This local tour operator provides you with hands-on experience of the unique history, cultures, religions, crafts and ways of life of traditional Buddhist, Moken and Muslim Southern Thai fishing communities.
What to experience ?
Formed as a relief effort after the 2004 tsunami, Andaman Discoveries (AD) has become an ethical tourism champion, offering community tours, homestays, volunteering, and study tours alongside long-term support for community development projects. AD’s programmes are designed in partnership with villagers, and based on the principles of community-based tourism (CBT).
Join local villagers in typical activities such as fishing, making shrimp paste and bamboo squid traps. Village elders and youth will welcome you to share traditional crafts and performance arts, including dance, basket weaving, making vibrant batik and tie-dye cloth, or handmade soaps.
Adventure kayaking and jungle hiking get you close to nature, with chances to go a few steps greener if you wish, by assisting activities like mangrove rehabilitation and orchid conservation. Alternative programmes include a range of volunteer options in villages and for local organisations. AD’s interpreters assist local guides to elaborate points of interest. A Visitor’s Guidebook, and Thai Phrasebook will help you make the most of your time in the villages and get to know the people.
How does it help ?
The AD team helped community members look to the future with hope, following the darkness of the SE Asian tsunami. Their projects built confidence and environmental awareness alongside the income desperately needed to rebuild lives and families. This outstanding achievement turned out to be only the first step of AD’s journey in sustainable tourism and community development.
When developing tourism, villagers suggest activities that they would like to offer to tourists. The AD team encourage consideration of opportunities and risks, before piloting activities with volunteers. As tourism develops, villages receive regular input through guest feedback forms, informal chats and during visits to the villages. Issues are addressed during the monthly meetings held in each village.
Local guides and host families receive fair wages, defined by the CBT Committee. Income from each trip is donated to the Community Fund to finance community development. AD sponsor service projects from scholarships to reforestation and a community development network.
Mangrove reforestation in Ban Talae Nok and Tung Dap planted over 10,000 seedlings. Youth Action Conservation Training raised awareness in 40 communities. AD have supported local initiatives by the Ban Talae Nok Youth Group, including puppet shows encouraging ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and the use of organic fertiliser. Pressure from the CBT group has even persuaded other villagers to stop bird netting, poaching and illegal logging in forests around the village.
In Southern Thailand, tourism often undermines Muslim culture – inappropriate dress, alcohol, and prostitution are common sights in tourist areas. By actively promoting the Code of Conduct established by villagers, AD encourages respect from tourists. AD sponsor a community and cultural centre in Ban Talae Nok, Children’s Day activities in four villages and regular “sports days.”
- Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award Winner 2010;
- Tourism Authority of Thailand 2009 Green Award;
- Travel + Leisure Global Vision Award 2008
- Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards back in 2007.
120/2 Sukapiban 3 Road
Moo 1, Kura
Phang Nga Province, Thailand 82150
Tel: +66 (0) 87 917 7165 (English, Thai)
AD Office coordinates provided by AD …