A Journey of Female and Environmental Empowerment

While the West has enjoyed Thailand’s beauty and resources, very few travelers question where this beauty came from. Far too often, land has been taken, people have been displaced, and village life has been destroyed all in the name of progress and development. Progress for whom and developing into what are questions not often asked.   We come to enjoy the beach and forests but don’t ask why the land is there for our enjoyment.

But one brave group of women, the “Radical Grandmas” of Thailand have come together to prevent their village and way of life from being taken from them. They have spent years fending off mining companies who want to develop their land for gold mining and have developed a business of textile weaving which proves development can be sustainable and controlled locally.

We’ve set up an adventure that helps travelers meet and learn with the Radical Grandmas.  You’ll meet the Grandmas, be able to learn weaving techniques with them, see what traditional Thai life is like, better understand how and why we must preserve and protect Thailand’s natural and cultural beauty, all while having a once in a lifetime homestay with some of the most interesting and wise women in Thailand.

Duration: 4 days, 3 nights

Destinations: Loei, Na Nong Bong

Please see our article about the holiday here: https://asiaarttours.com/to-save-travel-save-the-community-why-we-created-a-tour-with-radical-grandmas-in-thailand/

Day 1 – Lodging: Village Homestay  

Today you’ll fly from Bangkok to Loei where we’ll pick you up for transit (30 minutes) by private car to Na Nong Bong, the village of the Radical Grandmas. Here you’ll unpack in your home-stay lodging and take a tour of the village. We’ll give you a refresher on the Grandmas, their village and the way of life they are trying to preserve.

After lunch we’ll meet with the organization trying to protect Na Nong Bong and the larger village communities that the Radical Grandmas are a part of. The group is called: People Who Love Their Hometown.  Here they’ll introduce you to their cause and how Grandmas support their activist efforts.

Afterwards we’ll head to a tour of former gold mining site to see how mining has contributed to a spoiling of the ecosystem and way of life the Grandmas are trying to protect

We’ll return for dinner in the village and meeting some of the families of the grandmas. This homestay will be a genuine and friendly introduction to the real lives of villagers in Thailand.

Day 2 – Lodging: Village Homestay  

In the morning we’ll have a yummy home-cooked breakfast, then head to the local temple with the village to get a sense of local religion away from tourism and the big cities.

Then we’ll get into the main focus of our visit: Weaving. We’ll show you the Grandma’s techniques for weaving and dying. Then under the supervision of the grandma’s we’ll start our main project: weaving one original textile, which you can take home with you as an unforgettable memory from your time with the Grandmas.

After lunch, we’ll sit down for some one on one chats with the grandmas. With an interpreter, we’ll allow you to engage these women, foundations of their community and living almanacs of history. You’ll have a chance to talk with them about how their Thailand of their childhood compares to the Thailand of today. Their thoughts on what it means to be a “Strong Women” and ultimately learning more about what motivated them to form the Radical Grandmas.

We’ll enjoy another lovely dinner in the village.

Day 3 – Lodging: Village Homestay  

Today we’ll focus on agriculture, though many tourists know Thailand as a home for delicious tropical fruits, vegetables and rice, very few travelers know the extent that huge agro-businesses have tried to monopolize farming and break the independence of village farmers.

We’ll tour the farms of the Radical Grandmas and their families by tractor, learning about how we can encourage sustainable agriculture in Thailand and how farming traditionally exists in villages.

Afterward, we’ll return to our weaving, making sure to finish so you have learned not only a timeless artisan craft (the weaving of textiles) but have your very own memory (a textile) to take back to remind you of your time with the Grandmas.

In the evening villagers will come together as we reflect on what we’ve learned from our encounter with one another. If possible we’ll try to arrange music for the evening as well.


Day 4  – Departure  

In the morning after breakfast, we’ll have a farewell ceremony for you as you get to say goodbye to some of the most amazing Grandmas in the world. With your textiles, which you’ve woven using traditional Thai artisan techniques, you will have living memories to help you never forget your time with the Grandmas.

We will then transfer you to the airport and are happy to arrange the rest of your time in South East Asia.

Editors Note: 

The Radical Grandmas are a weaving collective that fundraises for the efforts of group Khon Rak Baan Kerd (KRBK) or “People who love their Hometown ” who actively protest against gold mining in the village of Na Nong Bong where the grandmas reside. They sell their textiles locally and online and a portion of each sale goes to supporting court fees, transportation costs, and organizational development of KRBK.

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