PaddleAsia is a small, intimate tour company that specializes in unique tours with emphasis on being low impact both environmentally and culturally. Too often traveling is a venture into an industrial business with the focus on profits. Our focus is on showing you the best natural settings and allow you to interact with the locals who want both your help and your friendship.
Making money has never been the driving force behind PaddleAsia. It has always taken the back burner. Our philosophy has always been to simply run great trips and let the cards fall as they may. So far, so good... but we want to do more now. We want to give back to the communities where we operate and involve more educational experiences to our guests and our comrades.
Thailand is slipping rapidly into the mass tourism business. However, most of the country is still rural and these lovely people are kind of left 'out of the loop' so to speak. It is here where our hearts lie and it is here where you will get your most memorable travel experiences.
We work with a lot of great companies and they are all in the same boat. They all see the face of tourism changing and not for the better. It is therefore imperative that companies that truly care and the environment and the people of this great Kingdom make changes in their policies to include more locals and to educate everyone whom they encounter on just how crucial it is to protect what is left. The clock is ticking... whether you believe Mr. Gore or not.
Mr. Nick Ascot of North By North East, a pioneering tour operator operating environmentally-sensitive and culturally-compassionate adventures in Northeastern Thailand and all over Laos said this about PaddleAsia:
originally only aimed to provide environmentally sustainable nature &
wildlife trips, some of which use kayaks for the ease with which they
facilitate wildlife viewing. But the experience of meeting people indigenous
to these often very dramatic natural settings represents another very
important 'take home' guests gain travelling with this small expert
of PaddleAsia, Mr. Dave Williams (American) is a well-respected environmentalist,
and a naturalist of note. PaddleAsia currently serves organizations ranging
from IB high schools & Universities (US, Europe, Asia), to US Audubon
Societies, and other nature specialty
PaddleAsia's administrative infrastructure is working to capacity to handle the quickly growing demand for their educational tourism. PaddleAsia wants to grow, but then never want to lose their 'personal touch'.
This was written to try and attract intern to work with us. It is very true that we are all working at full capacity and need some assistance. We want to grow or perhaps more accurately, change into a company that works more closely with the locals to improve their lives and to educate them on the value in conserving their natural surroundings.
The popular phrase eco tourism is rapidly becoming a cliché. Everything from car rallies to ATV tour operators are now touting themselves as being environmentally friendly eco tours. The most annoying/frustrating example that I’ve recently run across is an animal killing tour company that wants to set up a wild animal killing park in Cambodia! They are even calling this an eco-tourism activity! You can rest assured that the local villagers won’t see any profit from this, but the government will likely cram loads of ill-gotten money from this sick venture.
Local rural communities often try to set up sustainable ecotourism packages, but the frequently lack the marketing skills to get their message into the right ears. We want to help them. We’re already the biggest supplier for travelers who wish to visit the Ko Yao Noi Homestay Project. This is a very worth-while undertaking that benefits all who are involved. There are many families involved in this program and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is a supporter of this program. The Princess is one of the most well-respected and magnanimous persons on the planet as well as being highly enlightened. We didn’t realize that she supported this organization when we first started helping them, but when we found out we were thrilled. It only strengthened our conviction to pursue this as far as possible.
Along with the Homestay Project, we work closely with the local high school on Ko Yao Noi. They offer activities such as planting mangrove and touring the island with the local school kids as guides. On a recent school trip with High Tech High from San Diego, we helped paint a part of the school and helped come up with English language posters for the students.
The Latest from ETC in Khao Lak
Our very dear friend and all-around good guy Mr. Reid Ridgeway of ETC is planning on his organization doing a bit of evolution too. Being a not-for-profit organization has been outrageously difficult in spite of the fact that he is doing all of this strictly for the disadvantaged youths that he teaches. So, in order to keep the school open (which has been a constant struggle unfortunately) he has decided to modify it slightly to make it more commercial. The students will still get the training and lucky guests get to both teach and participate in PADI courses given by the students. Business model called SMART (Sustainable Marine Adventures & Responsible Tourism) whereby students get to learn out to become entrepreneurs with a heavy focus on sustainable tourism practices.
