The defining characteristic of the silk from Ban Khok Mueang is its smooth feel that has been weaved delicately. The fabric is tight, but also light thanks to the silk threads that are used from locally-grown silkworms, and also the exquisite way to dye the “mudmee” silk. Besides from the ancient southern Isaan artwork that can be seen on the silk fabric, the pattern is also inspired by the pillars of Prasat Muang Tam that becomes its own characteristic known locally as “Lai Puk Gud”, which shows how fine the silk threads are intertwined together.
Prasat Muang Tam is a stone castle-temple complex constructed in the Baphoun style, with ancient architecture that dates back to the 16th Buddhist century. It was the first stone castle that was made to worship the God Shiva, and even though the castle was built of bricks and the foundation was built of laterite, the tympanum and pillars were sculpted out of sandstone, which makes them look delicate and well-rounded. This can especially be seen at the “Gopura”, or entrance wall column in the east, which was fashioned with a “Kankhot” decorating pattern and layered with lion sculptures.
Before the villagers of Ban Khok Mueang emigrated to settle in an area between two ancient volcanoes 70 years ago, Prasat Muang Tam and Barai Yai were left abandoned for many hundreds of years. However, the thousand-year-old ancient stone castles were once again revived back to life when the villagers settled nearby, who eventually restored them to their current conditions according to academic principles.
Ban Khok Mueang has reputable, clean and well-organized homestays that are maintained regularly. Along with all the other activities in the area, trying local southern Isaan food may be one of the best ways to experience something new from the community.
Ban Khok Mueang is situated 10 km away from Amphoe Prakonchai, 60 km away from the Buriram Province city centre, and 8km away from Phanom Rung Castle. The community is approximately 400 kilometers away from Bangkok. To travel by car, use the Bangkok – Pak Thong Chai – Chokchai Nang Rong – Prakonchai route which will take around 5 hours. By plane, Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Smile Airways, Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways offer daily flights to Buriram Province from Bangkok which will take only 40 minutes. By train, depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong and get off at Krasung Station, then hire a car service to the community. Available car rental service companies include Kan Car Rent, Thai Rent Car and Buriram Car Rent.
The not-to-miss festival is The Khao Phanom Rung festival. It is held every year from April 3rd to April 5th at Phanom Rung Historical Park; the celebration marks the first time light shines through all 15 gates – signifying the start of the rainy season, or the equinox. After that, you can visit the Prasat Muang Tam which is less than 10 minutes away. Experience something new in this small community, in which locals have been dubbed “the protectors of the ancient castles”.
Sam Num Moom Aroi Tel.044-628-266
Kamolsit Resort Tel.089-948-9182
Resort Punthai Tel.090-447-8747
Smart Resort Tel.081-660-0968
King Kruad Resort Tel.044-679-284
Don Ngam Resort Tel.083-799-0077
Contact the community
Khun Prasit Loiprakhon (Chairman of Tourism Village Group) Tel. 096-796-6127
The silk from Ban Nong Khae is not only special because of its craftsmanship, but it’s also weaved into many traditional patterns called “Nok An”, “Krua Song Kor” and “Kom Ha”. It’s dyed with natural colors, especially tones of indigo blue, dark red from shellac, yellow from pra-hod skin and mango skin, which have been mixed with natural substances that create various different shades.
This village is known in Amphur Kok Sri Suphan as the “village that the Queen visited” due to the fact that Her Majesty Queen Sirikit in the reign of King Rama IX visited here a total of three times – something in which the locals take pride. Back in 1975, Mrs. Tai Sanwongse wore a silk dress to greet Her Majesty the Queen. Her Majesty, impressed by the dress, complimented her outfit and asked to buy silk from Mrs. Tai. Her Majesty also said that she would come back to buy silk from her again.
In their traditional Isan-style wooden house, the two sisters Mrs. Toom and Mrs. Tai honored Her Majesty’s grace on their mantelpiece, and worshiped her with white ginger lilies.
Two years later, His Majesty King Rama IX and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit traveled to Ban Nong Khae and visited the residence of Mrs. Toom and Mrs. Tai Sanwongse, where both the King and Queen bought silk fabrics from the sisters. His Majesty and Her Majesty came back again in 1980 and 1982, and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn also visited the residence of Mrs. Toom and Mrs. Tai. In the present day, this historical residence is preserved as the “Two Sisters Museum”, which exhibits how fabrics are weaved and dyed using natural colors, along with the unforgettable story of the two sisters’ encounter with Her Majesty.
