According to travel industry dictionary, slow tourism is “a type of tourism that allows tourists to spend their free time way from the worries and stresses of today's fast-paced life. Activities include pleasure trips and hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, water sports, caving, birdwatching, hot-air ballooning, etc.”.
Keep in mind that slow tourism (type of tourism), slow traveler (the person) and slow travel (type of travel) are the same !
Slow tourism indicators
Like any type of tourist, you always have indicators to understand the elements defining it. We are going to keep it short, as trying and understanding by yourself during a trip is more relevant than reading an article.
During your trip, you will follow the sustainable tourism rules which is respecting the environment, the natural resources of the place you are visiting and experiencing eco-friendly activities such as bicycle or workshop. At the same time, these activities will help you to learn more about the local and their way oflife. Trough village visits, cultural exchange or simply by buying organic products from theirfields and local farmers.
The most important is the time that you will allow for your trip and for each visit that you plan to do. In fact, you will spend more time on an area, understand and discover more about a culture. This will allow you to have more opportunities to create strong encounters. One of the best encounters is made by wandering.
To finish, when you apply slow tourism to your trip, you will think about slow travel mindset that will reduce your mobility and let you enjoy the moment at its fullest. We are talking about taking the train, doing a bicycle tour byyourself or through a local agency, taking yoga class, or meditation class, or simply doing people sight-seeing at the terrasse of a bar.
Slow tourism is a philosophy that start from planningthe trip to the end of it. You take some destinations that you want to visit. Sketch an itinerary (don’t make a list !) and let you go in a journey with not really a plan. Let your mind and your feelings during the trip decide where to go. Want to stay one more day in Nan ? Phuket ? Surat Thani ? Then, do it !
How to be a slow traveler
That’s simple, just change your mindset.
When we travel, we tend to privilege quantity ofexperience over quality of experience.
Being a slow traveler is looking for experience ofquality. In any destination, plan to make a trip of 7 days at least. This wayyou can impregned yourself of the local cultural and see how local people live. Also, you will have the possibility to see the surrounding of your destination.
Let’s take a trip of two weeks in Thailand.
Instead of rushing your journey to see every temple and must-see in a short time. Take an overlook of your trip, and plan just a few destinations. For each destination, 3 to 4 days could be relevant to deep yourself into the culture.
Now you will ask me what to do during these days. You can :
- Go to the morning market ;
- Go to the temples ;
- Visit museum and try to grab audio guide to immerse yourself completely ;
- Rent a bicycle and visit the surrounding of your destinations ;
- Eat at local restaurant and do some people sight-seeing ;
- Participate to some workshop (you can easily get this type of information on internet) ;
- If it’s possible, go to hike (you can be sure to encounter locals here !) ;
- Enjoy your stay !
And what is great with slow travel is that you canchange your plan whenever you want. You planned to stay for 4 days but you findit too much ? Then reduce it. Sometime people change their destinations, take a train, and just completely change their itinerary because of the landscape they are seeing.
With slow travel, you are free to choose your next destination.
Slow travel destination in Thailand
The best way to be a slow traveler is to try a slow destination in Thailand. Let's take for example UTHAI THANI.
It’s a province situated on the northern of Thailand. This province is known for its population. In fact, they live in harmony with nature and own some beautiful temples across the region.
We recommend you choose either a bus or a train, which lead you to a more pleasant trip. Consider 4 hours from Bangkok by bus. For the train, it’s about 5 to 6 hours and you will have to stop at Noen Makok station before taking a taxi. The plane here is not available as they don’t have an airport.
Some attractions to do :
- Khao Sakae Krang
It is a mountain where a temple is situated. Accessible by foot, you can go at the morning when the sun is not up yet. You will have a beautiful picture of the city with the sunrise at the background. Just be aware that you will have to climb 449 steps to obtain your reward.
Know that the temple on the mountain is called Wat Sangkat Rattanakhiri which has an ancient bronze Buddha image and is the birthplace of the King Rama I’s father.
The temple is open every day from 8 am to 5pm.
- Sakae Krang River
This sacred river is 225 kilometers long. Local people still live on the river which shows their strong link with the nature. This is a place where agriculture and fishing are majority. You have the possibility to rent a boat and spend a charming afternoon there. This place is peaceful with homemade agricultural products on sale. The house is still wooden and sits on the river. A truly magnificent place !
Want some advice ? Be there around 4 and 6 pm to catch the sunset.
- Ko Thepo
This is the gem of Uthai thani city. It is a small island decorated with rice fields and other agricultural activities. On top of that, you will find bamboo forest with a peaceful atmosphere here.
The luxury here is to bring your bicycle to discover the islands. Locals people tend to do it every weekend so it’s up to you to come during this time or not. Take you day to visit this island and stay there for your lunch and dinner as well. The local shops take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables from the fields to cook delicious plates for the locals.
- Ban Samo Thong Hot Spring
Yes, a hot spring. This attraction is more about the surrounding than the hot spring itself. You can relax a bit there and enjoy the scenery in front of you. The landscape is full of green and mountains next to a lake where you will see fishermen coming back from work.
About the hot spring, there is an outdoor mineral bath available, offering you a splendid landscape. To finish, there is a buddha of20 meter high sitting the pose of “Calling the earth to Witness”. Truly mesmerizing.
Some specialty to taste :
Grilled fish : Fishes come from the river and smoked according to a local recipe. Nothing fancies just really tasty.
No Mai Ruak : A bamboo shoot with a sweet taste and crispy texture.
Pickled Termite Mushroom : A specific mushroom from Amphoe Thap Than forest. You will encounter it in your dishes made by local people.
Egg-custard bun : A simple bun assorted with a sweet custard.
Khanom Kong : A traditional Thai dessert formed like a cartwheel. Itis made of sugar, coconut milk and beans flour and other type of flour.
Slow tourism allows you to be in vacation and not in a race of “Who visited the most places in Thailand”. Your family will surely ask you why you didn’t see all the famous place in Thailand, but when you will tell them all the magnificent experience you had with the local there; they will probably change their thinking.
Don’t forget that a trip is a parenthesis of relaxation and not another task to complete in a short of time in order to tick as many boxes as possible.