Rayong is a province that has the sea and is a beautiful tourist destination. It is also an important source of quality fruit and processed food. The fascination of Rayong is not only in its tourist attractions, but the way of life of the local people in the various communities is also equally interesting. Today, I will take you to see the way of life of the people of Rayong, which is a new perspective that is rarely seen or experienced. The place that we will highlight is the Pak Nam Prasae community that has attractions, which are starting to become very popular among tourists including Thung Prong Thong. This is because it is a place for relaxing and where you can enjoy a real natural atmosphere. We can say it ‘s a place that shouldn’t be missed.
Travelling to the Pak Nam Prasae community by car from Bangkok will take about 3.5 hours in which we will pass “Suan Thurian Ban Rao”, the first landmark that we will stop to visit.
First, I must say that visiting a fruit orchard may sound boring because I think like that. However, my thinking changed after my visit because the first activity I did was sit on a tram to see around the orchard in which the owner was the guide and gave a lot of knowledge along the way.
Also, I had the opportunity to disembark to collect fruit by myself. Whoever would know that the orchardists we saw collecting the fruit have a tricky technique, as they do not think they can just collect the fruit to eat; for example, for collecting durian, they must count the days, notice the colour of the fruit, observe the poles, and knock on the fruit and listen to the sound. People who cut durian have the ability to climb the trees and must know which durian is ready for cutting. They must have strong hands because if the durian is at the tip of the branch, they must only use one hand for cutting and holding the durian together with tossing it down to the person below. The ground below must have sacks, so the durian does not become bruised. The cutter must judge the appropriate distance between himself and the recipient to catch the durian. So, we can say eating durian isn’t easy. After we learned about the technique and tried collecting the durian ourselves, it was time to taste this delicious fruit in which the orchard had prepared for tourists.
Each durian of Suan Thurian Ban Rao was numbered, so that they would know which fruit came from which tree. If tourists who bought that fruit were not satisfied, they could return the fruit if the orchard’s sticker was still on the upper part of the fruit and the orchard would know which tree has a problem and they would solve it. This clearly displays that the orchard pays attention to every step starting from growing to the selling. As for the price for eating fresh fruit from the orchard, they will charge as a buffet at 400 Baht per person. If interested to visit and learn about the orchardist’s way of life as well as try some quality fruit, then don’t miss here
When eating the fruit until satisfied, then it was time to move onto our highlight, which was the Pak Nam Prasae community. It’s not too far from the Suan Thurian Ban Rao and is located on the southeast coast of Amphoe Klaeng, Rayong province.
For this trip, we stayed at the “Kuk Kik Homestay”, which is located at the entrance of the old Pak Prasae community that has many homestays and were built or renovated from the old houses to look attractive and more modern than in the past. After dropping our bags at the accommodation, we began to visit various places.
Although we had our own car, today we travelled by truck because it is a signature of Prasae in which the truck can be easily found. We could negotiate the price with the locals and say where we wanted to go. The driver also recommended various places to us like he was our guide, and the cost was just 350 Baht. Today, he took us everywhere.
The first destination was “Saphan Prasae Sin”, which is more than 2 kilometres long and is a bridge where you can see an overall view of the colourful fishermen’s village. Our driver told us that here is where the freshwater and saltwater converge together. It is a source of local fishing and deep-sea fishing, and the villagers live side by side with the river. They live by catching marine animals and raising fish, which is called the real way of life of the fishermen, who wake up early to go out to find fish; some people even start before daylight. After catching the marine creatures, the fishermen will separate and clean the nets to prepare for the next day; some will clean or check their boats and the engine for safety. While our driver was telling us, we saw the images of the local people’s lifestyle for ourselves.
After the bridge, the next place was the “Laem Son Viewpoint”. At this place, we could see Laem Son Beach, which had many pine trees in the area and is where the name is derived from. If anyone has enough time, they can sit and look at the view, as well as order some food to eat and chill by the beach.