Reid and company just put on a very worthwhile event called The EMinENT Project. It was a week long training workshop. "Entrepreneurial Mentorship in Environmentally Neutral Travel" 18 students from Thailand's top universities will join 18 ETC students in creating a new commercial business.
Reid says that SMART and the ETC will:
1. Contribute to sustaining the marine environment and the dive industry’s place in that environment;
2. Significantly increase the income of nearly 5000 ETC graduates and their families during the next ten years;
3. Set a region-wide standard for dive quality which emphasizes respect for the marine environment;
4. Develop an international brand that tourists from other parts of the world can choose in order to support responsible use of the environment, and to support the livelihoods of economically disadvantaged people;
5. Offer an attractive investment to investors desiring social and environmental, in addition to financial, returns on their capital.
Reid also introduced me to some other caring people, including Mr. Marc Gold of 100 Friends, Ms. Mallika Naguran of Gaia Discovery and Khun Kanyarat Kosavisutte of the Green Fins Project. Through yet another friend of Reids, I met some organic farming entrepreneurs, including Khun Nirat who is the Guru of Bio Diesel in Phuket and he runs a very meaningful farm and gives free lesson to anyone who wants to learn more about bio diesel or organic farming. When I visited the organic farm, Khun Nirat was in the middle of teaching a four-day seminar on bio diesel... completely free of charge.
Click here to download a movie about organic farming (real media format).
Bang Hab, our longtail boat skipper
Hab and his family are part of the Homestay Project on Ko Yao Noi. We fell in love with this very friendly chap as soon as we met him. He's hard-working, enthusiastic and a genuinely nice guy. Bang Hab, a native of Ko Yao Noi, knows every inch of the bay. It's his life and his support system.
Before working with us, Bang Hab (Bang is a polite title for a Thai Muslim man) was a subsistance fisherman. He now makes much more money than he ever thought he'd make. We appreciate him taking good care of our longtail and he also stores kayaks and gear at his floating fish farm. That's a big help to us as well. It saves us having to bring them back and forth to Phuket.
PaddleAsia supports a host of local people and the majority of our income goes directly back into the community and to our all-Thai staff through respectable salaries, gifts (to schools and organizations), free marketing (for the Homestay Project for example), etc. We don't have any interest in getting bogus tourism awards for our efforts. In many cases getting an award is merely a matter of filling out a form and making yourself sound nice. We, on the other hand, do it because it's the right thing to do. Sorry for being so frank here, but there's a lot of hype and false credentials in the tourism industry.
When you come with us, make sure you say 'hi' to Bang Bao. He loves meeting new people.
Click here to see a YouTube video of a Mangrove Pitta... one of the most stunning birds in the world.
Click here to see the weird-looking Black-and-Red Broadbill video.
Click here to see a White-rumped Shama video. This was the loser in a vie for a female's favors. I think this is a song of complaint.
Global Warming Videos and Information!
There is a series of videos on this site that are very important. The first video is one you can use to convince skeptics about global warming and the risk/gamble that we're taking.
Who should you believe? On the one hand there are the governments' versions of science (lead by oil company lawyers) and on the other, real scientists (climatologists and paleoclimatolgists, not meteorologists) and academics who see a definite change happening right now. Many predictions made in the past are now coming true. Is it really worth the risk?
Some say that what is happening is a normal cycle in the earth's history. Well, do those people actually believe that we can pump unlimited amounts of known greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with absolutely NO repercussions? That seems rather naïve. Yes, there are normal cycles of warming and cooling, but never has there been one that is caused by humans and one that is preventable. We're in the middle of the 6th Mass Extinction. It's happening at an alarming rate! Biodiversity loss is occurring at catastrophic rates!
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