The following is a press release from the Thai Tourism Authority. Photos and text are their own.
Bangkok, 28 November, 2020 – In line with the government’s policy to develop tours and recreational activities based around Thailand’s many canals and waterways, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Department of Tourism and the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism (DASTA), organised a full-day trip to Ratchaburi province on Saturday, 28 November, for expats and members of the media.
Led by H.E. Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, the ‘Withi Khlong Withi Thai Following the King’s Footsteps to Damnoen Saduak Canal’ tour was the third in a series of such tours aimed at encouraging the long-stay foreign community to travel more within Thailand. The tours promote the inclusion of local communities.
Minister Phiphat said, “The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in cooperation with the tourism-related government organisations are working closely to help stimulate domestic travel among the expat community. One of our key focusses are the unique aspects of Thailand’s waterway-based lifestyle. Ratchaburi is a prime example of this, and something we believe has much to offer our long-stay foreigners.”
The trip to Ratchaburi – 80 km to the west of Bangkok and bordering Myanmar – focussed on waterway-based touring opportunities and how tourists can experience the local way of life of the Thai people and their connection to water. Home to the already world-famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market where vendors ply canals in wooden boats selling fruit, vegetables and various goods, the trip took the opportunity to showcase some of the province’s other attractions.
The customised itinerary offered a fascinating glimpse of Khlong Damnoen Saduak and over 200 small canals, which were created during the reign of King Rama IV the Great, the local agricultural lifestyle and intriguing historic sites like the over 145-year-old Wat Choti Thayakaram. King Rama V the Great and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great both visited the temple, and the tour followed in these royal footsteps.
From the temple, participants travelled by solar-powered long-tail boat to Ban Mahat Lek Chek Huat, also visited by King Rama V the Great. They then continued on to Lao Tak Lak Market, the first traditional floating market in Thailand where ancient Thai-Chinese wooden row architecture can still be seen, and there is a floating market museum and exhibition on electric boats for environmental conservation and the ‘white tourism’ project.
Other inclusions on the ‘Withi Khlong Withi Thai Following the King’s Footsteps to Damnoen Saduak Canal’ tour were visits to Mae Thongyib Farm and Mae Thongyip Agricultural Garden where activities include weaving, making Thai desserts, and garden cruising. Other stops included the Bang Le Sugar Park and Ladies Golf Pier.
The afternoon activities presented participants with their choice of either a taste of adventure with Sup Board rowing or a glimpse into the local culture through art and pottery painting.
Travel between the various attractions was by long-tail boat, giving participants an exhilarating taste of getting around local-style and a chance to partake in scavenger hunt-style route checks along the way.
While in Ratchaburi, Minister Phiphat took the opportunity to present the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Certification to representatives from four local communities; namely, Wat Choti Thayakaram Community, Ban Mahat Lek Chek Huat Community, the Old Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Community Enterprise, and Mae Thongyib Farm Tourism Community Enterprise.
Established in May 2020, under collaboration between TAT and numerous public and private sector partners, the SHA certification is a recognition that an establishment meets the standards of hygiene and health safety for their products and services in accordance with the nationwide measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).