally enrich your travels. Thailand is amazing for so many reasons and frequent visitors to the country often say that it is the friendliness of the Thai people that helps make the country so special. Being welcomed into a local community like Baan Talae Nok provides an unforgettable experience. These unique cultural experiences not only benefit the visitor, but also the local community.
Activities at Baan Talae Nok
Baan Talae Nok originally attracted settlers because of the tin here and it is the presence of the metal which helps give the long stretch of beach its distinctive golden hue. Fringed by casuarina trees and free from development, the beach and isolated offshore islands are a wonderful spot to unwind and get away from it all.
Snorkelling at Ko Kam
Hop on a long-tail boat and make the short trip to the uninhabited island of Ko Kam. Together with the nearby islands, this is a wonderful spot to snorkel in clear waters and admire the gorgeous scenery.
Spend a day fishing with locals
The villagers at Baan Talae Nok still use traditional techniques to catch fish and use sustainable methods. Visitors are welcome to join in and learn more about the techniques used to catch fish, crabs, lobster and squid. Dolphins can sometimes be seen in the waters here and if you’re lucky you may catch sight of a pod.
Take a tour of the mangroves
Take a long-tail boat and explore the mangrove forests for a chance to spot a variety of wildlife including monkeys, monitor lizards and birds. The mangrove forest plays a crucial part in the lives of the villagers and getting up close helps to appreciate the ecosystem even more.
Learn how to make soap with the women of the Ban Talae Nok soap cooperative. The group was established after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami with women from the village using local ingredients to produce quality handmade soaps.
You can also try your hand at the art of batik which involves hand-dyeing fabrics, Create your own design or simply watch and admire the skill of the local artisans.
Palm weaving is another local skill which you can learn more about with the leaves used for a variety of purposes including roofing and to wrap food.
No visit to any community in Thailand is complete without learning more about Thai food. Discover how to make a number of dishes including local specialities.
Cashew nuts play an important part in the local economy and watching how they are shelled by hand is fascinating. The villagers make it look easy, but when you try for yourself you soon realise it’s not as easy as it looks.
Visiting Baan Talae Nok
Although you won’t stay in luxury accommodation at the village, staying in one of the homestays here you will be welcomed as one of the family and that is something you can’t put a price on. The village population is 99% Muslim and visitors are simply asked to respect local culture and travel with an open mind.
Baan Talae Nok is located in the south of Ranong province. A transfer service to the village is available on request from Kuraburi (25 miles south) or Ranong (50 miles north).
Trips into the village include a compulsory donation into the community fund. This is used to support various village projects including conservation, recycling, and adult education.
Simple, but comfortable accommodation is available in the form of homestays which include a private sleeping area with mattress, pillow, mosquito net and fan. The homestay system works on a rotation basis so that everyone in the village gets a chance to be a host.
Video and screenshot images courtesy of GLP Films
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