Interesting Places for a Cultural Textile Journey

I might have mentioned earlier, I have been all over the world to interesting places culturally rich in textile traditions. I have stayed in people’s homes in far reaching places like Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand. Always on a quest to visit new places and communities that still practice traditional textile traditions, I discovered a tiny village in Thailand that just won the great honor of the Pacific Asia Travel Associations 2012 award for Heritage and Culture. Why is this exciting news for textile buffs who love to travel to interesting places? It is exciting because Ban Na Ton Chan, the little village that won the award, is one of a few places left in the world that has traditional dyeing and weaving practices intact. There, the villagers use natural dyes to dye their cotton textiles, and they also use mud to assist in the process of dyeing fabric.

Located about 18 kilometres east of Si Satchanalai, the village is probably best known for cotton dyed using natural substances. The villagers also have a unique method for preparing the fabric: they cover it in mud for at least a day before starting the dyeing process. “We use ordinary soil gathered from around the village,” Sangiam explained. “It’s an old technique used in this area for generations, part of our cultural heritage. It helps to soften the texture of the cloth.”

Phra Achana Wat Si Chum- Located in the Historical Park

Phra Achana Wat Si Chum- Located in the Historical Park

The image you see above is the Phra Achana Wat Si Chum, a Buddha¬† in the National Historical Park of the Sukhotai province. The village of Ban Na Ton Chan is only 18 kilometres from this historical park. Thailand is comprised of 76 provinces, much like states of the U.S. The province where Ban Na Ton Chan is located is called Sukhotai. The word Sukhotai means, “The Dawn of Happiness.” I can’t think of a more interesting place for a cultural journey. Founded in the 13th century it was an independent Siamese kingdom that had years of happiness during the golden age. The Sukhotai province is divided into 9 districts, 36 provinces, and 782 villages of which Ban Na Ton Chon is designated.

This small village is one of the most interesting places for a cultural textile journey because the textiles embody the rich cultural heritage of the people who live there. In addition to the textiles, the homestay association has been offering accommodations in 12 homes where you can stay with a family in Ban Na Ton Chan. What this means, is that this is a cultural experience that is real and authentic. While I have been to Thailand and loved every minute of my travels there, I intend to visit Ban Na Ton Chan as a highlighted place for interesting cultural travel. You can find more information about this tiny village here.

 

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