A COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM APPROACH IN ADVANCING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE AMPHAWA CHAIPATANANURAK CONSERVATION PROJECT
ACKARADEJRUANGSRI, Pajaree, Ph.D.
RIVERA, John Paolo R., Ph.D.
Asia-Pacific Social Science Review, Vol 16, No 3, 2017
Amphawa is a popular day trip destination that is connected by rivers and canals, situated on the outskirts of the Thai capital (63 kilometers, west of Bangkok). It is the second most popular ﬂoating market near the capital, though not as large as Damnoen Saduak1, but more authentic, operates in the late afternoon, with majority of its visitors are Thai. It is home to a small community of old-fashioned cafes, restaurants, and wooden shop-houses retailing artsy souvenirs, books, and Thai sweets. The community is located on the banks of the Mae Klong (canal) River (as seen in Figure 1). Here, vendors, riding on boats, park along the two canal banks ready to sell noodles, rice porridge, grilled squid, shellfish, and river prawns, among others. Long tail boats are usually used to go on scenic tours of the Mae Klong and muse at the stilt houses, fruit orchards, and temples adorning its banks. Besides the ﬂoating market, Amphawa’s attractive riverside panorama, relaxed ambience reminiscent of a long-gone era, and a lineup of waterfront infrastructures lie at the core of its enduring popularity among heritage enthusiasts. While commercially developed, the old wooden houses and shop fronts retain some of their original charm. Tourism in Amphawa goes beyond taking a scenic boat ride to watch the fireﬂies at nightfall, an activity that requires an overnight stay. Shopping has now taken over as the main activity since the afternoon ﬂoating market and shop-houses ﬂanking the Khlong Amphawa became the main attraction. Likewise, food stalls have expanded from the riverbanks and stretched far into the surrounding streets. Consequently, it has become such a big attraction for the Thais and is starting to become an item on foreign tourists’ itinerary.
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