Bei diesem Wetter momentan würde ich am liebsten sofort die Koffer packen. Ein absolutes Traumreiseziel für viele ist Thailand. Und bei mir steht es momentan auch hoch im Kurs. Während unserer Asien-Reise vor ein paar Jahren waren wir leider nur wenige Tage in Bangkok unterwegs. Dabei bietet es so viel mehr als traumhafte Strände, leckeres Essen und eine vielseitige Tierwelt. Wer sich dort mal wie ein Local aufhalten möchte, sollte unbedingt auf der Seite von HiveSters vorbeischauen und sich an den verschiedenen Angeboten für echte Thailand Erlebnisse inspirieren lassen.
Wer beim Reisen andere Erfahrungen machen möchte, sollte sich auf die Tipps von Locals einlassen. Für Thailandreisende geht das über HiveSters jetzt ganz einfach.
Es ist schon ein paar Wochen her, als ich mich mit Achi von HiveSters und Katja von Green Pearls zum Mittagessen in der Hafen City getroffen habe. In entspannter Atmosphäre konnten wir über nachhaltige Reisen, eine Veränderung der Werte in Thailand und über spannende Tagesausflüge sprechen. Für mich war es besonders spannend, mit Achi über das Thema Nachhaltigkeit in Thailand zu sprechen. Obwohl es dort ebenfalls noch ein Nischenthema ist, merkt sie, dass die jüngere Generation umdenkt. Der Erhalt der Umwelt ist ihr unglaublich wichtig, dabei möchte sie jedoch wieder vermehrt auf alte Traditionen setzen und die Bevölkerung Thailands wirtschaftlich stärken.
Über HiveSters kann man entspannt großartige Trips buchen. Ob nun für ein paar Stunden, einen ganzen Tag oder über einen längeren Zeitraum. Wer Thailand mal von einer anderen Seite kennenlernen möchte, sollte sich einen dieser Trips unbedingt vornehmen. Ich würde ja zugerne eine ganze Woche lang mit geretteten Elefanten verbringen. Das ist natürlich derzeit mit klein Römchen nicht möglich. Aber wer weiss, ob ich nicht auch in naher Zukunft einen Trip von HiveSters unternehmen werde. Mein Freund und ich haben jedenfalls schon über eine mögliche Reise nach Thailand gesprochen.
Real Thai Experience mit Hivesters
Damit ihr auch ein wenig von den tollen Eindrücken, die ich auch diesem Gespräch mitgenommen habe, bekommt, gibt es nun ein Interview mit Achi von HiveSters.
stryleTZ: Please give us a short description about HiveSters?
Achi: HiveSters is a social enterprise that acts as a hub of sustainable real Thai experiences. We connect travellers who look for authentic experiences with local experts. We strive no only to curate the best and highest quality activities but also make sure that activities are sustainable. We work together with local communities, social enterprises and individuals to create the meaningful and impact experiences.
HiveSters have just received a Golden Palm 2017 award, the award for innovation and responsibility in tourism from ITB Berlin and the famous german travel magazine GEO Saison for the „New comer prize award”.
HiveSters’s latest project „APPEAR“ in preserve disappearing communities to make them appear again. Our mission is to use sustainable tourism as one of the tools to solve social issues in the communities. With the sustainable impacts to bringing more income to the locals and preserve the disappearing culture. We have partnered with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Bangkok Metropolitan, Tourism Authority of Thailand, 6 endangered communities in Bangkok, Air Asia and leading hotels to create a sustainable changes in Thailand’s tourism industry.
stryleTZ: When and why did you found HiveSters? Did it happen because of a special experience?
Achi: HiveSters was started 3 years ago. I (Achi) and my sister, Mint grew up in a family that runs a travel agency business. We see many unsustainable travel activities in tourism industry in Thailand such as elephant riding, tiger temple which are popular among tourists. We also witness disappearing culture and the loss of heritage and exploitation of environment through tourism. On the other hand, we know many sustainable activities which are authentic and high quality but these activities are difficult to find since locals could not communicate in English and they are mostly offline
We want to solve unsustainable travel problems in Thailand. Thailand is one of the top destination in the world that travellers visit, yet the locals do not have a fair share of this growth. Moreover, with urban development, valuable culture heritage is disappearing and. local communities are turned to be shopping malls, condos or car park. Also the environment is destroyed through tourism whether by operators and travellers.
stryleTZ: Why do you think that HivesSers is a new experience for people?
Achi: I think it’s a new way of people to experience things when they travel. Instead of just “Seeing” by just taking pictures they are “ Experiencing” activities and interact with locals. For them they have a chance to embrace more and feel more if being part of the country that they visit and at the same time creating positive impacts to the locals.
stryleTZ: And what was your best experience since you found HiveSters?
