This month I had the chance to experience one of the village tours in the remote village of Tung Dap, located on the Island of Koh Prathong, with one of our guests Mandy and our translator and guide Pi-Tui.
We left Kuraburi and made our way to the pier and took the long-tail boat out to the Island. The boat ride out the Island was amazing, the color of the leaves from the mangrove trees was bright green, glistening and shining in the early morning sun and the ocean turns from green to blue as the boat navigates through the shallow and deep waters.
Before reaching the island, we went to explore the mangrove forest and learnt about the way the local people manage the environmental conservation of this mangrove area. We also learnt about the medicinal use of the mangroves, and learnt about many animals and crustations which live within the mangroves. This is a natural habitat for these animals which has to be preserved to protect all the remarkable species living there. The amazing mangrove eco-system acts as a nursery for crabs, fish and shrimp, and is well managed by the villagers, who try to minimize environmental impacts for our future generations.
After that, we met Pi-Noi and her husband Da Nong and had a delicious lunch together, freshly caught sea food……….. aroy J After lunch we observed the traditional method to take tin out of the sand, this is a long process and very hard work.
We also had the chance to learn how to make squid traps; it’s not as easy as it looks and it’s amazing how fast the locals weave the net.
The atmosphere of the village was very relaxing and everyone was very friendly. We were able to ask a lot of interesting questions about their culture and way of life on the island and were able to share stories and experiences between our hosts and Mandy thanks to our great translator and guide Pi-Tui.
The cultural exchange was intense as Mandy was able to tell about her life back in Australia and what her impressions were of seeing this new culture and Pi-Noi seemed amazed to hear about Mandy’s life back in her home town and compare the way they live.
At one point, the exchange was quiet fascinating, because Pi-Noi was talking about her experience during the 2004 tsunami and how challenging it is to be Moken in a rapidly changing world. Moken are very proud of their life style and treasure keeping the close and important connection with the nature, I was so lucky to be part of this exchange.
Later in the day we had a unique ride through the savannah on a customized tractor a one off ingenuous invention and had some coconuts caught by Da Nong as he climbed the coconut tree right in front of the beautiful pristine beach.
After that we came back to the village and learnt how to make Thai desert with Pi-Noi. We cooked sticky rice in freshly grated coconut milk and wrapped in a banana leaf, the Thai way.
We’ve been amazed all day by the way villagers welcomed us to their village and with this beautiful landscape surrounding us.
If you like the sound of this trip, or if you would like to find out more about this program, don’t hesitate to contact us, it’s a great and unique cultural experience.