Once we got there, we realized this was a Big Deal as top Media and Major Hotel chain representatives were here covering the event.
Before continuing, plase show your support for my stories and journey on travel blog:
Joint effort between the United Nations Development Project appear is the Program (UNDP), Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Hivesters to improve and promote the Sustainable Tourism in Thailand.
The project's main goal is to support endangered communities in Bangkok by preserving their traditions and improving their livelihoods through tourism.
In this event, 6 different communities are being partnered with 6 leading hotels in Bangkok to work together and promote travel and tourism activities.
- Introduction to event & Welcome speech - Mr. Martin Hart-Hansen, UNDP representative.
- Keynote speech - Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governer of Tourism Authority of Thailand.
- About the APPEAR Project - Ms. Achiraya Thamparipattra, Co-founder of Hivesters.
- Panel discussion
- Partnership between hotels and communities announcement
- Leave for local community visits
Unfortunately, the entire conference was in Thai except for the speech by Mr. Martin so we can not really give any insights on what was said or discussed.
Understand that this is what we did is a Joint Collaboration between Government, private and non-Governmental companies to improve local communities and Tourism, which they are all very excited to be a Part of.
Communities in APPEAR project
Known for each Community is special ITS Charm, nature and Identity. Each are involved in creating or Products Activities that are Indigneous to their Community and often not easily Found Outside.
You can also check out the videos of each community by clicking on them below.
Nang Loeng - Food Market and vibrant performances.
Hua Takhe - a Hub of local and Contemporary Living Art.
Bang Lamphu - Hollywood of the Past.
Bang Kradi - Lost in Mon World.
Ban Bu - legacy by Hand
Chao Koh Sarn - crafted from nature.
Since there are so many communities, everyone who registered were divided into groups.
Koh Sarn Chao
Do not be fooled by the Koh in the name. It's not anything like Koh Samui or Ko Phangan. This is a small community situated in the middle of two canals, which makes the area feel like an island of its own. In the middle there is also a shrine, which is what the name comes from – Koh (island) and Sarn Chao (is the shrine).
After a 40 minute drive through Bangkok's bustling traffic, we arrived at Koh Sarn Chao (approx. 30 km west of downtown Bangkok).
How to get hereTake bus no. 124 or take a song thaew (open truck) from Siriraj Hospital. You can tell them to take you to Wat Champa
As soon as we reached, we were met by the community leader who welcomed us and asked us to follow him through his neighborhood.
Walking in through the community, we came across a women cooking a very unique-looking omelette, which has been in the family recipe for over 70 years.
Khun Tweesak, the community leader, then led us to his home where he invited all of us to have lunch. We were all so amazed by the amount of food that was prepared! Most of these dishes we were familiar with while some were refreshingly new. It was absolutely delicious and we made sure we stuffed our stomachs to the brim (even then there was leftover).
OK my mouth is drooling thinking of the food as I write this. Bbe right back, I'm going to grab some food.
After finishing up lunch and soaking in the peaceful environment, we listened to Khun Tweesak explain (in Thai) about his home, the community and what they are good at doing as he showed his awesome skills at banana tree carving.
It was a very humbling experience being in this man's house and to be a part of his community. There was a lot of mutual respect between the host and the guests, which was great to see.
Next we walked over to the next attraction in Koh Sarn Chao – a vintage perfumery house.
Here we learned about the history and process of making scented decorations such as garlands. They are made from completely organic local materials using Thai powder and scented flowers.
Here we gave a go at making the scented garlands. Notice the ones are that out of shape – yup that is us.
Next a hundred meters through the greenspace, we came across another house where they offered us baby jackfruit juice.
Apparently, you can't find this anywhere else in Bangkok. It was my first time trying baby jackfruit juice and to my surprise it was so yummy with a sweet and sour flavor. I would go back just for this bad boy.
Making Banana Cakes
Around the corner, we walked over to our last workshop stop of the day – Baan Suan Rim. This is the home of Grandma Berm and her lovely family. Here we learned how to make her famous banana cakes, which she makes from local ingredients and fresh from her garden – totally organic.
After she made the initial batch of banana/coconut/flour/milk mixture with her bare hands, we helped put it in banana leaves. We also grated coconut into shavings to be placed on top of the batter.
At first it looked easy but when we gave a go at making the banana leaf boats, we realized how difficult it was. It requires patience and a careful hand. It made us appreciate the craftsmanship that is in their blood.
While waiting for the batch of banana cakes to cook, the man of the house (guessing the Grandpa) came out and pointed to me and asked if I wanted any coconut water. The team answered yes on behalf of me and I got my very own coconut. Well me and and a women from UNDP.
So nice! I felt so happy and amazed by their hospitality. Perfect end to an extraordinary day!