MAY has finally reached the corner and with it comes the beginning of the green season in Phuket. Should surfing on the crazy waves or diving under a thunderstorm sound too crazy for you, fear not! as there are still plenty of activities out there offering a much-relaxed atmosphere. Here are my recommendations for your May days in Phuket.
Agritourism at Baan Bangrong
Baan Bangrong is a peaceful getaway surrounded by mountains, mangrove and the sea. The mangrove is still lush and pure giving you a fresh breath of natural oxygen. Plenty of wildlife can be observed across the preserved area, especially when you take the long-tail boat trip along the shore, where you will discover mangrove crabs, long-tailed macaques, blenny fish, water snakes, herons and kingfishers. Canoe and kayak are also available for rent if you prefer to make your own rows.
Bangrong is an agricultural and livestock community. When you visit the village, do not forget to stop by their fish and goat farms. The villagers will allow you to feed the fish, including white perch, red snapper and grouper, while the goat farmers will welcome you with the cuteness of their goats and will invite you to try milking the goats yourself. The fruit plantation of Bangrong community includes durian, lanzones, mangosteen, champedak and many other tropical fruits available for you to try out.
Sea Gypsy communities
The Sea Gypsy people have occupied Phuket lands for more than a century, mainly in Rawai and Koh Siray areas. The sea people in Phuket are originally from the Orang Laut tribe (which means sea people). Local people may sometimes call them Chao Lae, but their official name is Thai Mai (New Thai) people. Sea Gypsies have their own unique culture and tradition such as the “Rong Ngeng” dance and “Perlajak”, which gathers all Sea Gypsies in the area together. The aim of the ritual is to decorate their boats beautifully and float them in the sea while making music from a Rummana (a one-sided drum with a shallow body) to celebrate these important occasions of the year, which happen on the sixth and eleventh lunar month. Travelers are more than welcomed to join the ceremony and take pictures.
The Sea Gypsy village on Rawai beach has been a touristic place for a while, thanks to their fresh seafood market. You can find restaurants facing the seafood market, which will cook the fish and seafood you just bought to your liking for a small fee.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
If you are an eco-traveler, this place should certainly be on your bucket list. Phuket Elephant Sanctuary aims to provide a retirement home for sick, injured or old elephants that worked in the logging or entertainment industry by bringing them to a wide lush jungle where they can live their life peacefully. It is a home for rescued elephants not an entertainment avenue for human, so rest assured that all the giant buddies you will meet are happy roaming around, bathing in the lagoon or covering themselves in thick mud as they would do in the wild. You will be allowed to walk with them, feed them and join the bath, but you can’t ride them or request for any show.
The sanctuary sits in a perfect location, bordering the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area, where the natural forest and its ecosystem are well preserved.
Top: A rescued elephant bathing in the lagoon at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary.
First inset: Baan Bangrong offers memorable moments observing wildlife and roaming around the village.
Second inset: Meet the Sea Gypsies and discover their unique culture.
Third inset: More rescued elephants ambling through their sanctuary in Phuket.
By Nattha Thepbamrung