Bang Saphan, located little over two hours from Hua Hin, is one of the few places in Thailand where you can still pan for gold.
The gold panning takes place in the river that runs through the Ron Thong Subdistrict, and according to locals, the gold found in the area is of the best quality in the country.
Gold panning in Bang Saphan is a popular activity among locals, who see it as a way to supplement their income but it is becoming increasingly popular with tourists and those seeking to try new experiences.
The process of gold panning involves sifting through the river sediment with a pan, looking for small particles of gold. It is a labor-intensive process that requires patience and skill, as the gold particles are often very small and can be difficult to spot.
The gold panning process in Bang Saphan is done in a sustainable way, with locals taking care not to damage the environment or disturb the river ecosystem.
They use traditional methods and simple equipment, such as a pan, a shovel, and a sieve. They do not use any harmful chemicals, such as mercury, which is often used in other parts of the world to extract gold.
Gold panning in Bang Saphan is not just a way for locals to make money; it is also a way to preserve their cultural heritage.
The tradition of gold panning in the area goes back centuries, and it is an important part of the local culture. By continuing to practice gold panning, the locals are keeping this tradition alive and ensuring that it will be passed down to future generations.
Recently, gold panning in Bang Saphan has been highlighted by tourism officials, who are eager to bring the activity to a wider audience.
Owner of Bang Saphan Gold Panning Learning Center, 73 year old, Mr. Buakhao Mingmuang, known as Uncle Lek, said that many more foreign tourists are now coming to try their hand at gold panning.
Mr. Buakhao Mingmuang, known as Uncle Lek
Uncle Lek said the activity had become more popular after it started to be recommended to tourists by staff at local hotels.
“People can come and rent gold pans, cans and shovels for 100 baht per set,” Uncle Lek said.
Visitors can spend all day panning for gold in the river located behind the Gold Panning Learning Center, Uncle Lek explained.
Uncle Lek said he will give a demonstration to visitors to show them how to pan for gold using a shovel and the rented gold panning kit.
Uncle Lek said that after they have finished shoveling earth, visitors need to sift through the pebbles and stones with their hands until the soil has washed away. It is at this point that they would be able to see gold – should any be there.
It is completely by chance whether visitors find any gold or not, Uncle Lek explained.
Sometimes just a single fragment of gold or small flake can be found but if someone is really lucky, they might come across larger pieces.
The good news is that should a visitor find some gold, they are allowed to keep it for themselves.
The gold is considered to be “a gift given by nature” therefore, anyone who finds gold while panning is allowed to take it home with them regardless of the amount or weight.
Gold panning is available seven days per week.
Anyone interested in gold panning can contact Bang Saphan Gold Pan Learning Center on 083-3117303 for more information. The centre is located 30 metres from the 7-Eleven at Koh Yai Chim.