From Laem Son Beach, we continued onto the “HTMS Prasae Memorial”. This ship experienced 32 battles and it was a vessel under the UN fleet during the Korean War. Usually, it is open for tourists to visit for free, but at present, it is under renovation and will be developed to be a museum. Once completed, I will come back to see what is inside.
After that, we came to a tourist destination that is going to be a hot hit, which was “Thung Prong Thong”, an ecotourism attraction. This is a wooden span bridge that is more than 2.5 kilometres long stretching along the mangroves to the Prasae sea. Both sides of the route are full of various species of plants and the sound of birds. When looking down at the ground, you will see crabs and mudskippers. It is a rich mangrove ecosystem and gives a feeling of being very natural.
The hit viewpoint is where many people usually take photos because it is very beautiful when the sun reflects onto the light green leaves that will let us see them as a stunning gold colour. Thus, some people call this place “Thung Prong Thong”, which is suitable for anyone that wants to relax with a 360-degree natural panorama because the image that you will see and the sounds you will hear is the best natural atmosphere. Nature lovers must come to experience and shouldn’t miss this place.
When we left Thung Prong Thong, we stopped to pay respect to the “Krommaluang Chumphonkhetudomsak Shrine”. This shrine was built to enshrine the statue of Prince Chumphon, who is an important person in the history of the Royal Thai Navy.
After visiting the nature, it was time for dinner, so coming to the sea the food must be seafood. Here, besides fresh and delicious food, the price is also not expensive. After eating satisfactorily, we checked into the accommodation.
In the morning of the new day, we visited the old Pak Prasae community. Along the way was the morning market and we saw the way of life of the community that was different from city life. The sound of fishing boats returning from searching for fish in the early morning, the exquisiteness of the fruit vendors who brought fruit from their orchards to sell, distribute, taste and ask where they came from. The image of the local people who rode bicycles on the bridge, the image of tourists who came and took photos, and the warm locals that made me very impressed and made me feel warm all the time. Also, I had a feeling like we were in an old movie. The shops were old, local food shops were the identity here plus the pharmacy and old-style barber shop that I was certain are hard to find nowadays.
When we ate, travelled, and saw the old Pak Prasae community, we returned to our accommodation to collect our things to move on.
The final destination that we checked in was “Ban Cha Bai Khlu”, the Prasae Community Enterprise Group that has an orchard of Khlu leaves that passes various methods to be an herbal beverage.
“Khlu” ( Pluchea indica (Linn) Less) is an herb with numerous properties including relieving diabetes, reducing fat in the blood, a diuretic, and is very popular for using as a medicine for general ailments throughout Rayong province. It can be eaten fresh or processed as a tea, as it is a local plant that has generated immense income for the community.
The old lady that lives here told us that in the beginning the Khlu tea process was very complicated. Starting from selecting the leaves that were not too young or old, washing them, and then blanching them for 3-5 minutes to be cooked. After that, the water was poured out of the baskets, and they are left to dry in the sun. Once dried, the leaves are then roasted in an aluminum pan on a light flame, so the leaves will dry. They are roasted for about 30 minutes. After that, they are put in a basket and torn to prevent them from sticking together before being spread out and put into a solar-powered incubator. Once dried, they are packed into bags ready for sale.
Mostly, it is made into an herbal beverage for us to try. Khlu leaves must pass a sophisticated process and attention is paid to detail by the local people in every step before serving to tourists. This is because of the value as a local product and as an OTOP product that generates income for the community.
Our trip at the Pak Nam Prasae community is now over and we are full again with eating fresh fruit from the orchard, picking fruit ourselves and seeing the real way of life of the orchardists as well as feeling relaxed by experiencing the natural atmosphere. More importantly, we saw various lifestyles that made us experience relaxation that is different from the city way that is full of hustle and bustle: the fishermen going out in the early morning to search for food, the friendliness of the people in the community even though they did not know us, but asked, spoke and shared with us to try fruit. Thinking back, I could not help smiling, so it can be said that this trip made us really recharge our life batteries.
It can be said come to Rayong, the only province that has orchards, where you can eat seafood, and have fun with various activities in the community because Rayong does not only have the sea.