To understand the importance of water management and learn more about this topic in-depth, then the Nong Yai Development Project Community is a great source of education offering useful examples innovative irrigation methods.
Nong Yai is a wetland close to both the mountains and the sea north of the city of Chumphon. The name “Nong Yai” came from how the area served as a reservoir that filled up with flood water that ran off the mountains; when it overflowed during monsoon season, the city of Chumphon often became flooded. So, to solve this problem, according to the Royal Initiative, a large man-made swamp was built to retain large volumes of water with short channel draining into the sea. From this, the Royal Initiative of Hua Wang-Panang Tak irrigation Project was created.
However, due to budget issues, the project was put on hold until 1997, when His Majesty rushed to the project site after news broke of a massive incoming storm. Thanks to His Majesty’s own initiative and funding – as well as the effort of local people who worked day and night, the construction of the Nong Yai swamp and the irrigation channel was finished before the end of October 1997, just before tropical storm Linda made shore. It was the first time that Chumphon ever survived a massive flood.
The events surrounding the land development project of Nong Yai are now shown in an exhibition, which was paid by His Majesty’s own budget to commemorate this very special moment in history.
At the project, there is also a beautiful scenery of the massive swamp, a 1 km-long wooden bridge, including various learning centers that are divided into different activities focusing on energy and new agricultural theories – especially how to grow “khao lueng”, an old local type of rice of Chumphon.
Chumphon is 460 km away from Bangkok, which takes around 6 hours to drive to the destination. Fortunately, there are low cost flights that operate from Bangkok to Chumphon by Nok Air and Air Asia, which takes only around 1 hour each flight. When you arrive at Chumphon Airport, hire a car service to the community, which is only a 30 km drive. Another option to travel to the community is by train, but it will take up to 7-8 hours of travelling, so we suggest you depart a night train from Bangkok so you can arrive at Chumphon early in the morning. Available car rental services companies include FAME Taxi and Car Rental, Ploypoo Car For Rent, Chumpon Transfer, IM Car For Rent and We Car For Rent.
The most important tourist attractions in Chumphon are the Sai Ree beach and Tung Wua Lan bay that are 30 minutes from the community. You can swim in the beach or hire a boat to take you snorkelling or scuba diving the coral reef at Koh Ngam Noi, Koh Ngam Yai and Koh Jarakae. The most suitable time to travel to the beach is during October to April. Moreover, the beaches are not far from Khao Radar, which is a viewpoint for watching falcons migrating away during October.
There are many seafood restaurants not so far from Nong Yai Development Project. But the most famous one that serves the best and freshest seafood is Jae Porn Seafood. There is also a coffee shop called Tam Sing Khao Mut Tree fresh coffee, operated by the locals in the project on the way from Nong Yai to Sai Ree Beach.
Mameaw Restaurant Tel.081-747-0573
Krua Kum Ngun Tel.089-731-9778
B cafe’ coffee Tel.063-546-3656
South Gate Resident Hotel Tel.093-575-0988
Thirty Tree Garden House Tel.062-229-4289
Baan Pai Na Tel.077-658-244
Ban Poommai Resort Tel.077-549-148
Ban Rommai Tel.099-756-8392
Contact the community
Khun Pornphirun Chonlasakhon (Coordinators) Tel. 083-623-2359
Khun Nawaporn Salaciw Tel. 095-973-1139
The old commercial district along the Chanthaboon river used to be booming during the reign of King Rama III. Since the reign of Rama V to Rama VII, the commercial hub began to deteriorate because of the changes to the city, until finally the district only consisted of abandoned townhouses as the older generation had gone, and the newer generation felt no affiliation to the neighborhood. In addition, there were also high maintenance costs involved to keep these buildings in good condition.
But change came when a group of researchers started to look into the origins of the area, subsequently uncovering the stories behind these tropical-style wooden houses carved with patterns, as well as the 100-year-old Penang-style townhouses in the area. As a result, renovations started to be carried out to many of these old buildings with careful planning. Bringing these wooden structures and old limestone buildings back to life helped to revive the soul of the district, with more and more stories about who owned these buildings, when they were first built, and what their significance was to the old city of Muang Chan being gradually rediscovered.
Today, the community has a distinctly different atmosphere to anywhere else thanks to the pride local people have about their history, products and cuisine. And talking of food, this is where you can try some of the snacks and sweet treats from the bygone era, such Kanom Kai Pa Tai, Ice cream Tra Juad, Gung noodles, and sample some coffee in the old houses. You can also find out more about the former residents that used to live here. For instance, the Penang-style building that belonged to Phraya Vichayatibhadi, the governor of Chanthaboon since the reign of King Rama V, the Ban Luang Raj Mai Tree that became a small local museum, and also some compact hotels and carved wooden houses that belonged to Luang Pra Kob Nitiyasarn.
