Tie- Dyeing in Thailand. It’s a thing!
Senior Travelbiz reporter Jacinta Mc Glynn brings us up to speed from Northern Thailand.
Courtesy of TAT (Tourist Authority of Thailand), it was a genuine privilege to travel to northern Thailand and, in this case, to visit the Kingdom of Lanna, close to the border with Laos. TAT are very eager to showcase this part of Thailand as both Nan and Phrae are slightly off the beaten track in terms of mass tourism. Therein lies the attraction. This lovely local area is renowned for crafts, artisanal goods and, most importantly, for being proud of its heritage and having the enthusiasm to continue in the steps of their forbears and revive old traditions. Indigo dyed fabric is thriving and we had the good luck to visit and participate in dyeing and creating our own designs.
Firstly, at Banmatjai Workshop, we met with a young entrepreneur who has returned to her roots and built a super business dyeing clothing and selling them in her boutique. She taught us how to be artistic divas! We also had a great experience at Baan Tung Hong where a local couple have a similar enterprise, continuing a brilliant tradition handed down for generations. This is home to the famous Mo Hom fabric (akin to denim today and is the Thai version of blue jeans) and it’s all rooted in true Thai tradition. They also offer employment in the area. Bravo to all. The ‘Komol Antique Textile Museum’ is a splendid eye into the past with stunning silks and yarns. It also houses a real quirky and eccentric collection of artefacts. Our lunch (with cool naturally coloured blue rice!) at a pretty rustic garden setting was not only delicious, but it showcased another tradition of hat making (from bamboo) and it’s proudly kept alive by skilful local volunteers. The restaurant, called ‘Clay House in the Shade’, is written in Isan which is a dialect of Thai language. Lao people emigrated from Laos, but both languages can be mutually understood. This trip is pure joy.