Established to promote unique handmade local products, the Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre is the center of handicrafts in Thailand.
On the very large grounds visitors will find exhibitions showcasing handicrafts and arts from all four regions of Thailand. Also at the center a handicrafts village with wooden houses from all regions of Thailand, factories where you can watch how handicrafts are being made as well as a bird park named Suan Nok, that has two large aviaries housing dozens of birds.
All items are for sale making Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts.
The center was established by SUPPORT, a foundation under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Sirikit. The foundation aims to improve the quality of life of rural communities by giving farmers a supplementary occupation in the dry season thus promoting sustainable incomes.
SUPPORT centers have been established in all four regions of the country where poor people receive training in crafting hand made products.
The four storey main building houses various exhibitions of handicrafts from all over Thailand divided in sections as the SUPPORT gallery, Hall of Fame, Gold and Textiles Gallery, SACICT International Crafts Gallery and Innovative Crafts Gallery.
Among the countless handmade items on exhibit are ceramics, basketry, gold ornaments, textiles, lacquerware, artificial flowers, hand woven silk and cotton, wood carvings, Thai dolls, decorative objects for the home, items adorned with gold leaves, hand made furniture and glass ornaments.
Among the exhibitions on the second floor of the main building is a display of Khon masks. The very colorful masks are worn by performers of the Khon, a drama based on the epic Ramakien, a story with many characters including angels and demons. Each mask depicts a character from the famous Thai epic. Originally only performed in the Royal court, nowadays performances can be watched in theaters around the country.
Lacquerware has been produced in Thailand since the Sukhothai era. Artworks, architectural decorations and items as cabinets, furniture and shields are adorned by applying lacquer varnish on the surface.
Doors and pillars of Buddhist temples are often adorned with gold lacquer as are cabinets used to store ancient Buddhist scriptures written on dried palm leaves.
A section of one of the upper floors is dedicated to the history of lacquerware, information about the lacquering techniques as well as an exhibition of lacquered items.
Traditional fabric weaving
Another exhibition showcases weaving techniques, patterns and colors of traditional cloth from provinces across Thailand.
Among the exhibited items are traditional hill tribes fabric worn by members of hill tribes in the Mae Hong Son region.
From Chiang Mai the traditional techniques of the Thai Yuan, the fabric patterns express Buddhist beliefs.
From Lamphun the Yok Dok fabric; the silk is woven with silver or gold threads with gives it elegance and luxury.
From Chiang Rai fabric in different designs from several Thai Lü villages. Their weaving techniques have been handed over for generations.
Phre Rajaniyom Thai dresses
Next to the fabric weaving section is an exhibit with eight beautiful and elegant Thai style dresses in various fabric, form and styles. The dresses have been designed by Her Majesty the Queen Sirikit, based on historical costumes of Thai ladies during the Rattanakosin period.
Model of Royal Regalia
Another worthwhile exhibit is a display of several Royal Regalia including a golden Crown adorned with semi precious stones, a Royal fan and a Royal shoe adorned with gemstones. All items have been recovered from the crypt of the Wat Ratchaburana, one of Ayutthaya’s ancient temples.
At the handicrafts village visitors can see a traditional Thai style wooden house from the North, North East (Esan), Central and South showcasing handicraft skills and traditional architecture as well as way of life and culture of each region.
On the grounds of the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre are several factories where products are being crafted by hand. Walk in and take a look at the skills of the craftsmen.
Location & how to get there
Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya river about 60 kilometers North of Bangkok.
The address is 59 Moo 4 Tambon Chang Yai, Bang Sai district, Ayutthaya.
The center opens daily from 9 am until 5 pm. On Thai holidays from 8.30 am until 5 pm.
Entrance is free.