Agro tourism with appreciation of Thailand’s rural culture, meet with the locals, enjoy activities. Such agro tourism also boosts rural communities looking for new streams of income
at the community-based tourism area along Khlong Mahasawat, a famous canal in Nakhon Pathom.
The canal was dug more than 150 years to connect Klong Bangkok Noi with the Nakhon Chaisi River. The construction, from 1860-1862, was ordered by King Rama IV, and when the waterway opened it made accessible nearly 20,000 rai (32 sq km) of fertile farmland. Agro tours here are by long-tail boats, which visit fruit orchards, lotus farms and orchid plantations.
Klong Mahasawat’s agro attractions are best seen in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. Long-tail boats leave from the local temple, Wat Suwannaram. While you’re waiting for your tour to start, don’t miss the chance to feed the canal’s catfish, (all the nearby vendors sell bags of fish food). Just cast a few pellets into the water and instantly the water churns and froths as the fish fight to fill their bellies. These river monsters are so abundant that with enough pellets of food it seems you could walk over the water on a bridge of thrashing, silvery bodies.
The first canal stop is the local lotus farms. Anyone who spends time in Thailand knows the lotus to be a devotional flower and a symbol of spiritual purity.
But lotus flowers have their uses in food and medicine and grow all year round making them a useful crop for local farmers.
A rowboat will take you right into the lotus ponds where the morning dew runs off the huge leaves like shining mercury as pickers harvest the lotus buds. The local ponds specialize in pink and white blossoms, which are exported around Asia.
Mangos, guava, massive jackfruit and award-winning pomelo grow in abundance along the banks of Khlong Mahasawat, and you get the chance to visit.
Enjoy some of the sweet local produce.The next stop is the rice village of Ban Saladin, where you can try tasty treats; such as, crispy rice crackers covered in pork as well as salted goose eggs, a local specialty. The residents are a mine of information about how local foods are farmed and prepared and are eager to offer samples to try. Most people leave loaded with bags of food to take home.
They only require a good supply of water to grow and many are seeded in coconut husks or are simply suspended in baskets. If you’re looking for some blooms to decorate your home, this is the place to come as you can get the loveliest flowers, fresh cut or seedlings for great prices.
All that’s left for the day is to enjoy the boat ride back to Wat Suwannaram, their foraging seems easy compared to the long hours and hard work put in by Khlong Mahasawat’s local famers, which is why these agro-tourism trips are interesting and vital – they open visitors’ eyes to the rural soul of the kingdom, so they can experience Thainess in its truest form.
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