Another cute curiosity nearby is a small bridge that crosses the river to the other side, where you can visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic Church.
Once a neighborhood that lay in decay, this community has gradually been restored and opened its doors once again to the public, now bursting with life and activity. The rebirth of this historic commercial district on the east side of the Chanthaboon river will perhaps make you understand why Thailand’s beloved King Rama IX placed so importance on knowledge and sustainability.
Travelling to Chantaburi City Center by car from Bangkok is very easy. The journey takes around 3 hours and you can park your car at a parking on the same side as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. By plane, you can also book a flight from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi airport) to Trat through Bangkok Airways, then you can rent a car and drive to the community. Available car rental services include Mungming Car Rental, Burapa Chantaburi Service and Chantaburi Car Rental.
There are a number of attractions close to the community. For nature lovers, visit the Pliew Waterfall National Park, Ao Kung Wiman Beach, Jao Lao Beach, Burapacholathit road along the beach and the Kam Nu river delta that has a magnificent view. But if you want satisfy your tastebuds with something new, visit the Nong Bua community that sells many tasty snacks.
Chanthaboon Waterfront Community is also a haven for food lovers. Restaurants to try include Guay Tiew Kang, Guay Tiew Jao Samut, and Khao Ta Lay Prik Ka Klua. Do not miss Jae Eid restaurant. Also, try the Kanom Kai dessert and other snacks that you can find in the are. There are many coffee shops to visit, ranging from chill out places for relaxation to serious coffee business with ancient brews.
Baan Tang Restaurant Tel.089-753-2756
Sweet at Moon Tel.085-088-8919
Laluna Riverhouse Tel.090-961-7953
Kasem Sarn Hotel Tel.039-311-100
Tamajun Hotel Tel.098-968-6111
Baan Luang Rajamaitri Tel.088-843-4516, 081-915-8815
Rimnam Chan Tel.080-633-0055
Contact the community
The Chanthaboon Waterfront Community Tourism Club Tel. 085-225-9983
Sri Don Chai community is a true example of how local villagers can live happily under the principles of sufficiency and subsistence according to the wisdom of King Rama IX.
This Tai-Lue village near the Ing stream does not only preserve their traditional costume and cuisine, but also preserved their way of thinking and true identity. You will experience something special when you join the activities and stay in their local homestays, which are well-proportioned elevated houses with a lot of open space, similar to the design of houses back in the era of “Xishoungbanna” in the kingdom of Thailand.
The Tai-Lue folk’s costume is distinctive, especially for women who wear “pai” blouses that are dyed using colors obtained from the indigo plant or other natural sources, and “teen jok” skirts called “sin ta”, which are considered the epitome of woven fabric that have been passed on since the ancient times.
The woven silk skirt is a craft that requires perseverance and diligence. In the former times, every step of the tedious process would have had to be done by hand in order to just weave a piece of silk fabric by using a treadmill for cotton threads and dyeing them before you could then weave it with love and care. Everyone in the community has to help out, which creates a strong bind amongst them. The community is united at Ban Sri Don Chai, and the newer generation have also got involved with preserving the value of ancient woven fabric techniques by showcasing the products and equipment in a local museum open for all to see.
Sri Don Chai Tai Lue Community has some beautiful scenery of large fields along the Ing stream where you can see bamboo bridges that goes far enough to connect the legendary “Sam Mon” field, a big wetland area that villagers from many communities have been relying on since the ancient times; this has also helped shield them from rapid industrialization under a special economic project. In turn, this has persuaded them to live a simple, stable, and most importantly, happy way of life.
By plane, the journey takes around 1 hour 30 minutes from Bangkok to Mae Fa Luang Chiang Rai Airport. The Tai Lue Sri Don Chai is 90 km away from the Chiang Rai City Center.
The most convenient way to travel to community is the Chiang Rai – Mae Chan – Chiang Saen – Chiang Kong route. The community is only 5 km away. You can also use the Chiang Rai – Paya Meng Rai – Khun Dan – Wiang Kan – Chiang Khong route if you want to travel to Phu Chi Fa. It is recommended to use car rental services. Available car rental services include Avis, Thai Rental Car, Chiang Rai Airport Car Services Co operative Ltd., Hertz Rental Car and National Rental Car.
