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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Khao Lak - Bucolic adventure

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Khao Lak Canal flows slowly from a mountain to the village of Ban Khao Lak in Trang's Muang district. Both sides of the stream are green forest. The canal later merges with another canal called Lam Phu Ra which ends at the Trang River. 
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 "We have to protect our forest so there will be water for our consumption all year round," said village headman Sawat Khunnui. The water originating from the Khao Lak Waterfall has never run dry. It's always clear and cold. This inspired the village headman to open a little adventure service to promote the community. 
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 His idea was to introduce a canoeing service along Khao Lak and Lam Phu Ra canals. The distance is about 4.5km
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About half of the villagers agreed with the idea while the rest held out. They were
afraid that their peaceful community would be changed while others were concerned that the small village couldn't attract any tourists. But the village head remained confident. He saw the successful model.
Three years ago, he brought a team of his village committee to try canoeing along Lam Lon Canal in Satun. "After the trip, we agreed to give it a try. I was confident that our service would be able to attract tourists because our village has beautiful nature," he said. 
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 The village committee also had an agreement with its villagers that there would be only one canoeing operator and it must be owned by the community, not any private investor, said Sawat. 
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They didn't have any money when they started the service three years ago. They borrowed 15 canoes from Wang Sai Thong Homestay in Satun without any fee for six months. When the contract ended, they had enough money to buy their own canoes. They started with eight. Today Ban Khao Lak has 40 canoes to service visitors. 
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 "It's the word of mouth that bring tourists to our village," he said, adding that today Ban Khao Lak welcomes at least three groups of visitors a day, he said. 
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