Where did we go?
San Tor Community, Bangkunthien
What was it for?
Corporate Team Building
One of the three truck taxis that took everyone into the Khlong Pittayalongkorn School where we'll gather for the first workshop. It was a first for many and some thought it was fun while others thought the ride was "butt-numbing!"
We gathered into groups and began our first workshop: Making Tie Dye Handkerchiefs. Standing in front is Khru Mam from the school explaining the origins of the craft, the ingredients we'll be using, and the history of the school. Local Alike staffs help facilitate and translate for the travelers.
Mythili, one of the travelers from DBS, examines the "Ta Boon" fruit used to make dyes. The fruit is first dried, cut up, and then boiled in hot water to make a dye that enhances the durability of the garment.
A simple smile can go a long way for us but to see our travelers laugh like this is priceless. Hung around their necks are name tags Local Alike prepared, underneath their English names is a blank line for them to learn their Thai name in the next activity.
We hosted the Tie Dye workshop under a cool hut of the Khlong Pittayalongkorn school. Khru Mam is shown here teaching us how to tie or in Thai, "mut," our handkerchiefs in order to create unique patterns. You'd be surprised how much fun we had by making jokes out of the word "mut!"
We saw some intricate designs being "mut" from Desiree. The fun part of Tie Dying is as a beginner, you never know what kind of pattern will churn out from the ties you made... Everybody was in for the surprise. On the right is the boiling "Ta Boon" pot where garment is dipped into for 30 to 60 minutes.
The "Ta Boon" pot is odorless and its dye leaves a light vanilla shade when the garment left in for 30 minutes. Once it is completely soaked, we'll sun dry it to discover our masterpieces.
Our next activity is called the "Discover Thainess Scavenger Hunt." Local Alike staffs hid note cards with Thai names along the Mangrove trail behind the school. We broke into four teams to pick out our Thai names.
The trail through the mangrove forest was beautiful under the sun. Once everyone claimed their Thai nickname, we head back to the hut to start learning how to write them. Pom Chue Ma-Praaaaaaw!
You know you're traveling with a competitive and top-notch team when everyone is so dedicated to whatever craft they are doing. We had nicknames that meant Tamarind Soup, to Tuk Tuk, to even a name of a Chiang Mai city.
We taught each team how to introduce themselves in Thai. "Bai Tdong" most definitely won the Most Convincing Accent Award while Karen got the name "Mon Jam," a geographical name that is not uncommon in the way Thai nicknames are given.
We love the multilingual jokes that this group cracks! Here is the footage showing how they introduced themselves with their Thai nicknames.
After all the activities at the school, we hopped on a boat and headed to Uncle Sorn's house. Uncle Sorn is our host for the day and will be cooking us lunch. Although he surprised us by taking a detour to the Gulf of Thailand where we checked out a local village that is now under waters. It is amazing to learn how fast the ocean rushed in over the decade. Seen here is Pin, our Chief Explorer, responsible for designing and leading Local Alike day trips.
After a seafood lunch prepared by Uncle Sorn and his wife, we helped each other clear the tables and prepared for the "Look Choop" workshop. Local Alike was assisted by Pu, a Thai dessert teacher, to conduct this workshop. "Look Choop" desserts are delicate and each is handmade into unique shapes and sizes. Once sculpted, they are dipped in bright food coloring and coated with sugar for a vivid and appetizing finish.
The creativity of this group is off the charts. We saw perfectly rounded fish balls (not as easy as it sounds!), talk-to-my-hand, a Harry Potter sorting hat (our interpretation), and all sorts of other cool shapes.
Here are attempts to recreate unique Thai fruits that are worthy of an applause! By the way, Local Alike promises not to use styrofoam next time. :-)
This is just unfair. Patsian Low of DBS Foundation is seen here making masterpieces like ladybugs and teddy bears!
Once we've finished our "Look Choop" workshop, we couldn't wait to come un-tie our Tie Dye handkerchiefs!
Once un-tied, we let is air dry under the sun in Uncle Sorn's front porch. Every piece is uniquely theirs!
Some more adventurous folks hopped into a two-person kayak and off they went to check out the surroundings of this neighborhood. The water is about a meter and a half deep and is also perfect for a quick swim!
Karen Ngui, one of the many Local Alike supporters from the DBS Bank and Managing Director at DBS give us an inspirational shout out. Thank you everyone! :-)
After a long and eventful day, we gathered the group around one last time. Local Alike prepared wallet-sized Thank You cards for everyone to write for their peers. We wanted to help them appreciate each other just a little more, give everyone something to read and feel inspired when their days are a little dull.
Seeing the attention everyone wrote their notes really made us feel a tad emotional. This group of travelers from DBS is such a dedicated team who seem to really enjoy the presence of each other.
We conclude the day by taking a group photo with Uncle Sorn and his wife who is centered in the picture. We'd like to thank everyone who made it to the trip and thank you all for supporting community-based tourism. Every traveler who travels with us is instantly a change maker making tourism in Thailand just a tad better.
Bow, our leader in sustainable tourism at Local Alike, hops on the bus, grabs the mic, and makes our last farewell. You'll be missed Team DBS!
Really glad that we are finally able to experience Local Alike.
Traveler and Managing Director at DBS