From Amphoe Chiang Kong, apart from the view along the Mekhong River, you can cross over the river to Khang Bor Kaew in Laos with your border pass if you do not have your passport with you. Moreover, you can journey to Phu Pha Tang and Phu Chi Fa at Amphoe Wiang Kan.
One of the closest restaurants in the area is the Nang Nuan restaurant, and other places at Ban Hat Krai along the Mekhong River that serve freshwater fish. If you visit during the dry season, try the “Gai” or deep fried Mekhong seaweed, the famous snack in the area. Other restaurants that we recommend include the Bamboo Mexican House that serves the best Mexican food, Jam restaurant, Phad Tai Ban Yim and Khao Mun Kai Hai Lum. For coffee lovers, visit Rider’s Coffee on the way to Chiang Kong and Cafe de Lao downtown in Chiang Kong.
Bamboo Mexican House Tel.053-791-621
7he Vow Tel.088-600-0599
Café De Lao Tel.082-385-7800
Family House Resort Tel.085-094-3749, 080-090-3783
Fortune Riverview Chiang Khong Tel.0 5205 0089-091
Kiengkong Chalets Tel.081-623-6916
Baan Fai Chiang Khong Tel.053-791-394
Siam Tara Resort Tel.089-660-7660
Contact the community
Mr.Somchai Wongchai (Village Headman) Tel. 089-560-1908
Mr.Sukkham Wongchai Tel. 086-185-4907
For the Ban Pong Huai Lan community, eating simple northern dishes like sticky rice, herbal sausage and chili paste made from mushrooms in the middle of their farmland represents more than just a meal. The fact that this tiny village in the valley of Doi Ngom can now afford to enjoy these mini-feasts is a reminder of how they overcame droughts and subsequent poverty many years ago. And this change came about thanks to the arrival of someone very special in Thailand.
After King Rama IX visited the community back in 1987, the Huai Lan reservoir was built which provided the community with a much-needed water supply. His Majesty also made sure that fishing and educational programs were in place for the villagers to use in order to create a sustainable economy – placing emphasis on how the water should be used and managed.
Today, the region now prospered compared to three decades ago, with sticky rice grown locally, Thai bamboo shoots sprouting in villagers’ backyards and fresh mushrooms found in the nearby Pae forest. The community also relies on chickens for their egg supply, as well as locally grown organic vegetables.
This community really is an inspiration to others, representing the success of implementing a subsistence economy through both wisdom and hard work.
Huai Lan is also connected to other ecological systems. The villagers here make a good use of the palm leaves growing on the trees by crafting them into small containers, bags and fish-shaped ornaments for decoration. You can also try your own hand at making some local handicrafts to take home as a souvenir of your own.
The charming landscape around the village is surrounded by big mountains and hills, which may encourage to adventure out and explore on a bike, or take a leisurely stroll around the area, with the rice fields being particularly green and lush during the rainy season. Visit Por (father) Oui and Mae (mother) Oui up at their residence, and see how the cotton from white fluffy flowers is made into threads until they are ready to be weaved in a traditional way. You can also taste some of the local snacks that are made from peanuts, sesame and sugar cane.
As night comes, you will get to stay with the villagers in their houses. This is the ultimate definition of local tourism, which is a way of appreciating how others live and respecting their different ways of life.
Travelling to Chiang Mai from Bangkok is very convenient by plane. There are 53 flights daily operated by almost all major regional and low cost airlines. Travelling to Chiang Mai by train is also very convenient; depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong on board the new train at 18:10 to arrive in Chiang Mai at 07:15 the following day. Apart from that, there are tens of VIP bus tour companies that operate routes to Chiang Mai. Available car rental services companies include Avis, Chic Car Rent, Hertz, Thai Rental Car and ASAP Car Rent.
Ban Pong Huai Lan is 30 minutes away from Chiang Mai City Center by using the Amphoe San Kamphaeng bypass. You can also visit other places around the area if you journey onwards to the Luang Tin Tok Royal Project Development and Ban Mae Kam Pong. From there, you can journey back to Chiang Mai via Amphoe Doi Sa Ket.
Many fascinating restaurants near the community include San Kamphaeng Pochana, an old establishment only 10 km away from the community that serves local food with a spicy twist, and Suan Pak Hak Khun that serves Thai food and coffee where you can enjoy the relaxing ambiance and their vast organic farm. If you want Khao Soi, you have to visit Khao Soi Lung Pun, a restaurant that serves Khao Soi for 3 generations located just 10 km from the community.
