Discover a different side of Thailand with a “One Night Stay with Locals”

From southern provinces that you may already be familiar with such as Phang Nga and Chumphon, to the more remote northern provinces of Lampang, Nan and many more, 13 destinations have been carefully chosen by Thailand travel experts as part of this newly-launched “One Night Stay with Locals” project. Not only are these villages very remote (meaning you will beat the crowds even in high season), there is also a huge variety of community-focused activities available, such as getting your hands dirty picking fruit in orchids with the locals, taking tractor rides through the jungle to waterfalls or heading out on fishermen’s boats to find the catch of the day!

Spanning across four provinces (Lampang, Chiang Rai and Nan) there are four different communities to visit in the north of Thailand as part of this One Night Stay with Locals program – each one as fascinating as the next. Tucked away in the mountains of Lampang, there is the chance to go miang leaf picking with the locals at Baan Pa Miang, as well as learn how to make (and eat) the popular dish using this produce. Neighboring Chiang Rai province has two destinations to choose from: the laidback Pangha Homestay near the border with Myanmar where you can learn all about the Tai Lue people and the old-age craftsmanship, or Baan Tha Khan Tong, a thriving community next to the Mae Kong River that combines elements of Isaan and Lanna culture. To truly get away from it all, Nan province’s Sila Petch village feels like it is in the middle of nowhere, yet there are still plenty of friendly locals to show you around the area and guide you through the forests to a waterfall.

In addition, Baan Khiri Wong Kot in the northeast of the country (Udon Thani) lets you experience a true taste of Isaan – especially the deliciously spicy food, rural countryside and famously friendly Isaan hospitality from the locals.

Tourists also flock to Thailand’s southern provinces for the beaches, boat rides and adventure activities. At our handpicked southern communities, you can still experience all of this and more – just with none of the crowds. For example, at Phang Nga’s hidden Baan Sam Chong Nuea community there’s a chance to explore swamps and mangrove forests with a local fisherman while helping to afforest the area. At Pa Tew (Bang Son) in Chumphon, most of your time will also be spent on the water while eating as much seafood as you can, rafting and spotting fireflies in the evening.

Other local communities waiting to be discovered are located in the less-frequently visited provinces of Phatthalung and Yala. These include the stunning Tamod Community where you can join in with a range of sufficiency economy educational activities, as well as kayaking and taking in the sunset over the reservoir, while Yala’s Chulaporn Pattana 9 Tourism Community boasts a gorgeous combination of forests, mountains and rivers.

Other choices of local communities that you can visit includes Bo Hin Farm Stay in Trang, Phrom Lok in Nakorn Si Thammarat, Laem Pak Bia in Petchaburi and Laem Klat in Trat.

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.

Phrom Lok: Where traditional southern Thai culture meets modern-day farming techniques

Nakorn Si Thammarat is one of southern Thailand’s seaside provinces, situated on the east coast of the Malay Peninsular with much of its coastline overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.  The community of Baan Phrom Lok, tucked near the Phrom Lok Waterfall at Khao Luang, is known for their outstanding practice of growing fruits and vegetables chemical-free, and their beautiful scenery on the highest point of the southern region of Thailand.

Meet the friendly folk of Baan Phrom Lok community upon arrival before proceeding to learn about village’s hybrid agriculture system called as ‘Suan Somarom’. This method of sustainable farming involves growing organic fruit and vegetables without the use of any chemicals. The best way to appreciate how the locals grow and harvest their crops here is by physically getting into the surrounding fields and plantations for a closer look!

The afternoon of the first day provides time to walk through the nearby forests, inspect the locally grown produce, including special herbs to treat venom, as well as plenty of delicious fresh vegetable which are both consumed and sold by the farmers.

Even though Nakorn Si Thammarat is a seaside province, the activities on this trip mostly involve inland adventures, such as hiking through a forest that leads to the highest mountain in the region. Once you’re close to the summit, the foliage at this higher altitude is the home to many ancient ferns and plants, referred to locally as the ‘cloud forest’. Along the way, you can stop off at the village’s namesake Phrom Lok Waterfall for a quick dip or take some Insta-worthy photos.

After your mini-hike through the forests of Nakorn Si Thammarat, you’ve earned a well-earned rest and a hearty dinner – so it’s back to the village to get further acquainted with your hosts and the homestay for your “One Night Stay with Locals”. As dusk closes in, you can also participate in a fun ‘batik’ fabric making class and learn how to make (and eat) local snacks after dinner.

An exciting morning is in store on day-two at Phrom Lok community. Rise early just after dawn for an invigorating bike ride through the village to the local morning market where you can have a quick look around for a bite to eat or souvenirs to take back home. It’s then back for breakfast in the village, ready to take on the day’s main activity: a tour to a local rubber plantation where you’ll learn about rubber tapping, as well as a visit to a mushroom farm, and craftsmanship demonstration teaching you how to make household brooms from grass.

