Published/Last edited or updated: 8th November, 2020
Cross the Tapi River from Surat Thani’s urban congestion and you’ll be swept into a lush, rural landscape defined by tropical flowers, dragonflies, coconut orchards, palms and reeds that often stand taller than the humble stilted houses.
Setting out on a narrow longtail boat steered by boisterous Surat native, Mr Lek, we cut north into one of the many canals that crisscross the delta. Still within sight of Surat’s multi-storey concrete buildings, the simple houses set over the water and shrouded in greenery present an immediate contrast of rural and urban, side by side.
Continuing into the tropical trees on a sunny morning, we spotted cranes and other birds gliding or twirling over the treetops. For a moment, a pair of dragonflies hovered next to our boat. Bright orange and yellow wildflowers joined the red leaves of umbrella trees amid a dense backdrop of flora.
Many of the families in the delta take advantage of the fresh water to grow fruit — coconuts chief among them. In some places, the impossibly narrow trunks of the coconut trees bend over the canal as though their bushy tops are trying to drop off fruit on the other side. We also passed thick groves of feathered palm leaves that transformed narrow canals into spindly tunnels of green.
On two occasions Mr Lek pointed out canal-side homestays that he said cost around 500 baht a night, per person, and could provide a real backwoods cultural experience. If interested, he can drop travellers off and pick them up at an agreed ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.