Achi: It’s quite difficult to say which of the experiences is the best.
It touches my hearts every time when i see the impacts of what we have been doing.
There’s a grandma Kanya in Nang Loeng community Bangkok, she’s one of the last person in this world who still performing the traditional Chatree dance, she wanted to pass on this heritage dance to the next generation but very few youngsters are keen on learning. She’s over 70 years old now, with this age – less and less people hire her to do the performance. We work on the program for her to teach this disappearing traditional Chatree dance to the travellers. I remember clearly the first class that had with travellers, after the class finished she came to me and grab my hand so hard with the tears in her eyes saying to me how thankful and appreciate she was. She said, “ It’s not just about the income, but it make me feel worthwhile as a human being & not useless old grandma and i’m so happy that there are people who want to learn to continue this dance that’s dying. I don’t want it to die with me” That’s situation keep remind me of the impacts that we have done and is one of my best experiences.
Also every time I see the smile of the customers enjoying the experiences, interacting with the locals in the communities that make our heart beats too.
Is sustainability sill a niche?
stryleTZ: Do you think that sustainability is the new topic in Thailand? Is the new generation thinking different about environment or is it still a niche?
Achi: Sustainability globally I think it’s still a new concept that people are still learning and immerse it in their everyday’s life or when they travel. Similar to Thailand, the concept is very new. Back then when we first started HiveSters, very very few people know and understand about sustainability. But now I see the changing in the country, more and more people understand more about this and want to change the way they live or travel.
stryleTZ: What is your most favourite experience on HiveSters and why?
Achi: I like all of our experiences, hehe! 🙂 One of my favourite is learning how to cook authentic Thai food with local aunties and grandmas in communities. I think the best food in Thailand if you want to experience is street food. We develop the cooking class experience with street food cook auntie and grandma such as Pad Thai, Papaya Salad and stir fried basil pork (must top with fried egg-local style hehe). You will get the super authentic taste and fun class plus it’s very delicious!
stryleTZ: What traditional Thailand things/heritage are most important to you?
Achi: I think Thailand’s rich in culture and sadly through time with the changes of generation and urban development, many of these precious cultures are disappears. For instance, the ancient bowl making “Khan Long Hin” which has been over 300 years, now there are only 6 people left doing and there are 6 steps. So if someone pass away, it will be gone. Our goal is trying to preserve these precious cultures, revive and sustain it to the next generations.
stryleTZ: Are you more into new developments or do you believe that everything was better in the past?
Achi: We are preserving the past cultures but we find ways to communicate in a modern ways that the new generation will understand. For instance there’s this traditional Thai embroidery that is used for actors and actress performance costume. It’s really beautiful piece but these day we don’t wear this on days to days basis. We work with local artisan to adjust with the design, size and usage and create them to be a modern hipster accessorise pieces. We also did a embroidery workshop together with local artisans in one of the famous music & lifestyle festival Wonderfruit to teach to the new generation.
stryleTZ: Do you think the way tourism is happening in Thailand is about to change?
Achi: I think the way people travel and how the travel operators run their businesses are changing to a positive direction. Travellers are more aware of how to travel sustainably. For instance many travellers these days are against elephant riding and many operators ban these activities in their travel programs. Sustainable travel also in one of the missions of Tourism Authority of Thailand.
In sum, personal I think changes take time but we are heading to that positive direction. We need more and more people to help promote and create awareness of sustainable travel and sustainable changes in travel industry
Can we save this world?
stryleTZ: Let’s be honest: do you think we still have a chance to save this world?
Achi: Of course! But we can’t be achieve with just by few people or organisations. I think everyone can help making changes. We have the power to make changes, but we have to commit in doing it. A simple change in your everyday’s life can make a different!
For instance when we buy grocery – you can choose to by organic & locally grown veggies from local farmers rather than veggies that you have doubt whether it’s been pesticide or not. Another simple example, when you go to supermarket, instead of asking for plastic bag, you can bring your own fabric bag.
Likewise when we travel, there’s always options to travel unsustainable vs. sustainable. If you want to see the whales you can choose to go see either in the aquarium where animal are being captive, or you can choose a more sustainable way to go whale watching in the wild with cetologist (expert in whales & dolphins) that offer the trip sustainably and learn more about marine preservation. In the wild is much more fun and good!
Vielen Dank an Achi für dieses tolle Interview. Es sollte mehr Leute geben, die Nachhaltigkeit in ihren Beruf und ihr tägliches Leben einbinden.