Family Travel Bucket List: Rice Planting Dhara Dhevi
I strongly believe our experiences are what shapes us as people. With the ever increasing consumerism in society and screen time our children are exposed to on a daily basis we really want to show our little adventurers that pleasure and the most fun things in life can be found in the great outdoors. During our stay at the Dhara Dhevi Hotel (we had the most amazing time!) we had a chance to do rice planting activity and I can say it was one of the most fun and enjoyable experiences we have had with our little adventurers. It is definitely something that should be added to all family travel bucket list of things to do together.
We arrived at the children’s club not really knowing what to expect. We had our 19 year old niece with us so I was a little apprehensive to how much she would enjoy the activity (she snap-chatted the pics so I’m assuming it was cool enough 🙂 ) The staff led us upstairs to get changed into traditional farmers outfits. I thought this was a fantastic introduction to the activity as being in costume really does help bring the experience to life. Our little adventurers love dressing up as do most children so its a way of getting even the youngest of children really excited about the activity. The hotel have outfits for both adults and children. I was really impressed with how great we looked in the final outfits, they were so simple but were striking as even at 2 Zayn had the same as the adults. I loved that Doc had to change hats with Maya as hers wouldn’t fit her but fitted him ?
The hotel grounds are home to several rice fields and are harvested all year round. I loved, loved the fact that all the rice grown on the hotel grounds was donated to local orphanages as part of their social responsibility to the local community. This really stood out to me about the hotel, the lengths that they have gone to, to integrate the hotel into the local community and keeping lots of existing and historic features for future generations to see. The rice fields are at the back of the hotel and can be accessed by the buggies.
As we left our buggies we were told to walk across the boundary edges to the farmers who were in the rice fields. This instantly took me back to our families crop fields in Pakistan and walking on these field pathways as a little girl. It warmed my heart that my children were getting the same experience and it was as awe inspiring as it had been for me all those years ago. The walk to the actual place on plantation is just a little down the path but it was part and parcel of the experience as you criss cross through the fields to your final destination.
The activity is started by a short ride on the star of the hotel, their white water buffalo. The little adventurers were super excited to have a quick ride and in fact we’re asking for a longer one!
Part of the outfit are waterproof socks as rice is planted into water filled land. This fact I never knew and actually had no idea where or how rice was grown highlighted that its a great learning experience for all those involved. The initial step into the rice fields will see you knee deep in water (or Zayn’s case near waist deep). The farmer have a whole bunch of rice plants to bed into the water and showed the children how to do this and work your way across in a straight line. I loved that the children got stuck right in without any inhibitions or worry and started beavering away the task. My sister was great and her planting was meticulous in perfect straight lines across and down the field.
Once all the seeds were planted the staff then took us back to the hut. In the all enjoyment of activity we had completely forgotten about the heat and water. Whilst freshening up the staff showed us how to fold a lotus flower. The staff tailored it to our needs and the children were told to fold the petal on half whilst the adults were shown the full intricate folding. Maya and her aunty were again dab hands at this 🙂
Before heading back to the kids club the children were introduced to a musician and instruments played in traditional northern Thailand. Like he little adventurers were encouraged to have a try at playing at the instruments.
The final step
The rice planting does not finish in the fields but we were then shown that once the rice is harvested and dried the next stage is to crush the seeds. No machine is used but instead a wooden crusher is used very similar to a see saw. Maya and her brothers had a go and I love the intense concentration on Mayas face when doing this activity. The final stage of the rice process is for it to be cleaned and this is done in the traditional process of having the wind blow out all the dust and specks with the rice being fanned on bamboo trays. Maya was super keen to show her skin
What we thought
I am still raving about this experience and for me it was one of the highlights of the trip. My sister and niece and the little adventurers thought it was great and we all had a great time. We undertook the activity on the last day of our stay and there is no better way of finalising off an incredible stay. What I loved about the activity was
- The dressing up, the hotel strove to make the families really get into character and this simple addition at the start of the activity truly made such a big difference.
- Being in real rice fields, often activities in hotels are a little staged and I loved that the children knew that the seeds they had planted would one day be given to orphanages and help feed poor children who had no one to look after them.
- The whole process. I really thought the hotel have really tried to make the activity as fun as possible as seeing the trio from start to finish really helps the children understand how rice is grown and where we start to where we finish
- Thai traditions: learning about the culture, customs and experiences of the countries we are visiting has become a very important part of our travelling life and I think it’s feat that the hotel have really added nice touches to the experience to help bring these traditions to live in many formats. Lotus flower folding, traditional musical instruments and the traditional costumes are just small additions but are what we will remember of this event for years to come.
I would add this activity on any bucket list for toddlers and young children as it was a wholesome and educational activity with lots of fun elements thrown in. It definitely should be on the activity list for any travellers to Thailand! It was really unique and something that you will not do in many places. Big thumbs up from us 🙂
Heres a video of the awesome experience we had, would you love to visit and have a try?