Royal Projects: A genuine travel experience

BANGKOK, 30 May 2017: One of the ways to experience genuine Thainess is to learn from the Royal Projects, which were initiated by the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, during his 70-year reign.

Tourism Authority of Thailand promotes the country’s Royal Projects many of which are located in secondary destinations in provinces that have yet to realise their full tourism potential. The projects support communities and rural economies to offer a wider range of products than just rice cultivation.

Royal Project tourism is a by-product driven mainly by their success at introducing alternative crops and cool-climate fruit cultivation on the highlands of North Thailand. First domestic tourists visited the projects enthralled by the Late King’s dedication and untiring efforts to improve the lives of rural people.  International tourists followed in recent years providing an additional income for the projects that supports research and community improvements.

Royal Projects have now been initiated all over the kingdom. They help to boost local economies, promote water conservation, swamp drainage, self-sufficiency and the preservation of Thailand’s forests.

The projects are not just aimed at helping people with their immediate needs, but also ensure future generations can enjoy the nation’s rich natural heritage. Their success has prompted tour companies offer visits the project venues to offer tourists a new way of experiencing Thailand that allows them to enjoy real grassroot connection with the kingdom’s ethnic minority groups.

Delegates attending TTM in Chiang Mai, mid June,  can join a tour to the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon in Chiang Mai organised by the TAT. The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon is one of the Research centres of the Royal Station, founded in 1979.

The Station provides research and training in the cultivation of cool climate crops and fruits to replace slash-and-burn farming that ultimately destroys the forest.

This Station is located on slopes of Thailand’s highest mountain. The station provides a variety of activities for visitors including an agricultural tour (such as visiting winter vegetable garden, 80th Anniversary garden, flower house, thousand year rose garden) and a cultural tour (such as visiting Mong Khun Klang village.

Credit Tourism Authority of Thailand

Other highlighted projects

Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang, Chiang Mai

Angkhang is still home to one of the most important Royal Projects and is a centre for research in cold climate crops thanks to an annual mean temperature of only 16.9 Celsius and fertile soils. It is home to various ethnic groups who live in the surrounding villages, and visitors are welcome to explore the local culture or rent accommodation when trekking. 

Nong Hoi Royal Project Development Centre, Chiang Mai

Another northern Royal Project, Nong Hoi, was also set up in 1974 with the aim of helping Hmong hill-tribe people diversify their crops. Now it is a popular venue for eco and agro tourism. It is also home to Yao, Lisu, and Haw (Chinese) hill-tribes. Visitors can see some distinct handicrafts being made and some traditional ceremonies. Also, it offers a chance to explore the local nature trails or head up the Doi Mon Chaem path to a lookout with an amazing view.

Credit Tourism Authority of Thailand

Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project, Phetchaburi

One of the most important Royal Projects can be found not far from Bangkok in Phetchaburi. This is the Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project (LERD), which is aimed at improving methods of water conservation and mangrove restoration. Mangroves and wetlands are vital for Thailand’s ecology, so the work of LERD is ever more important as human activity creates more waste and waste water. Visitors can visit this model of environmental improvement and stroll down the picturesque pathways through the mangroves. Among the twisted roots and vines visitors may get a glimpse of birds, mudskippers and a wide range of crabs. At the end of the walkway is Sai Met Raek Viewpoint that offers a lovely view of the Thai Gulf.

Chang Hua Man Royal Project, Phetchaburi

This is one of the newest Royal Projects having only being initiated by the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2009. Situated in Phetchaburi province, the project is aimed at showing how crops can be grown to a commercial level without the need for damaging chemical fertilisers. Now, the Project boasts a dairy farm and has become a learning centre for farmers who want to improve milk yields. Tourists can learn about the lives of Thai farmers and get the chance to plant rice in the paddies. There are regular guided tours and bicycles can be rented to tour the region and enjoy the orchards and meadows of wild flowers.

(Source: Tourism Authority of Thailand)