Since then, the villagers of Ban Nong Khae have gathered to weave silk together and preserve its beauty, as this same fabric featured on the silk dress worn by Mrs. Tai to greet Her Majesty. One of their secrets is the overall process of how their silk is to be made.
Ban Nong Khae is already a historical village for Isan silk fabric, with a backstory blessed by the grace of His Majesty King Rama IX and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Other than the Isan-style wooden pavilion museum, there are many more fun and educational activities to do that will enrich your knowledge of silk production. The village is surrounded by beautiful, endless crop fields that are breathtaking to view during sunset.
To travel by plane from Bangkok, Thai AirAsia and Nok Air offer flights to Sakon Nakhon province, which will take 1 hour and 10 minutes. To travel by car, Sakon Nakhon is 650 km or a 9 hour drive from Bangkok, so we advise you to stay a night at Sakon Nakhon city centre first before you proceed to the community. Ban Nong Khae is 34 km away, or approximately 1 hour drive from the city center. Follow the Sakon Nakhon-Na Gae route from the Amphoe, and journey 4 km. until you reach Ban Nong Khae. By Train, depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong to Udon Thani Station. From there, take a tour bus to Sakon Nakhon and hire a car service to the community. Available car rental services include Avis, Wattana Car Rental, Nok Car, Kittipong Car Rental and Thai Car For Rent.
If you are visiting during the weekend, you can stroll along the “Pa Kram” road (translated as “Indigo Cloth” road) and browse all kinds of fabrics after paying your respect at Wat Phra That Choeng Chum temple. Other interesting tourist attractions include the Phu Pha Yon National Park – where you can view the Huay Huad Reservoir, and Pha Phueng Waterfall – where you can closely observe the scenic nature, especially during the winter season.
There are also resorts and small hotels at Amphur Kok Sri Suphan that are quiet and clean. Food wise, you’ll mostly find restaurants that cook simple “to order” Thai dishes, although freshly made som-tum and other simple local cuisines are available in the area.
Kuai Tiew Kohkae @ Kok Sri Suphan Tel.090-920-7970
Ban Torfun Resort Tel.062-226-9938
Ban Thanomtip Love Family Tel.096-271-2258
Darin Resort Tel.042-766-145
Srisupan Hotel Tel.095-672-7609
Ban Suan Resort Tel.081-965-3346
Contact the community
Mrs.Watmuang Paraka Tel. 088-563-5394
In terms of things to do in Don Kha Community, you’ll find a combination of educational activities that promote self-sustainable agriculture, as well as local cultural activities. Many of these traditions have been practiced for 200 years since the “Tai Song Dam” people were evicted from a region in southwest Vietnam and settled in Thailand’s Ratchaburi, Suphanburi and Phetchaburi provinces at the beginning of the reign of King Rama III.
The term “Tai Song Dam” comes from how the Tai Song Dam people are dressed in black or dark indigo. Women’s dresses are called “Pa Gom”, which feature long sleeves, upright collars, with 15-18 silver buttons down in the middle. They also wear skirts or sarongs, usually in dark blue or black, with vertical white lines called “Sin-Lai-Tangmo” (translated as “watermelon pattern” sarong). The traditional costumes of the Tai Dam are made from cotton that is spun into threads, dyed in dark colors, and weaved in a local way before being hand-sewn, which makes this traditional costume a work of art. To add some character to the costume, people like to also wear a “Pa-Piew” or a long piece of fabric to wrap across their chests with decorated on both sides.
“Pa-Piew” is a versatile fabric that is worn often. It comes in different patterns and colors that signifies the identity of the “Tai Song Dam” people. It is also a local product, called “Pa-Piew Mai Dum” (translates as “black silk). You will get to know about the “Pa-Piew Mai Dum”, how they are made, and how they can be used while you are staying at the Don Kha Community.
Visit the Barracuda Mango plantation, make your own ripe mango smoothie, and then visit the orchid garden to collect flowers for making your own bouquet. Also, visit the ray fish farm, home to some of the most beautiful rays in the community. For another animal encounter, learn how to farm and make friends with the light pink buffalos that are friendly to humans.
