Throughout his seventy year reign, King Bhumibol Adulyadej established numerous village based-community development projects nationwide that have brought incredible growth in rural Thailand and have welcomed small-scale tourism.

His Majesty’s royal projects provide key insights into the King’s philosophy of a sufficiency economy and are innovative models for alternative economic development.

Following in the late monarch’s footsteps, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched the “Following the King’s Wisdom for Sustainable Tourism,” campaign, unveiling four pilot programs for sustainable tourism that deliver authentic experiences to tourists.

Each program aims to improve community development, environmental protection, and cultural conservation.

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The five programs are as follows:

 

1. Kaset Witchaya Project in Ban Rai Kong Khing Community, Chiang Mai Province

The villagers of Ban Rai Kong Khing Community live simply and sufficiently, yet they have local wisdom and expertise in physical and mental health treatments using herbs that are under utilized. By encouraging health tourism in the community, this project aims to bring more tourists to the village and simultaneously more income to the village through activities such as  “Yam Khing”- a Northern style massage to treat pain and illness.

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2. Project of 1 Rai, Ratchaburi

Seeing the importance of agricultural development for the country, His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun donated 1,350 rai of his land to be used as an agricultural clinic and research centre to identify and encourage sustainable agricultural practices that can restore and preserve the local environment. TAT hopes to help make the Project of 1 Rai the centre of knowledge transfer for the agricultural community, specifically working to disseminate information to rural farmers.

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3. Lam Pathia Reservior Improvement Project in Ban Koak Muang Community, Buriram Province

This particular initiative aims to help the local communities surrounding Lam Pathia Reservoir who suffer from agricultural problems including an on-going water crisis and an occupation problem. While rice integrated agriculture is a main occupation for this ancient community, many women also do silk weaving in their free time and this charming community is surely one that many visitors fall in love with. Bringing more visitors to this under represented region will be beneficial to both the community and visitors who are seeking a more local, authentic trip in Thailand.

 

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4. Pluak Daeng Royal Development Service Centre in Pak Nam Prasae Community, Rayong Province

This royal initiative has worked to address the problem of forest destruction in the region of Rayong and Chonburi. His majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has long supplied the community with a reservoir and agricultural advice, however today, the real attraction is the community-build learning centre- that provides informational tours on new farming theories and more.

The surrounding villagers engage in fishing as their main occupation. They are very keen to preserve and conserve the natural resources that surround them, including mangrove forests and ecological fisheries. It’s a great place for tourists to experience the simplicity of local life and also be close to nature.

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5. Pak Phanang River Basin Development Project in Baan Laem Community, Nakhon Si Tammarat Province

The goal of Pak Phanang River Basin Development royal initiative has been to improve irrigation, store water for the tap water supply, and improve drainage to minimise flooding. It has also sought to promote career advancement and get local villagers involved in the Basin’s construction. The Basin is build in a lovely community with abundant natural resources. For a majority of families, the main source of income generation has been fish breeding. These villagers have formed a mangrove conservation group in Baan Laem to bring in tourists and raise awareness about conservation.

 

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It’s exciting to see community-based tourism grow in Thailand, and TAT hopes that these alternative tourist destinations will encourage respect and understanding of local communities in Thailand. They also expect the programs will help grow incomes for local groups in the areas by at least 20%.

TAT has also mentioned plans to invite ambassadors and diplomats from around the world to engage in local experiences and encourage community tourism!

 

 

For more information, visit https://kingwisdom.tourismthailand.org/activity/index#rewards and learn about how you can get involved with, or visit these exciting initiatives! Check out these detailed guides of day trips to each location, http://kingwisdom.tourismthailand.org/file/5/5.pdf

 

Photo courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).