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September 2018

Travel

Uncover a hidden gem deep in Nan province’s countryside with a visit to Sila Petch community

Venture right in the heart of the wilderness of Nan province, with this “One Night Stay with Locals” at Sila Petch community. While tourists may flock to nearby Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in their millions, Nan province promises just as spectacular scenery, with mountains, jungles, rice paddies, wide rivers and cascading waterfalls all to see – just not as many other people to run into!

Many of the local villagers here at Sila Petch are of Tai Lue origin, an ethnic group mostly spread over Southern China and Laos. Upon arrival, learn more about their unique traditions and way of life, which stretches back hundreds of years, with a welcome ceremony and introduction to the community.

One of the best ways to learn more about a culture is to participate it yourself, and you’ll have the chance to do that by trying your hand at some Tai Lue weaving at a local knowledge center. Other fun and educational activities planned for your afternoon in Nan include picking local vegetables at a farm and inspecting the rice paddies the sit in the foothills of the famous Luang Phra Bang Mountains.

After returning to the Sila Petch community in the evening, soak up even more culture as you experience a traditional Bai Sri Su Kwan ceremony, Sa Lo So Sueng Show and Tai Lue dance. This is all before one of the highlights of your “Extraordinary Experience” in Nan – enjoying a northern-style ‘Khantoke’ dinner that involves sitting in a circle and sharing a range of small dishes together with your hosts, including fresh vegetables, spicy dips, grilled meats, sticky rice and herbal sausage.

Your homestay for the night is in the style of an old-age Tai Lue house, with the sounds of the nearby river creating a peaceful atmosphere as you fall asleep. Don’t go to bed too late though, as the next morning you’ll need to wake up at 6.00am for a visit to a local market and then a merit-making session (the monks from a nearby temple walk in procession in front of your homestay).

You’ll need a hearty breakfast of own, as the rest of the morning is packed with more activities. After visiting the Sufficient Economy Learning Center, your mini-hike through the forest and to Sila Petch waterfalls begins! Pass Luang Pho Phu Kha Shrine, Bo Namthip, Stone Bridge and Mon Lue Si, learning more about the surrounding nature and community’s history as you go. By the time you reach the waterfall, it’s more food awaits (lunch), with the chance to cool off in the refreshing water before heading back.

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.

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Travel

Stay, travel and eat with locals – ‘Southern Thai-style’ – at Trang’s Bo Hin community

One of Southern Thailand’s most unique canal-side communities awaits on this “One Night Stay with Locals” in Trang province. ‘Bo Hin’ is the name of the farm stay where you will be based, which provides surprisingly comfortable, waterside accommodation for groups of eight or more people.

Once you have arrived at the homestay, one of the first things that you will notice is the array of floating baskets that are bobbing on top of the water nearby. These have been made and set by the local villagers in order to catch fresh seafood that passes along the waterways linked to the sea.

After arriving in Trang in the morning,  you’ll reach the Boh Hin community and homestay just after midday. The first activity on your agenda is to take a local boat out to the region’s lush mangrove forests to discover the unique ecosystem in this part of Thailand, especially along the Sikao Canal.

For those who are seeking a little R&R after their long trip south, a mud spa at a nearby saltwater hot spring is the perfect remedy for tired feet and legs. During the latter part of the afternoon in Trang, you’ll travel to Boon Kong Bay, which is surrounded by dramatic limestone mountain ridges and cliffs. Next, you and your group can head out with a local guide into the open sea; your destination is Lor Lor Island where you can have fun on the pretty strip of sand, as well as swim in the lukewarm waters off the coast. After your fill of island fun, it’s back to Kep Tawan Beach to watch the sunset over the ocean.

By the time you have arrived back from your sea adventure, it’s time for dinner in the community, which includes freshly-cooked seafood plucked straight from those floating baskets (which you may have noticed near to your homestay). After dinner, take part in a knowledge exchange with the community and then enjoy some leisure time before bed.

Speaking of bed… you might want to set your alarm clocks early so that you can get up in time to see the sunrise above Sikao Bay – which is right in front of the accommodation. Afterward, an all-inclusive breakfast is served onsite.

During the rest of the morning, you’ll have time to learn more about the traditional way of life of the local community that surrounds you. For example, there is a chance to observe the community’s seafood processing facility at ‘Pla Kem Kang Moong Group’ and at ‘Teoi Panan Basketry Group’, you’ll learn how to make handmade baskets using extracted taken from the local Teoi Panun trees.

Around lunchtime, head back to the community to bid farewell to your local hosts and head home – marking the end of this “Extraordinary Experience” in Thailand’s southern Trang Province.

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.

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Travel

Adventure awaits at the lush hillside community of Baan Khiri Wong Kot, Udon Thani

This actioned packed “One Night Stay with Locals” promises adventure, fun activities and lots of deliciously spicy food (this is Isaan, after all!) The journey takes you up to the northeastern corner of Thailand to Udon Thani province, where you’ll carry on deep into the forest until you reach a mountainside community known as “Baan Kiri Won Kot”.

The friendly locals will be waiting to give you a warm welcome into their homes, as well as show you around the village and provide a ceremony to mark the beginning of your stay. Now, the adventure really starts with a tractor tour of the nearby rice paddies and jungle, before making your way to a nearby waterfall for lunch and perhaps a dip in the refreshing water.

The afternoon provides an opportunity to learn more about the Baan Kiri Won Kot community, and how the locals live and make money off the land and natural resource available to them. For instance, there’s time for a lively fruit picking session at a nearby orchid and you can stop by one of the many shops along the route back to pick up some local souvenirs to take back for your own friends and family.

Before bedding down for the night in your rustic but comfortable homestay accommodation, your hosts will treat you to another ceremony showcasing their unique northeastern Thai culture. You won’t go to bed with an empty stomach, either, as a traditional ‘Palang’-style dinner is served up, including many vibrant Isaan dishes you probably know and love – as well as some you may never have tried before! This style of eating involves sitting in a circle on mats on the floor, which is a great way for you to get to know more about the local villagers and exchange ideas as you tuck into dishes such as grilled chicken, somtam, sticky rice, grilled fish, and dill soup cooked inside bamboo.

After a good night’s rest, make sure you set your alarm clock early, as you don’t want to miss seeing the morning mist rise over the mountains. You’ll be heading up on the tractor to a viewpoint to catch the sunrise and the sea of clouds cover the jungle down below. It’s the perfect way to start the morning while sipping a cup of locally brewed coffee, rounding off this truly Extraordinary Experience in Udon Thani.

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.

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