Before lunch, there’s time to squeeze in a visit to Wat Khao Khun Panom and Tak Fah Cave, following the trail of King Taksin who covered the same route hundreds of years ago. After your sightseeing fill for the day, it’s back to the homestay for one last time to enjoy a leisurely lunch and witness the ‘Manorah’ dance – rounding off your “Extraordinary Experience” in Phrom Lok, Nakorn Si Thammarat.

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.

Head up to the ‘Thai Highlands’ and into the forest at Baan Pi Miang, Lampang

Stretching 400km across of a remote section of the ‘Thai Highlands’, the Phee Pan Nam Mountain range is home to dense tropical forests, sandstone peaks that rise above the clouds, and networks of gushing streams feeding some of Thailand’s major rivers. A particular point of interest in this unique area is the people who live here almost hidden away from the rest of the world, allowing their traditional cultures and ways of life to remain preserved.

One such community of local villagers can be found at Baan Pa Miang, which is comprised of a small collection of homes and simple shops surrounded by the lush Miang forest and a coffee plantation. This 2 day / 1 night trip takes you into the heart of this friendly community, which is located in Thailand’s Lampang province.

Surrounded by greenery in all directions, life at Baan Pa Miang revolves around the forest, which gets its name from the abundance of miang leaves that grow here; these are collected and used to make miang kham – a type of northern Thai snack that roughly translates into ‘one bite wrap’ (due to the fact that you can eat the little parcel all in one go!) While visiting the village, you’ll have the chance to wander through this majestic forest to find some miang leaves of your own before heading back to base to discover how to wrap, prepare and – most importantly – eat this local delicacy, which is normally filled with spices, herbs, nuts and dried shrimp.

Another community-based activity takes you to see a nearby coffee plantation that grows and sells Arabica-style coffee beans. Discover how local villagers have mastered the art of coffee growing and pick up a bag of these richly-flavored beans to take home – or grab a cup for an afternoon energy boost. It’s then back to the village to enjoy a traditional ‘Bai Sri Su Kwan’ ceremony before dinner and music with your friendly hosts.

As well as trekking through the forest, you’ll also be able to literally rise above it. The morning of the second day presents another “Extraordinary Experience” to see the sunrise and misty clouds at Giew Fin. Here, the spectacular views stretch across Lampang and into neighboring Chiang Mai province from the very top of the Phee Pan Nam Mountain Range.

If you’re planning on visiting Baan Pa Miang in the winter, green isn’t the only color you’ll see covering the countryside. The colder months from January to March are when the region’s orchid trees begin to blossom, with bright white flowers making this little hillside village even prettier. This time of year also coincides with the local ‘Bauhinia’ vegetarian festival… just remember to bring some warm clothes to stay snug at night during your One Night Stay with Locals!

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.

Experience canal-side living at Chumphon’s Bang Son community

Easily accessible from Bangkok with its own airport, Chumphon is a popular seaside province overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. It gets its fair share of visitors each year who come to enjoy the beaches and slower pace of life – although most use it as a gateway to travel on further by boat to the nearby islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

However, this “One Night Stay with Locals” trip lets you get a taste of true Chumphon while avoiding the crowds that flock to the islands. Your homestay for the night is just a short drive to the south from the airport, located in the province’s Bang Son community. In fact, you’ll be staying next to the community’s namesake ‘khlong’, in Thai meaning ‘canal’, which forms a pretty stretch of water covered by greenery on each side and plenty of hidden ‘beaches’ to be discovered along its banks. As the khlong links to the nearby sea, the waters are full of fresh seafood – which you can enjoy trying to catch and eat as much of it as you like!

Upon arrival, your first adventures are on land – rather than on the water – as you travel up Dinso Mountain to spot the migrating falcons. At a nearby temple, there’s the chance to pay respect to the local monks. At the ‘crab pawn shop’ you can give a helping in hand to some of the crabs trying return to their home, too.

Back to base, and it’s time to hit the water for one of this trip’s “Extraordinary Experiences”. The evening activity involves being towed on a raft behind a fisherman’s boat along Khlong Bang Son. Think of it as a dinner cruise ‘canal-style’ as you tuck into an impressive seafood buffet with fresh crab, squid, shrimps, shrimp paste and other Bang Son delicacies. The two-hour trip takes you to the mouth of the bay and back again, with fireflies able to be seen on the way back as dusk falls.

If dinner cruises aren’t your thing, this visit to Bang Son also has other options in terms of trip itineraries. You can also opt to choose Program 2, which focuses more on community activities, such as learning about local cooking methods and seeing the nature of the mangrove forest. Another option is Program 3, which starts much earlier in the day giving you time to do more. Activities include touring the community, learning how to make local snacks, experiencing the only sand dunes in Thailand (the highlight) and visiting a beach near the mountain at Tung Sang Bay.

