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Bangkok Travelbug May 2019 Handicraft Communities in Korat
May 14, 2019

Handicraft Communities in Korat

Welcome back to the May issue of the Bangkok Travelbug! This month we feature two handicraft communities which we visited in Nakhon Ratchasima or Korat for short.

The first is Ban Dan Kwian, a community in Chok Chai District that is famous for its pottery. The second is in Pak Thong Chai District, which has a silk weaving community.

Let's take a closer look at the beautiful handicraft produced by these two communities.

Contents (click on the link to go directly to the topic)

Ban Dan Kwian - pottery

The Ban Dan Kwian Pottery Village Group is just 20 km south of Korat City along highway 224. The retail outlet consists of two big sheds displaying all types of pottery from garden furniture, vases, containers, pots, dolls and statues.

It's a joy walking through these displays to view the artistic workmanship and the cute dolls on display. Take a look for yourself.

Vases and pots

Jim jum (steam boat) pots

Dolls in a happy mood

The lion, signifying power, prestige and dignity, is a popular ornament placed at main gates and doors.

Lions at the gate

Thank you for coming, please visit us again

It's a pity that we didn't go to the workshops and homes where the pottery is actually made. That will have to be another trip.

Here are some souvenirs we took home from Ban Dan Kwian.

Souvenirs from Ban Dan Kwian


Pak Thong Chai – silk weaving

Pak Thong Chai, a district that's about 30 km south of Korat City, is famous for silk production and silk weaving or sericulture, making Thai silk. The mulberry tree grows well in Northeast Thailand owing to the climate and soil.

Silk worms feed on the leaves of the mulberry to produce the silk for weaving Thai silk fabric. For this reason, there are numerous cottage industries in Northeast Thailand producing Thai silk and weaving the fabric.

When Jim Thompson embarked on his venture into Thai silk, Pak Thong Chai was one of the places he visited to learn more about the craft. The Jim Thompson Farm is located in Pak Thong Chai.

I read in Thompson's biography that the Jim Thompson Factory is located somewhere in Korat as well. However, I am unable to find the factory on the map or the internet.

While we were in Pak Thong Chai, we dropped in at a community called Ban Japoh. It was a community of silk weavers. A lady was kind enough to invite us into her home.

Entrance to the house – note the lions on the pillars

We had a pleasant surprise when we walked into the hall. The entire living room was filled with weaving looms!

Looms in the house

As it was lunch time, the weavers were off to lunch. The owner explained that she had just delivered a shipment of completed silk cloth to a merchant and had nothing for us to view.

Some of the work in progress

We had better luck at the Matchada Thai Silk outlet, just south of town. Except for extracting the silk from the cocoons, the rest of the production process takes place here.

Charts on display give visitors an idea of the process. The silkworm is actually a caterpillar which feeds on mulberry leaves. After a month, it starts to spin a cocoon using its saliva. This process takes three days.

The life cycle of the silk worm

After three weeks, it sheds its cocoon by dissolving it with spit to emerge as a pupa and then a moth. The extraction of the silk thread must be done before this stage before the cocoon dissolves.

The cocoons are boiled to extract the silk threads. We didn't see any extraction being done on the premises.

The next stage is bleaching and dyeing the silk. This is done on the premises. The silk is bleached before dyeing to ensure a consistent base colour which in turn will give a consistent colour after dyeing.

The bleaching and dyeing process

After dyeing the threads are hung out to dry.

Hung up to dry

When the silk is dry, it is wound first in big reels and later rewound into smaller reels.

Wound into smaller reels

Next comes a crucial step, based on the length, width and pattern of the cloth to be woven, the required number and colour of reels of silk is drawn on a frame.

The threads are then wound into a long roll and passed through a heddle*, a set of wires in the loom that separates the threads.

Rolled up and drawn through the heddle

*Heddle – a part of the loom consisting of a set of wires with an eye in the centre through which the thread is passed to control its movement and divide the threads.

Only then can the weaving start.

Weaving the silk

The completed products are displayed for sale in the retail outlet, Matchada Thai Silk. The products consist of scarves, shawls, long pieces for skirts and dresses, handbags, cushions and a host of smaller items.

The beautifully woven products

We just couldn't walk past these beautiful pieces of handicraft without buying some home.

Memories of Pak Thong Chai


Map of the handicraft communities in Korat

If the map doesn’t appear, click on this link

Address Ban Dan Kwian

Ban Dan Kwian Pottery Village
21 Moo 4
Dan Kwian Sub-district
Chok Chai District
Nakhon Ratchasima 30190

Tel: +66 85 700 6099

Opening hours

Everyday 08:30 am – 04:30 pm


Free admission

How to get there

By car

From Korat City proceed along highway 224 for about 20 km till you get to the Ban Dan Kwian Pottery Village.

Address Matchada Thai Silk

Matchada Thai Silk
181/1 Moo 7
Sueb Siri Road
Pak Thong Chai District
Nakhon Ratchasima 30150

Tel: 044 441 684, 081 976 4378

Opening hours

Everyday 08:30 am – 04:30 pm


Free admission

How to get there

By car

From Korat City, proceed along highway 304 for about 30 km till you get to Pak Thong Chai Town. Ban Japoh is in the town centre, Matchada Thai silk is to the south of the town.


My Thanks

Thank you to my cousin Mark and his wife Angela for hosting us and taking us around to these interesting places in Korat which is now their home.

We are also grateful to the residents we came across in Ban Dan Kwian and Pak Thong Chai for their helpfulness and hospitality.


Next month

Exploring Uthai Thani

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Till next month then.

Eric Lim
Tour Bangkok Legacies
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