Hello! My name is Anne, and I am the new intern at Andaman Discoveries. I am from Germany, completing my master studies of Leisure, Tourism and Environment in the Netherlands. This is my first time in Asia, and even though I am already here for one month I am still amazed by the culture and scenery of Southern Thailand. Every day holds a new surprise! During my four months working here, I will focus on further developing the social media strategy, assist with online marketing and upcoming projects, and also research about the volunteers that come here to teach English.
This placement gives me the unique opportunity to experience the symbiosis between responsible travel, conservation of natural resources and sustainable development in practice. Andaman Discoveries works with the principles of community-based tourism, which is a much debated concept in tourism academics. For me, it is truly inspiring to connect my theoretical knowledge with real life challenges, for example by learning how homestay programs help villagers to develop a sense of pride about their traditional lifestyle and culture. I already had the chance to join a village meeting in Ban Talae Nok last week, one of the communities welcoming guests into their homes, and I visited the Burmese Learning Center where a large youth group from the USA will be working in June. I would like to say a big “thank you” to my colleagues who always translate for me from Thai to English and help me understand what is going on during the meetings!
My free time is filled with exploring the beautiful surroundings of Kuraburi. Mountains covered with lush rain forest, a thick maze of mangroves and idyllic white beaches – the Thai Andaman coast is really the opposite of the flat landscape of the Netherlands. Staying here during the rainy season with little tourist numbers will make this a very special experience. Last weekend, Noon and I visited the local Buddhist temple where we could speak with the head monk. Cycling though the green backcountry to a wonderful swimming spot at the river was also a fun activity. Two weeks ago, Nicole and Lindsey took me with them to the small island Koh Ra where we stayed at the charming Koh Ra Ecolodge. Swimming in the warm sea and walking through the forest, I felt really immersed in the nature of this peaceful island. We spotted large crabs on the beach, beautiful butterflies, a flying lizard, and a green snake. Even during main season, Koh Ra is an ideal hideaway for nature lovers and guests who want to escape from the crowded tourist hotspots to explore a different Thailand.
I will try to make the most of my stay, adapting to the local culture and learning as much as I can. The great Andaman Discoveries staffs made me feel very welcome and kindly assisted me to settle in Kuraburi. Now I am curious about the upcoming months and the surprises they hold!