Amphur Bang Phae is only 70 km away from Bangkok, just over an hour’s car ride away. To travel to the community by car, use the Borommaratchachonnani Road to Nakhon Pathom province, until you reach Amphoe Bang Phae, which is only 35 km away from Ratchaburi City Centre. By train, depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong to Ratchaburi Train Station, and then hire a car service to the community. Available car rental service companies include Ratchaburi Car Rent and Smile Thai Car Rent.
Amphoe Bang Phae hosts many cute and unique coffee shops with delicious green tea drinks. Also, find some time to journey to Ban Don Kha and taste the freshest river prawns at famous restaurants such as Khun Tim and Ban Nai Sun Sor. Kung Pao. Go sightseeing and taste some of the delicacies at Chet Samian market at Amphoe Photaram, and also visit Ratchaburi city center that hosts sites such as the Khao Ngu stone park and Tao Hong Tai Arts Centre.
Bang Phae Resort Tel.062-425-4635
Ban Sukapan Photharam Tel.085-995-1441
Katom Satu Tel.062-494-6424
Suansin Ban Din Resort Tel.032-397-668
Photharam 126 Resort Tel.062-184-9666
Contact the community
Suwanna Subpuetpon Tel. 081-936-4995
The people of Bo Kru are proud of their “Lao Krang” heritage, stemming from their ancestors who settled on the expansive plains west of the Chao Phraya River over two centuries ago. Even though time has eroded some of their traditions, there are a few practices that the people of Bo Kru still keep sacred today – most notably their language and traditional clothes. Women in Bo Kru are highly skilled when it comes to weaving fabric and their traditional costume is a characteristic that helps others to distinguish them.
The Lao Krang at Ban Bo Kru includes villages in Tambon Bo Kru, especially Ban Bo Kru and Baan Pa Sa-Gae that are located next to each other.
Woven fabric from Lao Krang, especially from Ban Bo Kru, mainly uses red cotton as the primary color. Men’s costumes are usually simple, consisting of wearing white and a five-colored checkered cloth to wrap around the waist, although women’s costumes are more elegant. They are weaved using a specific technique, which combines dyeing “mudmee” silk and then weaving until it becomes as smooth as water flowing downstream, and also weaving by “jok” that creates a traditional-looking pattern in one fabric. The “mudmee” and the “jok” are combined, along with a weaving technique that creates small dash strokes to separate and bind the two patterns together.
Currently, tube skirts and sarongs and the making of Lao Krung Bo Kru woven fabric are considered a lost art, which is preserved in the Ban Bo Kru Lao Krang Cultural Center & Museum at Wat Bo Kru as a cultural reference place in the community, open for visitors who are interested in fabric production. For those who are interested in purchasing some of the fabric, there are weaving centers in the community where you can pick some up.
The Lao Krang folk are a tight-knit group who aim to preserve this practice diligently. They celebrate their tradition during every Songkran festival – known locally as “Yok Tong Songkran” (translates to “raise the flag during Songkran”). During the event, the Lao Krung people from all around the country gather together, wearing their traditional costumes and celebrating their festivities with pride. They also host flag and flagpole competitions as well. Other than this tradition, the Lao Krang folk also gather to make merit together during the beginning and the end of Buddhist Lent Day and pray for Phra Tat Duen Sam.
Ban Bo Kru community is 160 km away from Bangkok. To travel to the community by car, follow the route from Amphoe Bang Bua Thong to Suphanburi, then to Amphoe Sri Pra Chan to Amphoe Sam Chuk until you reach Amphoe Derm Bang. This journey should take approximately 2 hours and is the most convenient way to journey to the community. By train, depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong to Suphanburi Train Station, then hire a car service to the community. Available car rental service companies include Thai Rent Eco Car, Smile Thai Car Rent and Nick Car Rent.
Apart from the Ban Bo Kru Lao Krang community, other notable place nearby to travel to is the Bueng Chawak Chaloem Phrakiet Aquarium. Not only that it is the biggest natural aquarium, it is also a national park where hunting and fishing are strictly forbidden. Also, visit the Bueng Chawak Vegetable Park – a perfect place for children to learn about plants and vegetables.
