Baan Bang Rong is a small village in Baan Paklok, in the Thalang area in the northeast of Phuket. It’s a quiet and peaceful village that has managed to preserve its traditions and culture despite the modernisation of the rest of Phuket. The village is home to around 500 people who rely on agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods.
Baan Bang Rong was originally a port town, named ‘Bang Long’ in Hokkien, which refers to the prosperous canal. The lush green fields, mangrove forest and the serene waters of the river make for a picturesque view that attracts visitors from all over the world. Baan Bang Rong, which used to have the most abundant mangrove forest area in Phuket, was faced with the problem of the mangrove forests being destroyed; the mangrove trees had been cut down to serve the charcoal industry exports. Then, just over 20 years ago, the Bang Rong community set up a conservation programme that started reforestation of the mangroves, thus restoring the marine habitat; the local fish, crab and shrimp populations returned.
During the Ayutthaya period, the 14th to the 18th centuries, Bang Rong was a busy transportation hub for goods and Bang Rong Pier was a busy port. Located at the mouth of Bang Rong River, the pier is now better known as the departure point for speedboats taking locals and tourists on trips to Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai.
A visit to Bang Rong village is not only a really good day out, but you’ll also be supporting a way of life that’s in danger of disappearing. You get to learn about agricultural and fishing life, and to experience community-based tourism in Phuket at its best. Bang Rong’s community-based tourism programme allows visitors to get involved and experience a day of rural life in Phuket, while allowing residents to continue their traditional way of life. It’s a great situation for everyone.
Activities that you shouldn’t miss are watching the crab-eating macaque monkeys, visiting the goat farm, a pineapple plantation, Bang Pae waterfall and the gibbon rehabilitation project (bookings required) and tasting the fresh seafood at Bang Rong floating seafood restaurants.
You also need to try Tom Yod Ma Praw, a speciality dessert from the Bang Rong area, made of sticky rice and coconut milk, wrapped in coconut palm leaf. Equally savoury and sweet, it’s not to be missed.
Take a boat trip out and help protected crabs by releasing the female crabs with eggs ready to hatch directly onto the seagrass, where they have the best chance of survival. Locals collect the female crabs carrying eggs and take them to a nursery until they’re ready to hatch, otherwise they’re at risk of being caught and eaten. Female crabs normally carry up to 500,000 eggs, but less than 5% make it to adulthood; placing them in the seagrass gives them a fighting chance of survival.
A great way to explore the river and mangrove forest is on a kayak. Rent one from the floating restaurants and take a leisurely paddle upstream, taking in the unspoiled natural environment. On your return, make sure you grab some of the locally grown pineapple; it’ll be the sweetest you’ve ever eaten.
Another place you must visit in Baan Bang Rong is the Baan Bang Rong Mosque. This elegant mosque is over 200 years old and is a central landmark in the village. It features Thai-Muslim architecture that combines Thai and Islamic traditional styles. Visitors can enter the mosque and learn more about the village’s Muslim community.
For those who want to really experience the local way of life, stay at one of the homestays available in Baan Bang Rong. Visitors can stay with a local family and get a glimpse into the daily life of the villagers. Help with farming, fishing and cooking and learn about the traditions and customs of the community. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and make new friends. The village is also known for its traditional handicrafts. The locals are skilled in weaving and making products out of natural materials like bamboo and coconut shells. Visitors can buy these unique handicrafts at the local markets and support the local artisans.
Baan Bang Rong is a hidden gem in Phuket that offers a glimpse into the local way of life. It’s a great destination for those who want to experience the beauty of rural Thailand and learn about its culture and traditions. There’s something for everyone in Baan Bang Rong.