Andaman Discoveries Blog

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Yoga workshops in Kuraburi

Breathe in, then out quickly through your nose, maybe 20 times in succession, try not to get too dizzy. Then put on some cool world music and take up position. Kuliandingy is a new yoga sensation that is taking off in Europe and we here in Thailand, are lucky to have a volunteer teacher of this practice, Ingrid from the Netherlands, to take classes for us every evening.

The AD staff and other volunteers are loving her classes and feeling positively up-beat after them, despite a hard day at the office! It’s a great way to release tensions of the day and the movements are flowing in time with the music, making it feel like a dance session with lots of smiles and not at all like a workout,

Ingrid is on a two week program teaching yoga and English to the children of our Kuraburi Junior School, located just outside the town. The Director of the school is so pleased to be part of this program, believing that it will focus and energize her students to learn; not just about English, but exercise and yoga and open their minds to new ways of doing things.

The two weeks have been a pleasure to spend with Ingrid and she will be pleased to know that we are continuing her workshop in Shiori’s and Jennifer’s house, despite the return of the rain. Namaste

We are always looking for volunteers with different skills to take part in the school and Learning Center projects. The placements are not just for teaching English, but exercise, dance, arts and crafts, computers, the list is endless, If you feel you have something to share please do get in touch.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Scholarship up-date 2012

As we continue with our scholarship program, we’d like to thank our donors again for their continued support for the school children of the Andaman region. Last year, through the sponsorship program, a student from Rajapat Surathani university, called Wilasinee Klatalay, graduated in Tourism Management, this is great news as Wilasinu is the first student to have graduated through this program.

This year, 67 students received scholarships; they all attend different schools in Andaman region and each student receives between 6.000 and 15.000 baths (150/375 euros) per year to help purchase essential stationary items. This can be additional reading books, dictionaries or other school equipment they may need. This really reduces the burden on the family to find extra money to help put their children through education. Thank you for your continued support.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Visit from our Donors Mulberry

With our partners FED (Foundation for Education and Development), located just outside Kao Lak, we have been busy fundraising for a new school, built for the Burmese children, who used to be located at the Kuraburi pier district. 

We’ve been busy building six rooms for the students and teachers and also a playground area for the children; something they have not had before.

Construction took around one and a half months and we are pleased to report the project is now completed; just some landscaping and painting to be finished.  We had a wonderful opening ceremony attended by FED directors, staff and all the children.  Some children performed a beautiful dance for us to mark the opening of this new learning center and after the official opening ceremony we all sat down to a delicious lunch, served outside, in true Burmese and Thai style.   The day after the ceremony the new school opened its doors for the children to start their new semester in proper classrooms and comfortable conditions.

On Wednesday we had the great pleasure to welcome staff from Mulberry, one of our main donors, Daniela and Evelyn to see the new school and meet some of the children.  The new school has been renamed “The Mulberry Learning center”.  Supporters and donors from all over the world have been so kind to get this project off the ground.  First we took Daniela and Evelyn to see the old school; they were pretty shocked to see the basic conditions of the old school and how easily it flooded during the rainy season.  They also saw the old furniture that was used and wondered how the children managed to sit at these desks and write, most had holes in them and the wood was rotten.They appreciated the visit to the old school and to see the contrast of the new school and realize how great it is for the children today with their new rooms and equipment.

They were very pleased to see the new school and were enthusiastically welcomed by the children. They gave the children paper and pens and asked them to draw the school of their dreams. In fact, it was amazing to see that the children were drawing the same kind of dream school that they have nowadays, wonderful. 

Daniela and Evelyn also met the first volunteers of the new school from Quebec ,  Camille, Charlotte and  Anne-Frederic and enjoyed listening to their experience of how great it is to teach English there.  We really appreciate all the generosity and goodwill of our donors and supporters and volunteers; a very big thank you to you all.

Feel free to contact us if you would like further information on this project.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Back in Kuraburi

After arriving in the mega city of Bangkok I could not wait to be back in the village of Kuraburi again. This lovely little town created a second home for me from the day I walked in the Andaman Discoveries office last year. This year I am back for one Month to write a report on Andaman Discoveries for the university of NHTV in Breda.

When I arrived in the office, the new and familiar faces gave me a feeling of happiness. Kuraburi has changed only a little in the eight months since my last visit and it was not difficult for me to find my place here again.

After a few days my friend from Portugal, Susana, arrived in Thailand to volunteer with Andaman Discoveries, the same project as she had done last year. Through rain and storms we started our mission to arrive in Kuraburi. Finally arriving through the storms we settled in and caught up with all our old friends. The next day Susana started her volunteer project at the Junior school in Kuraburi and I started on my field research.

One week passed and I really looked forward to a day of teaching together with Susana. I squeezed in the fully loaded school bus arrived and at the school with lots of excited and eager children and it was great to play with the children before the classes started. On this day we were teaching classes 2, 4 and 5, we taught the children about body-parts through drawings, games and songs. The younger children had more difficulty picking up English words, but had great fun in trying and laughing at our double act teaching style and the drawing is so much more fun :D, we all loved this.

So today I am back at my laptop, working on my assignment and enjoying the memories from the school day, Susana has two more days to teach before we are off to Ranong for some hot spring relaxation and waterfall excursions.

Thank you for the wonderful times Andaman Discoveries!

