Many communities in Thailand still live a simple life like in the past including local people in Ban Bang Mai (also known as Nai Bang) who live along the small canal that flows into the Tapee River. There are hundreds of small canals connect from one line to another. People called the canals “Khlong Roi Sai” which connect to 6 different sub-districts in Thailand.
This area is part of the junction of the Tapee River which is a natural boundary between the Bai Bang community and the area of Muaeng District, Surat Thani Province. Being close to the river, some of the community residents, in some cases, are engaged in fishing, along with coconut farming. The local people here still use boat as a mean of transportation. Even though roads are available for modern day transportation, you can see a pier and a boat at almost every house. This place began to develop into a tourist attraction by allowing visitors to learn and experience the lifestyle of the community that has tied to the river.
Cruising in the community is one of the interesting activities to participate. Beginning at 8 o’clock in the morning, cruising along a small canal and watching beautiful scenery from both sides of the canal. You will see a lot of coconut trees lined up from both sides of the canal and there are old houses located along the canal, some of which are over 200 years old. One of them is the 60 year old sheriff’s house, an old wooden house with modern design. Many of houses were built for swallows. The entry of these economic birds can be used as a measure of good water quality and is a huge source of income for the community.
There is a check-in point that you can take a photo with such as nipa palm tunnel. With abundant natural resources, the community can make use of natural resources for the community products such as dessert, ornament, hat or broom. There are many activities you can see while cruising such as farming, fishing, handicraft, Batik painting or local products making such as coconut oil and vinegar from nipa palm which you can buy as a souvenir.
For good fortune, stop by to pay respect to Luang Por Khao Suk at Wat Bang Bai Mai, the sacred temple of Bang Bai Mai and Khlong Roi Sai local people. Luang Por Khao Suk is an over 100 years old statue plastered with cooked rice and copper. The name Por Khao Suk or Luang Por Khao Suk derived from the local belief that rice (Khao) represents abundance and cooked (Suk) is a homophobic word for happiness (Suk).
In evening, go on a cruising trip to experience beauty of a small creature that is bound to the river like local people, a firefly. When the sun is set, these fireflies will fly around the big trees along the water and shine like a star in the sky creating an atmosphere that you will never forget.
There are also homestays available for those who want to relax in the midst of beautiful nature. Indulge yourself in fresh air, lush greenery, beautiful canal and hospitality of the local people that will refresh you both mind and body.
Travel: From Surat Thani City Hall, go straight for about 8 kilometers to Bang Bai Sub-district. Cross the Tapee River Bridge, then go straight for another 3 kilometers. You will see the Bang Bai Subdistrict Tourism Service Center. Turn right and you will see Bang Bai Mai Temple. Or if you don’t want to stay overnight, you can take a boat in front of the provincial governor’s residence to watch fireflies canal and experience the community way of life.
Cruise costs: 100 baht for 1 person, 5 persons per trip. Charge extra 100 baht per person if more than 5 persons are on board. It takes about 2 hours by boat.
Homestay accommodation: Contact for homestay at Khlong Roi Sai Tapee River Tourism Promotion Club, Surat Thani. Reservation should be made at least 2 days before traveling.
Contact Suan Lung Somprasong: Tel. 08-1589-8635, Suan Lung Surin: Tel. 084-626-5397 and Ban Plai Khlong Shop: open 10:30-22.00 hrs. Tel. 083-547-6314, 081-643-4248.
For more information on travel and activities expenses, contact
Khun Charanya Sirak or Kamnan Sao, Tel. 081-6074935.