Last Sunday morning the Andaman Discoveries staff and I took a boat ride to the island of Koh Phra Thong for a village meeting in Ta Pae Yoi. I don’t know if this is normal practice, but it was really nice to see the village head personally come with us to take us to the island on his boat. For me this showed how committed and enthusiastic he is to making the community based tourism (CBT) programs in Ta Pae Yoi a success. It was only when the meeting started that I realized how these traits are shared amongst the villagers as well!
According to Nicole, one of the AD staff slash my translator-of-the-day, this year officially marked the village’s second year in hosting community based tourism so this is all still new to them. So all the village participants were all still super excited and super involved in the planning, there are a lot of fun new activities in the works. No one was shy in voicing out their opinions and everyone was eager to improve. Hopefully this enthusiasm will still remain long into the future. So although this was a different kind of meeting than what I was used to (it was so informal and everyone was dressed casually!) it was still a very much productive meeting.
From what I gathered from Nicole and P Tui, initially there were only 4 houses involved in the homestay programs but now 4 other families are interested in opening their homes for the homestay program. This combined with all the developments the village has undergone since being involved with CBT (like the new tourism center and the solar panels to name a few) proved how good CBT is for the community. All in all I really enjoyed the short trip, and I look forward to going back there to explore the place further because from the little that I saw, the place is really beautiful.
A random side-note, on the way back we came across a stranded boat carrying a Moken family. Our Longtail preceded to tow their boat back to the pier. It would have been easier if they would have ridden with us but I think they felt that they would impose. So yes, what I get from this is with AD there is certainly never a dull moment.