Cheers Nicole

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


North Andaman Community Tourism Network Remains Strong and Engaged

In May the community-based tourism groups fromeach of the villages comprising the N-ACT network met on Koh Pratong for their meeting. This meeting welcomed guest village Lan Ka Roo from Khao Sok, Surat Thani. While waiting for all members to arrive a friendly conversation began on the reason for the different Thai names of surrounding Khao Sok areas like Khao Pra Hak “Broken knife Hill”, Lan Ka Roo “Lizard stuck at hole” and Khao Mah Ngan “Turn up Dog Hill”. The Thai spirit of creative imagination never gets old!

As the meeting got underway representative from the communities had an information exchange on how to set up a homestay, the roles of guides and hosting foreign guests. Host group, Ban Lion, introduced their homestay program and highlighted activities they offer guests. Members engaged in discussions on pricing calculations for developing and updated homestay programs with the costs increases they incur. The CBT group from Koh Kho Khao presented on their program to offer and give his suggestions to the network. The Village Leader from Tapae Yoi gave an introduction for his group and discussed future plans for CBT development in his village. Chamni from Plenprai Sri Nakha discussed some challenges his group were facing, and acknowledged that communities can face problems from both internal and external sources. He also noted that he was very proud that the groups at the meeting did not focus only on money but recognized that well developed CBT programs will help bring awareness to the group and further success in the future.

To conclude the meeting, a pertinent question from AD Intern Jennifer to the network asked “What did the members gain from the meeting?” One member responded that it helped them to change past activities and learn new ideas to generate income for their communities. Hem from Ban Talae Nok replied that he was happy that everyone was able to exchange their work and consult each other to improve their community groups. He concluded that community-based tourism is to be approached one step at a time and not to expect the rapid growth of a tour company. Now that is sustainable minded tourism!


Southern Thailand Orphanage

A huge thanks to Kellie Ann Tomlin and her husband, for their visit to our Southern Thailand Orphanage to help the children by visiting the home and spending time with the children and staff and donating some essential daily supplies. Kellie and her husband bought milk, cooking oil, eggs, flour and other cooking ingredients that the home have to find funds for every day to feed 26 children. We helped Kellie to arrange a day visit with the home, Kellie is on vacation in Phuket and wanted to give a helping hand to one of our projects.

Khun Root, the director of the orphanage, was overwhelmed with the generosity shown by Kellie, and is warmed by the kindness of visitors that come to work with and learn about his project.

Kellie left the home with a parting thought; she realizes the importance of e-learning for children and on return to her native Australia is going to do a fundraising campaign to gather old laptops and computers to donate to the home; everyone at the project is so excited that they soon may be able to have the use of computers in their everyday life.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Life with the Moken in Tung Dap

This month I had the chance toexperience one of the village tours in the remote village of Tung Dap, locatedon the Island of Koh Prathong, with one of our guests Mandy and our translatorand guide Pi-Tui.

We left Kuraburi and made our wayto the pier and took the long-tail boat out to the Island. The boat ride outthe Island was amazing, the color of the leaves from the mangrove trees wasbright green, glistening and shining in the early morning sun and the oceanturns from green to blue as the boat navigates through the shallow and deepwaters.

Before reaching the island, wewent to explore the mangrove forest and learnt about the way the local peoplemanage the environmental conservation of this mangrove area. We also learnt about the medicinal use of themangroves, and learnt about many animals and crustations which live within themangroves. This is a natural habitat forthese animals which has to be preserved to protect all the remarkable speciesliving there. The amazing mangroveeco-system acts as a nursery for crabs, fish and shrimp, and is well managed bythe villagers, who try to minimize environmental impacts for our futuregenerations.

After that, we met Pi-Noi and herhusband Da Nong and had a delicious lunch together,freshly caught sea food……….. aroy J After lunchwe observed the traditional method to take tin out of the sand, this is a longprocess and very hard work.

We also had the chance to learn how to make squidtraps; it’s not as easy as it looks and it’s amazing how fast the locals weavethe net.

The atmosphere of the village wasvery relaxing and everyone was very friendly. We were able to ask a lot ofinteresting questions about their culture and way of life on the island andwere able to share stories and experiences between our hosts and Mandy thanks to our great translator and guide Pi-Tui.

The cultural exchange was intenseas Mandy was able to tell about her life back in Australia and what herimpressions were of seeing this new culture and Pi-Noi seemed amazed to hearabout Mandy’s life back in her home town and compare the way they live.
At one point, the exchange was quietfascinating, because Pi-Noi was talking about her experience during the 2004tsunami and how challenging it is to be Moken in a rapidly changing world. Moken are very proud of their life style andtreasure keeping the close and important connection with the nature, I was solucky to be part of this exchange.
Later in the day we had a uniqueride through the savannah on a customized tractor a one off ingenuousinvention and had some coconuts caught by Da Nong as he climbed thecoconut tree right in front of the beautiful pristine beach.

After that we came back to thevillage and learnt how to make Thai desert with Pi-Noi. We cooked sticky ricein freshly grated coconut milk and wrapped in a banana leaf, the Thai way.

We’ve been amazed all day by theway villagers welcomed us to their village and with this beautiful landscapesurrounding us.

If you like the sound of thistrip, or if you would like to find out more about this program, don’t hesitateto contact us, it’s a great and unique cultural experience.

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