Krua Rim Khlong Tel.086-167-7653
Boon Mee Restaurant Tel. 092-589-6717
Ban Phanthita Resort Tel.080-658-8566
Sis Guesthouse Tel.089-183-3359
Tha Chang Vintage Tel.085-288-7993
Nai Suan Inn Tel.083-239-8882
Ban Fasai Resort Tel.081-616-0248
Contact the community
Mrs. Kanjalak Parueang Tel. 089-920-8279
This community at Nong Bua Daeng, known for their art of weaving and dyeing using natural colors, started as a community enterprise gathering for those wanting to weave cotton with a specific technique, different from anywhere else. Apart from the fine quality of the fabric, the technique places emphasis on a style that beautifully combines traditional patterns with contemporary ones, allowing the fabrics to be used for any occasion.
Locals at Nong Bua Daeng use cotton threads hand-picked from cotton plantations that are grown organically without chemicals, and dyed with natural vegetation that has been tested to create various colors. They also create their own unique colors, which are different from using chemicals. For instance, yellow is obtained from the trunk of a jackfruit, indigo from the indigo flower, black and dark brown from “Ma Gluea” (a plant that belongs to the Ebenaceae family), and bright red from “krang”. Moreover, the fabric is fermented underneath mud to enhance its softness, and there are also other meticulous processes to learn about as well as stories to be told that you are sure to impress you. In fact, this type of woven cotton is gaining attention from all over the globe, especially Japan.
Not only skillful with woven cotton, the Nong Bua Daeng community is also a pioneer in adjusting farming techniques and their lifestyles to the environment. For example, they grow their own organic fruits and vegetables, and rely on renewable energy that uses water and solar power.
Visiting the community of Nong Bua Daeng will not only give you a chance to buy some of Thailand’s best cotton fabric, but you will also learn how to make cotton threads yourself, techniques on how to dye, and how to sew them together. You’ll also appreciate how to better live in tune with the environment by discovering ways to reduce greenhouse gas emission, as well as dine on food that is cooked and seasoned using locally grown ingredients.
Even though you will spend the majority of your time enjoying activities with the community, your 2 days 1 night stay will fly by so quickly. It’s worth noting that if you travel during the rainy season between June – August, there is the chance to witness the lotuses in full bloom at the Chat Sai Tong National Park, not too far from Amphur Nong Bua Daeng. Experience the light, airy fog and the mountain range of Korat, or camp at the magnificent white rocks at the Phu Lan Ka National Park. Enjoy cycling through nature in the evening, and taking photos of the Milky Way seen in the clear night skies.
The most convenient way to travel to the community from Bangkok is via tour bus. By Bus, depart from Bangkok Bus Terminal in the evening and arrive at Chaiyaphum in the early morning. You can also take the Phetprasert Bus Tour from Bangkok to Nong Bua Daeng Bus Stop, where we can arrange a pick up to the community. By car, the journey will take around 5 hours with a distance of 380 km from Bangkok. By train, depart from Bangkok Station Hua Lampong to Nakhon Ratchasima Train Station. By plane, Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and Thai Smile offer flights from Bangkok to Khon Kaen. Available car rental service companies include Smile Thai Car Rent and Look Car Rent.
If you visit Nong Bua Daeng, please find some time to visit the Phu Lan Kha National Park that has amazing white stones (dubbed as the Stonehenge of Thailand) and the beautiful viewpoint where you can spot these white stones along the valley. Also, visit the Sai Thong National Park where you can witness the scenic fields of Siamese Tulips that will blossom during the rainy season.
Chaiyaphum is the main producer of “Mum” or the original Isan sausages. Famous restaurants include Tum Zab Bua Daeng and Tong Sam restaurant, which are only 5 minutes away from the community. Another well known place with naturistic ambience to try is the Lung Weera Pochana restaurant, which is situated on the way to Phu Lan Kha National Park.
Tum Zab Bua Dang Tel.096-135-8553
First Inn Resort Tel.098-584-7787
Waewow Hotel Tel.099-937-4799
Ban Na Resort Nong Bua Daeng Tel.083-370-7871
Rose Resort Tel.080-153-4225
Apinya Resort Tel.081-076-6191, 085-0277629
Contact the community
Khun Ananya Khaononkok (Chairperson) Tel. 092-325-4655
Khun Sasikul Onsawian (Vice Chairperson) Tel. 089-840-7242