Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A stay in a Thai home in the former capital, Ayutthaya

A stay in a Thai home in the former capital, Ayutthaya

A stay in a Thai home in the former capital, Ayutthaya

090805_23
Faded glories of the former Thai capital, such as Wat Suwanduwas, can be seen all over Ayutthaya. Photo Supplied

For a travel experience that is out of the ordinary, consider living in simple but comfortable style among the locals

It's worth watching local monks paddle boats from house to house.

HOME FROM HOME: Getting to ban le khe

From Ayutthaya take a bus from the local bus station to Sena. Buses leave every 30 minutes between 5:30am and 6:30pm. The journey takes around 45 minutes and costs 15 baht. To reach Ban Lan Khe from Sena, either take a songtheaw (departs every half hour, costs 10 baht and takes 15 minutes), or arrive in style on a Harley Davidson trishaw,
located around the bus station (costs 50 baht). A taxi direct from Ayutthaya to Ban Lan Khe should cost around 400 baht. The best time to arrive is between 3pm to 4pm. The home stay will help you in getting back to Sena, from where you simply take the bus back to Ayutthaya. Happy travelling!

Set along the banks of a lazy river and located just 25 kilometres to the west of Ayutthaya, the small rural community of Ban Lan Khe provides the perfect opportunity to experience Thai family life amid a tranquil setting. Whether looking for somewhere to enhance your travel experience, enjoy nature or simply unwind, this could be just the place for you.

As the songtheaw, or pickup truck, pulls away, I'm left at a quiet junction overlooking a lush sea of green rice paddies that stretch before me. Having spoken earlier that morning, Tim suggested we meet by Wat Ranjolakeh, near to the school where she works.

Walking along the road and over an old wooden bridge, I see the temple down to my right. Tim is already there to welcome me. After a cool drink and friendly chat with the ladies at the local shop, we go to take a look at the temple where a 260-year-old Buddha sits inside.

Glide the lily
Later, we head to a jetty where Tim's husband, Tan, is waiting. Here an old woman paddles her boat among the stilt houses lining the riverbank. Gliding over lilies, Tan takes the boat a short distance upstream to his place, a bright-yellow building with a homely atmosphere. Feeling instantly at ease, we chat for a while on the breezy jetty before I take a swim in the cool river that has been tempting me since I arrived.

At 4pm, Tim appears on the horizon, arriving home in a boat laden with grandchildren and other members of the family - time to make some spicy som tam. After several introductions, giggles and shy smiles, I'm given a crash course in Thai cooking in the open-air kitchen.

As the heat dies down, we take a boat ride along the river, stopping to collect water mimosa, morning glory and lotus flowers to be used later on for cooking. Conical bird nests sway in the trees as fishermen try their luck along with kingfishers, herons and other wading birds. The sun passes below the horizon as we drift through the village, an assortment of houses with some leaning at impossible angles. A lone monk sits at the end of a jetty accompanied by his dogs, the end of another day in this timeless place.

Back at the house we feast upon a meal prepared by Tim that includes soup, fresh fish, spicy pork, omelette, local vegetables and a variety of homemade sauces. Talk is easy over dinner in the company of such gracious and pleasant hosts, and it's soon time for bed.

Simple charm
Accommodation is in a simple loft that sleeps up to five, with mattresses on the floor and air-conditioning if required. Larger groups of people can be placed in other houses around the village. The shared bathroom, basic with cold-water shower, is also spotlessly clean.

As the sun begins to rise at 6am, it's worth getting up to see local monks paddle boats from house to house for the villagers to pay merit. Being a member of the family, you will be invited to take part in this important daily ceremony and given an opportunity to give alms of food and flowers to the monk who pulls up at the end of the jetty.

After a hearty Thai-style breakfast, it's eventually time to leave.
I walk with Tim along the riverbank, past mango and banana trees to the local school where I say a quick hello, before heading back to Ayutthaya feeling well rewarded from my time spent here in this special place.

Need to know
To arrange your Ban Lan Khe home stay phone Tim:
(+ 65) 81-251-8058.
Costs: 700 baht per person per night, which includes an evening meal and breakfast.
There's a 100-baht surcharge for boat trips of fewer than five guests.

Visit travelfish.org by www.travelfish.org

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh