Last week I had the opportunity to come along on one of the tours of Andaman Discoveries. A family of three from Canada had booked the Moken immersion tour for 3 days and two nights so I joined Noon and the family on this trip. I am so thankful that I was able to join them and experience a homestay for the first time in my life.
The tour we went on is called “Moken immersion” and takes you to the remote island of Koh Phra Thong to a small village called Tung Dap. In this village people still live a traditional way of life. The island is still quiet underdeveloped. The only modern things they have nowadays are motorized vehicles and electricity from solar panels. Going to this city will give you a good impression of how people live in a remote place like Tung Dap. It also gives you the opportunity to connect with the people that live there. Furthermore, the tour gives them the opportunity to expand their income. Most people on the island make money through fishing.
On the first day we took a long tail boat from a small village on the main land to the island. After we arrived on Koh Phra Thong, a tractor drove us to our homestay. The family there gave us a warm welcome and showed us around in their house. From the first day it felt like we were part of their family. After a home cooked lunch we drove to a beach to go swimming. We watched how Pi Meaw and her husband tried to catch some fish. The first time they only caught a couple but the second time there were many fishes stuck in their net. Especially a lot of the small ones they dry. The sunset that night on the beach was absolutely stunning. There were no other people on the beach that day but us which made it a really special moment. After the sunset we came back to the homestay for dinner. The heat makes you pretty tired so after dinner we decided to go to bed.
On day two we had breakfast in the homestay which was really tasty. Afterwards we went on a ride through the Savannah. I was hoping we would see some wildlife but unfortunately we did not. After the Savannah tour we head back to the village to eat lunch and to go for a swim at the beach next to the pier. After the beach we came back to the homestay and made squid traps and fold animals from coconut palm leaves. It was nice how they tried to teach us these skills. I wasn’t very good at it but it was still fun to try. At the end of the day we went back to the beach to see the sunset of that day. Even though the weather was not that great, the sunset was still stunning. After the sunset we made our way back to the homestay. We just got back in time before it started pouring rain. We finished our second day with, again a delicious meal cooked by our homestay family.
On day three, the last day, we went on a boat tour through the mangroves. At the mangroves we planted some seedlings so new trees can grow. After the mangroves we came back to the homestay to make a Thai snack from grated coconut and ate our last lunch at the homestay. The snack and lunch were delicious. I will for sure miss all the home cooked food. After lunch it was time to go back to the mainland. We said goodbye to the family and made our way back to the boat. The boat brought us back to the pier where a mini-van waited on us to take us back to Khura Buri.
I thoroughly enjoyed the homestay experience. I had never been on a homestay before and didn’t really know what to expect. I have quiet a bit of travel experience and was a little skeptical even at first. Some places get so overcrowded by tourists that people have to give up certain ways of life so they get negatively affected by tourism. But this homestay felt so genuine, real and beneficial to everyone. The people in Tung Dap seemed to be living their lives in the same way as they did before tourists came to the island. This gave us the opportunity to get a little taste of that life. Besides keeping their traditions, they seem to be benefiting a lot from the tourists that come and visit. There is more income and for a lot of the families this makes a real difference. They can go to the hospital for example now and send their children to school. Everybody I met during my time in Tung Dap was really friendly. They really go out of their way to make you feel at home, cooked the most delicious meals for us every day and answered all the questions everyone had. It was the most honest, heartwarming experience I have ever had.
Again I’m super thankful that AD gave me the opportunity to experience this. I hope I will be able to go to more villages during my time here. If those are any like Tung Dap, I know it will be great!
For everyone that ever comes to Thailand and is looking for a more off the beaten path experience, I would definitely recommend going on this tour!