Thursday, 15 January 2009

Free food to promote ecotourism

Free food to promote ecotourism
Date : 27 - 28 January 2009
Venue : Ranong

Villagers pitch in to create an amazing eating festival to entice visitors to explore nearby ecotourism trails.

It sustains life and it is certainly a pleasure very few can deny so it kind of makes sense to celebrate the simple task of eating. Villagers in La Un district, some 80 km northeast of Ranong provincial town, believe their culinary skills are up to the test as they launch into their very own Eating Festival scheduled 28 January.

We can understand their enthusiasm as Thailand is certainly a top notch destination for superb food and every village appears to have secret recipes.

Like other Andamam coast provinces, Ranong is blessed with fine sandy beaches, off shore islands and opportunities to go deep sea fishing or scuba diving at incredible bargain prices.

But Ranong is probably the greenest of all Thailand’s provinces blessed with abundant rain that keeps national parks in pristine condition for visitors who want to journey down the eco-tourism trail.

That trail leads north of Ranong to Lamnam Kraburi National Park and the famous Punyabun Falls just off Highway 4. After admiring the beauty of the 6 km wide Kraburi River estuary that separates Thailand and Myanmar, travellers can head 20 km inland to La Un district that lies at the end of the rural highway 4091. Here villagers hope to draw visitors to sample eco-tours that will ultimately supplement the district’s income.

To draw attention to their forest tours they created an eating festival. It promises a scrumptious display of snacks and heavy-duty dining delivered to the village stalls by no less than 35 villages that make up the La Un district.

No duplications are allowed. Villages have drawn on southern culinary skills to showcase a wealth of down-to-earth cooking skills delivering a selection of spicy main dishes to eat with rice and an array of sweet deserts and snacks.

All this is feasting and snacking is absolutely free, a sign that La Un’s villagers recognise that the way to a visitor’s heart is via the stomach.

Efforts to open the district to tourism begin a day earlier, 27 January, with villages introducing eco-tour options. They hope to convince travellers who journey on Highway 4, between Chumphon and Ranong, to make a diversion inland to stop for a meal and learn a little about the district’s natural beauty, forest trails and even three hot springs near the village of Bang Phra Nua, in La Un district.

You will have to admit the buffet spread has a remarkable price tag. And if their tours are as tasty as the food, eco-tourism will be on the map at La Un thanks to a day of hospitality.

Call the district office at Tel: 077 899 058.