By: Muhammad Ayman Mohamed Sidique

Phatthalung, Thailand: A total of 44 Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) students and staffs have undergone an exciting Outbound Mobility Program with Thaksin University in Phatthalung, Thailand. The eight days mobility program was filled with fascinating activities including cultural exchanges from both universities, rehabilitation method educations, research collaborations, and an adventurous sports and recreational activities. Phatthalung has many captivating natural landscapes which offers interesting outdoor and recreation activities.

The first recreational adventure was climbing up the Khao Ok Thalu, a 250 meters high mountain and is considered as the symbol of Phatthalung. It has more than 1000 stairs to climb before reaching the near top of the mountain. The uniqueness of Khao Ok Thalu is at its top, in which visitors will be able to see a big hole and sceneries through it. This hole symbolizes the name of the mountain where “Thalu” means have a hole. According to Muhammad Danish Ikram Bin Khairil Ikram, a student from this program, he said ‘’ It took about 40 minutes to climb up to the near top of the mountain. I then challenged myself to climb to the peak of the mountain where no more stairs available at that point, only ropes, rocks and myself. Climbing the Khao Ok Thalu is a valuable memory as I was able to see fascinating sceneries along the climb.’’

The next adventurous activity provided for the Outbound Mobility Program was kayaking through the streams of Lan Khoi, Phatthalung. The rafting distance is about 6 kilometres, taking around 2 hours of kayaking time. The students experienced paddling along a narrow stream through over 40 challenging rapids and a difficulty levels of 1 to 3. According to the organizer from Thaksin University, Dr Nikki Supandee, “The Lan Khoi river is one of the attraction recreation activity in Phatthalung. Both sides of the stream are surrounded with abundant natural splendours. The water is so cool and while rafting, you will be able to see seaweeds along the way’’. Dr Nikki Supandee added that the resort which coordinated the students’ kayaking activity is owned by her former student from Thaksin University’s Faculty of Health and Sports Science.

The exploration expends to Nakhon Si Thammarat, in the northern part of Phatthalung, where Bota Sky Towers provides another interesting adventure attraction. Bota Sky Tower is a canopy walk with a height of 25 meters, located within the Botanical Center of Walailak University. It is a good way to admire sceneries surrounding the Sky Tower. At the end of the tower, there is a Tree Café for visitors to take some time and relax in the greens. According to Dr Poramet Hemarachaton, Director of Department of Science Program in Sports Science and Exercise, “The Bota Sky Tower is a way for our University to promote visitors an experience in nature here in our Botanical Center besides generating income for the university”.

These meaningful adventures are something which will not be forgotten. The students not only experienced a wonderful Phatthalung nature but also abled to learn some of the basic knowledge of outdoor recreation safety and risk management. This knowledge can be applied in their own life or perhaps for their future career development. The students really enjoyed this amazing journey and would like to express their deepest gratitude to Thaksin University for this wonderful recreational opportunities. They hope that they are able to go back to Thaksin University in future.

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