Aroy Garden Tel.087-273-0146
Baan Pong Lodge Tel.053-036-105
The Coffactry Tel.098-798-5548
San Kam Phaeng Lake View Tel.053-381-039, 081-716-2998
Baan Pong Lodge Tel.053-036-105
The Rock of Paradise Resort Tel.089-756-8555
Alpine Golf Resort Tel.053-880-888
Lanna House Lanna Hut Tel.088-260-3914
Contact the community
Khun Jinda Tel. 082-187-2452
Khun Wanna Tel. 085-615-7686
The special thing about Ban Nong San’s tourism management project is how the younger generation get involved acting as an agent to allow the wisdom and knowledge passed on from their grandparents’ generation accessible, exciting and useful for outside visitors. You’ll also be shown to the community’s most original village that really showcases the true, local way of eating, preparing food, and providing hospitality in this remote part of Sakon Nakhon.
The name Ban Nong San derives from the landscape of the area which is comprised of a basin surrounded by the mountains of Phu Phan, as well as a swamp and fertile steam. At the same time, there are also “san” trees that grow along the hills. The name of the village tells us about how the special characteristics of the community and the ecology of area determines the path of their local tourism, from farmlands to forests, and a waterfall with a little stream from the Phu Pan mountain, while travelling in the area by a farmer’s tractor as your vehicle of choice.
Roam through the scenery of the village, surrounded by pristine Isan-style elevated wooden houses with hollow spaces underneath, and then check out a local subsistence agricultural project at Ruan Somanas belonging to Aunty Oi and Aunty Da. For lunch, these two kind aunties will take you on a guide through the huge garden, gathering fresh ingredients to cook with. Pick up zucchinis, Thai bamboo and other seasonal vegetables, and then try your hand at fishing for your own white fish or mud carp.
Ban Nong San is also a source of knowledge on indigo fabric-making, as well as how to make indigo paste, and how to dye it. They also have cotton fabrics that are weaved into many traditional patterns. Then, continue your creative streak by designing contemporary products like a small purse stitched with leather or a Japanese style cloak. As well as collecting indigo plants, and getting to know more about indigo paste and dye fabrics, you’ll also get to buy products to take home – which are just as fashionable (and better quality) as what you’d find in the city.
By understanding their homeland, respecting their elders, and developing a small-scale project into a hub of knowledge for outside visitors, this modest community is a shining example of how to follow and adopt the King’s wisdom to create a lasting legacy.
It takes around 9 hours to drive from Bangkok to Sakon Nakhon. The best way to travel to the community is use the VIP tour bus that departs from Bangkok at night and arrive at Sakon Nakhon in the morning. You can also choose to travel by plane – the flight from Bangkok to Sakon Nakon takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes. If you want to travel by train, depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong to Udon Thani, then take a tour bus from there to Sakon Nakhon. Ban Nong San is 45 km from the city center, and 7 km from downtown Amphoe Phu Phan. Available car rental services companies include Avis, Wattana Car Rental, Nok Car, Kitting Car Rental and Thai Car for Rent.
Sakhon Nakhon city center is impressively compact. When you arrive at the city, you can pay your respects at Wat Phra That Cherng Chum. If you arrive on a weekend, make sure to find some time to stroll along the Pra Kram or Indigo market right in front of the temple.
Although the journey to Ban Nong San is meandrous and curved according to the steep of the hills, you can visit the Phu Phan National Park, Kam Hom Waterfall and Phra Tamnak Phu Phan along the way.
Most restaurants in Amphoe Phu Phan are small. A place big enough to cater to large groups is the Suan Nok restaurant inside Rai Phu Phan Resort. There is a coffee shop nearby called Ruan Luk Mai which is located on the opposite side of the Sang Kor Police Station.
Nevertheless, there are many restaurants to try in the Sakon Nakhon, such as Saban Nga that serves local Thai food, and Nid Noi restaurant near the bus station that serves Isan food, and also Tao Tan Phon Yang Kam grilled beef.
Krua Ing Phu Tel.061-530-4461
Nang Teng Restaurant Tel.042-163-820
Sonata’s Cafe Tel.084-957-7722
Get Idea Coffee Tel.093-562-6964
Hop’n Hip Hotel Tel.042-747-474, 089-155-4569
Phuphan Park Hotel Tel.080-749-2727
Chokdee Place Hotel Tel.042-972-098
Hop Inn Hotel Tel.02-659-2899
Metha Palace Hotel Tel.042-712-497
Contact the community
Khun Mew Tel. 098-476-3184