Depending on which program you choose, on the morning of day-two you’ll either head out at dawn to see the sunrise at Wat Khao Chedi (which has a stunning 360-degree view of the region), or take an early morning boat ride out for some snorkeling fun at a nearby island off the coast of Chumphon.

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.

Discover your inner-adventurer with a nature tour in Chulaporn Pattana 9 Tourism Community, Yala

The southern province of Yala offers tourists the chance to beat the crowds and truly get away from it all. This “One Night Stay with Locals” takes you to a location known as the ‘Chulaporn Pattana 9 Tourism Community’, which offers a comfortable homestay-style accommodation, amenities and other onsite learning activities. It’s also a great base to explore some of the region’s most popular attractions, including waterfalls, nature reserves and mountain trails.

The starting point of this “Extraordinary Experience” in Yala is at Sapan Kwaen, which roughly translates to the ‘hanging bridge’. This marks the gateway into the forest, where you’ll be following a nature path through to a waterfall in the morning.

After stopping for lunch, continue on foot to the beautiful Halasa Waterfall while watching out for all of the wildlife along the way. Your guide will be able to help you hear (and hopefully see) some rare hornbills that nest in this forest. At the waterfall, you’ll be greeted with crystal clear waters cascading down from the top of the limestone cliffs – from a height of over 100 meters. The waterfall is located inside one of Yala’s tropical forests called the Hala-bala Wildlife Reserve, which is home to an abundance of wildlife.

After your morning and mid-afternoon adventures come to a close, you’ll be able to escape the heat and soak up some culture at the Malayan Communist Party Historical Museum, before heading back to the community for dinner and a well-earned rest at your homestay.

On the morning of the second day, head out with the guide early, making your way up to a lofty lookout point atop Khao Hin Yok. From here, you’ll be able to observe the sea of mist that rises above the rainforest – with the songbirds and other sounds of the jungle acting as Yala’s natural alarm clock.

Following this, it’s back to base for breakfast, then pack your bags and say goodbye to your friendly local hosts.

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.

Discover the ancient traditions of Chiang Rai’s Tai Lue people at Phangha Homestay

A visit to Chiang Rai’s Pangha Homestay community feels like going back 100 years to a time when Thailand wasn’t even called Thailand but rather ‘Siam’, when people got around on bicycles or rickshaws rather than cars, and when hands worked all day long to make crafts and materials (instead of typing away on keyboards…)

Situated in the very north of Thailand not far from the Myanmar border, the defining feature of this community is its people, who are of Tai Lue origin, that still maintain many of the distinct cultural characteristics passed on from their ancestors to this very day. This includes a unique northern dialect, traditional fabric-made clothes with bold patterns, and a fascinating cuisine combining elements of Vietnamese, Burmese, Isaan and Lanna food. Luckily, you’ll be able to witness this interesting culture upon arrival, as you are greeted with a welcome ceremony and introduction to the community’s history and way of life. You can also taste some of their fusion-style dishes, such as Ram Fuen rice and Tai Lue pizza.

Much of the time during the afternoon of the first day has been designated for activities in and around Pangha. There is a chance to visit some of the old-age businesses and mini-factories that are still standing, including the world’s only ‘rice paper’ making center and an old tobacco curing plant. For those seeking a little more rest and relaxation from this trip, the village is also home to a herbal foot spa and ‘gold fiber’ spa.

As the sun begins to set, there’s time to head out of the village to admire the scenery looking over the Khun Nam Nang Non Mountain, as well as inspect a local rice paddy in the evening.

After enjoying dinner with the locals, it’s time to get chill out and relax in your gorgeous homestay for the night – certainly one of the highlights of this “Extraordinary Experience”. The accommodation is comprised of a large, hand-built wooden house that has been expertly renovated inside making your stay both a comfortable and memorable.

Plenty more visits and activities await the next day on this “One Night Stay with Locals” trip. After breakfast in the village, head out to participate in some knowledge-building activities, including trying your hand as a Shan’s knife smith and candle maker! There is stop-off at the pretty Kimju Guava Garden before visiting an area at the Thai-Myanmar border that is only temporarily permitted for tourists to see.

Then it’s time to go back to the community to enjoy another northern-style lunch at a local restaurant. With a full stomach, take part in the ‘Phra Singh San Chana Man’ workshop at Wat Phra San temple before bidding farewell to your Tai Lue hosts and heading home.

To learn more about “One Night Stay with Locals” in Thailand or to book a trip for up to 10 people at a special price, please visit www.1nightstaywithlocals.com or www.facebook.com/AorSorSocial/.