PHUKET, 20 June 2022: Tourism business and traveller behaviours are changing as the Covid-19 recovery phase takes hold.
The disruptions have widened the ‘capability’ gaps between small and big players favouring the wealthy operators. They had the resources to wait out the Covid-19 disaster. But It leaves local communities needing meaningful partnerships to rise up the agenda and reclaim the attention of Phuket’s visitors.
Baan Bang Thao – Cherng Talay Community in Phuket is one example of community-based tourism practices that manage sustainability within their community to create understanding and connections between visitors and local village culture.
Most Baan Bang Thao – Cherng Talay residents are Muslim, and their main activities are agriculture, farming, and fishing. The community has been established as a community enterprise for almost 10 years to promote local wisdom, agricultural and processed products made with raw materials from the village.
Today, the community is strongly committed to its original way of life and is ready to show visitors authentic experiences, culture, and agricultural diversity.
Baan Bang Thao Cherng Talay Community Based Tourism head Sonthaya Kongthip explains: “We welcome approximately 20 visitors a day, or sometimes up to 50 for field study groups. That’s the maximum capacity that we can serve. As a community enterprise, we manage different groups of activities that work collaboratively such as food, farms, and transport groups to improve the community’s life, based on the sustainability concept.”
He added: “Phuket is lucky that the government has given us a chance to open up our island destination to international visitors gradually. During the pandemic, we’ve never imagined that the whole island would be closed to visitors. However, it allows us to reflect on how sustainability is important to our community and which direction we should take in the new normal era.
“Government, business, and communities will need to work closely together toward the sustainability in tourism. Local authorities are the ones who provide guidelines and supervise, while hotels send visitors to us. We, as a community, are the one who designs experiences and allows visitors to learn about local identity and local way of life. Working with different parties, the community will need to understand what to offer visitors and adjust our standards to meet businesses’ requirements, for example, safety and hygiene standards in the new or next normal era.”
Baan Bang Thao – Cherng Talay Community offers choices of community-based tourism activities where visitors can experience villagers’ way of life and authentic cultural exchange. Simultaneously, they motivate and support villagers to keep their community strong and their homeland fertile.
Half-day Tour Sampler
In the late morning, local transport will pick up visitors from the village entrance near the Bukarom Mosque, one of the oldest and largest mosques on the island. After a short ride along a small alley surrounded by tiny houses, orchards, and rubber plantations, visitors will reach ‘Uncle’s Lab’ home, where visitors are welcomed by a local guide who will introduce the background of Baan Bang Thao – Cherng Talay Community.
Organically grown fruits, fresh from the orchards, such as Rambutans, Pineapples, and Durians or seasonal fruits and goat milk locally produced daily by the villagers, are introduced for visitors and tasting. Also, while enjoying the taste of local fruits, visitors will get to observe about rubber tapping demonstration and get a chance to try it yourself.
The next stop is a goat farm, where visitors can learn about different breeds of goats, feed a baby goat, and experience how to milk a goat step by step.
After the goat farm, visitors head to a local restaurant for lunch on Bang Thao beach. But just before they reach the restaurant, visitors can quickly stop at a local fish stand and select some fresh fish caught by local fishermen for the restaurant to serve on the lunch menu.
Before lunch starts, visitors will also learn how to cook Khao Yum or Phuket’s style mixed herbs rice salad and taste this authentic dish on your own.
After lunch, visitors join a DIY class to make organic soap and learn about other local products made by the community’s members.
Besides these activities, Baan Bang Thao – Cherng Talay Community offers other options for recreational activities such as a boat trip to Koh Wae or Koh Waew, a small island full of mineral sones that glitter in the sunlight or a diving trip exploring corals reefs along Phuket’s coastline.
Tour prices start from THB800, depending on the selection of activities.
For more information about these activities, visit https://www.facebook.com/Bangtaotravel/ or contact Sonthaya Kongthip, Head of Baan Bang Thao – Cherng Talay Community Based Tourism, at Tel. 062 228 7896.