Students experienced the recent conversion to ‘ethical elephant tourism’ through alternative activities to elephant trekking & elephant shows which includes elephant bathing, elephant food preparation & feeding and river play. A fish filled waterfall was a delightful end point of a short jungle walk. Student stretched their comfort zone in a supportive team environment during the bumpy river rafting. The day ended with final reflection evening with a ‘12 task team challenge’ and ‘attitude of gratitude’ session.
After an eco-Tuesday, Wednesday is set out to explore Thai’s economy & culture with demonstration farm, temple, factory and the evening spectacular ‘Siam Niramit’ culture show.
Local Village Phuket farm
Students experienced former methods of rubber harvesting and natural rubber sheet production, bullock riding, Thai cooking, rice milling, monkey domestication and coconut collection. We were farewelled with delicious coconut rice skewers & fresh pineapple.
Luqman and Lilian learning to shred coconut from their friends
Aziz preparing Thai cuisine for the team!
Nicholas helping out in flattening the rubber sheets
Students getting a sense of touch on fresh rubber produced
Cashew nut factory
After a pleasant Thai buffet lunch and duty free shopping, students witnessed the painstaking process of cashew production – including extracting them from the shell, baking them to a specific temperature and roasting them just right, unlocking all the flavors without overpowering or burning it. There were also opportunities for us to sample various local products; from flavoured nuts to dried fruits and dried squids.
The rain dampened our Wat Chalong visit, but our enthusiastic guides were able to guide some reflection on the values & beliefs being expressed by architecture, symbols and rituals.
Siam Niramit Cultural Show
After a delectable buffet dinner, students are entertained with a 80-minute stunning theatrical on the Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom that showcases the history, custom and cultural treasures that have descended through centuries in Thailand.
Morning bus across the bridge to mainland Thailand to ride long tail boats through the sheer limestone cliffs that jut vertically out of the emerald-green water to Koh Kapu (or more commonly known as James Bond island) in Phang Nga Bay. Explored the spectacular island and continued the boat ride to Koh Panyee (or more commonly referred to as Muslim floating fishing)
Uncovered the history of Koh Panyee fishing village and reflected on the participation of local community in sustainable development of the area. After a local seafood lunch feast, the bus headed for the mangrove rehabilitation area for students to carry out their service and action activity.
Baan Tadindang Mangrove
Boots up, glide in. Armed with baby mangrove each, students took up the challenge to step into the sea of mud to plant the baby tsunami stoppers. Through this activity, students are once again reminded of the theme of this expedition – Sustainable Ecological Tourism.
Briefing prior to mangrove planting
Students descending to mangrove planting area, looking for desired spots to plant their baby mangroves
Elias and Jia Wen planting their mangrove babies
Finally, back to hotel for showers, dinner and open mic reflection session on Ecotourism.